Prof quits academic guild over lack of intellectual diversity

Sandor Farkas
Collegiate Network Fellow

  • Dr. Bruce Gilley, a Portland State University professor, says he recently quit the American Political Science Association to protest the organization's refusal to embrace intellectual diversity.
  • Gilley claims the APSA rejected his proposal for a panel on "Viewpoint Diversity in Political Science," instead selecting four panels for the its upcoming annual conference that focus mainly on progressive topics.
  • A Portland State University professor is quitting the American Political Science Association (APSA), saying the organization promotes physical diversity while ignoring intellectual diversity.

    Dr. Bruce Gilley serves as President of the Oregon chapter of the National Association of Scholars, an organization dedicated to “academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education,” and is also a member of Heterodox Academy, which aims to “encourage viewpoint diversity in higher education.”

    "It was crowded out by APSA’s serious lack of political diversity."   

    The APSA, which was founded in 1903 and was once led by Woodrow Wilson, likewise proclaims that “diversifying the profession” of political science and “encouraging the application of rigorous ethical and intellectual standards in the profession” are among its “core objectives,” but Gilley contends in an essay for Minding the Campus that his experience with the group contradicts such assertions.

    [RELATED: Alumni challenge Middlebury to embrace intellectual diversity]

    Gilley recounts that he had proposed a panel on “Viewpoint Diversity in Political Science” for the APSA’s upcoming annual conference, submitting the names of “four of the most prominent political scientists in the country,” all of whom specialize in political discourse, as panelists.

    When he learned that the APSA had rejected his proposal, Gilley said he initially assumed it had simply been “bested by superior panels,” but subsequently concluded that “it was crowded out by APSA’s serious lack of political diversity.”

    Of the 11 other panels approved for the teaching and education segments of the conference, he claims that seven address “mainstream teaching topics,” while the other four focus on progressive political topics.

    Gilley worries that a “Tolerance, Diversity, and Assessment” panel, for instance, “will focus on how to use administrative coercion to enforce various group identity agendas,” while predicting that another panel called “Let’s Talk about Sex (and Gender and Sexuality)” will discuss “how to restructure the classroom around ideas of being ‘genderfluid, transgender, or gender nonconforming.’”

    [RELATED: Prof calls diversity of thought ‘white supremacist bullshit’]

    The other panels that he considers problematic are unambiguously titled “Taking Advantage of Diversity” and “Teaching Trump,” the latter of which he says will be led by “left-wing feminist scholars.”

    According to Gilley, the conference featured 104 additional panels on “the holy trinity of identity politics: sexism/feminism, racism/white privilege, and sexual orientation/homo/transphobia,” including “Disavowing Violence: Imperial Entitlements, From Burke to Trump (Fuck That Guy)” and “Pussies Grab Back: Feminism in the Wake of Trump.”

    [RELATED: New campaign helps students fight for intellectual diversity on campus]

    While there were no panels explicitly addressing ideological diversity, Gilley rejected the view that this represents a “vast [left-wing] conspiracy operating on campus,” saying he believes that the disparity comes from casual bias rooted in an ideology that sees the inclusion of dissenting views as a serious threat.

    While the APSA maintained its nonpartisan ethos throughout the 1960s, Gilley asserts that “the real problems arose when the graduate students of the 1960s and 1970s became tenured faculty and APSA executives,” claiming that thanks to their influence, the APSA is now “barely distinguishable from the Democratic Party and its far-left wing.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @SFarkas48



    Sandor Farkas

    Sandor Farkas

    Collegiate Network Fellow
    Sandor Farkas is a Collegiate Network Fellow at Campus Reform. Prior to starting this fellowship, he was a Tikvah Fellow. Farkas earned a degree in history from Dartmouth College, where he was editor-in-chief of The Dartmouth Review. Farkas also serves as an officer in the Virginia Army National Guard.
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