Scholars suggest Sasse take over as Harvard prez

Harvard University President Drew Faust is stepping down next June, and two American Enterprise Institute scholars think Senator Ben Sasse would be the perfect replacement.

In an op-ed for U.S. News, AEI education policy specialists Frederick M. Hess and Andy Smarick argue that the Republican senator from Nebraska would make an excellent counterweight to the liberal hegemony in modern academia, given the “campus riots, speech codes, and a constant stream of efforts to disinvite or stifle discordant voices make it seem that many American universities have abandoned their commitment to robust intellectual diversity.”

Citing the 2016 book Passing on the Right, which reported that conservatives make up less than 10 percent of the faculty in most disciplines, Hess and Smarick declare “for all the talk about the value of diversity in higher education, it's high time for Harvard's governing board to put its considerable money where its mouth is” by hiring someone who can bring intellectual diversity to the mix.

[RELATED: Book Review: ‘Passing on the Right’]

Moreover, they point out, Sasse is not only a Harvard graduate with a Ph.D. from Yale, but even comes equipped with experience as a college president, having served in that role at Midland University from 2010 to 2015.

“Given the intensity of prevailing campus orthodoxy, it may be that only a college president who personally values conservatism and is engaged in conservative networks will have the will or wherewithal to seek new voices, foster untrammeled debate, and press on when opposed by the usual campus constituencies,” the scholars speculate.

As for Sasse, a spokesperson for his office informed Campus Reform that he will not be pursuing the role of Harvard President because he is “holding out for offensive coordinator for the Huskers.”

Perhaps anticipating such a demurral, Hess and Smarick point out that “there’s a bench of prominent Republicans with leadership experience in higher education” that could easily take his place, including former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

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