​Yale profs speak out, call on university to strive for ideological diversity

“Yale talks a lot of diversity, but basically all that diversity means here is skin color...there’s definitely no diversity here when it comes to politics. The liberal point of view is taken to be objective-not an opinion,not a set of beliefs”

Now, many professors at the school are calling on the institution to strive for a different type of diversity.

Yale is in the midst of a continued push for diversity of faculty including demographics of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

While Yale University has been pushing for an increased diversity of staff based on race, gender, and sexual orientation, some faculty members are speaking out about the lack of political diversity.

The Yale Daily News  spoke with professors at the Ivy League institution for their perspectives on data from the school’s Office of Institutional Research showing that faculty diversity is on the rise when it comes to gender and culture.

Many criticized what they claimed to be a lack of effort to have a faculty body surrounding the current political ideology seen throughout the nation. The publication referenced a 2017 survey revealing that close to 75 percent of Yale professors self-identify as liberal with less than 10 percent identifying as conservative. 

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“Yale talks a lot of diversity, but basically all that diversity means here is skin color… there’s definitely no diversity here when it comes to politics,” said history professor Carlos Eire.”

“The liberal point of view is taken to be objective-not an opinion, not a set of beliefs, said Eire, adding that his own views are nonpartisan, “There’s an assumption that goes unquestioned that if you’re not part of the herd groupthink there’s something wrong with you.”

“[It’s] not helpful if you want to have an open society with creative and productive political dialogue… if everything you say is immediately invalid because you are not virtuous then there’s no dialogue,” Eire added.

Computer science professor David Gelernter agreed with his colleague, saying that the political diversity at Yale is “0 percent” and that there are “few conservatives, including prominent ones.”

“Of course, not many conservatives exist in most academic fields. But there’s no competition to get them either,” Gelernter added.

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English professor Mark Oppenheimer spoke of his experience attending Yale as a student and compared it to the state of affairs today.

“My sense today is that the social cost that one would pay for having certain conservative views is very strong… and that effectively is a form of censorship, because to say people can say what they want, but they might pay for it by having far fewer friends, or being shunned, is not really to say that they can say what they want.”

In an email to the Daily News, Sterling Professor of English David Bromwich wrote, “I don’t think the Yale faculty are less politically diverse now than thirty years ago, but politics is more at the front of people’s minds in the Trump years than it was in the time of the elder Bush and Bill Clinton, and social media have made minorities in opinion, as in other areas, understandably warier than they used to be about saying unpopular things”

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University President Salovey claims there is an ongoing initiative to increase all kinds of diversity on campus, and discussed one time he worked with a “very hardcore libertarian.”

“It’s not like many of the students had [a libertarian] point of view but watching him articulate an unpopular point of view, and watching him use it to engage other perspectives, I think motivated them to look at issues from multiple sides,” said Salovey.

According to the Daily News, current tools being used at the university to diversify candidates do not specifically address political diversity.

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Gelernter also said, “If Yale chose to be intellectually serious, it could hire them all- all that have interesting things to say, at any rate” and how it would make the University “not merely one of a few dozen top American colleges, but...the one intellectually serious elite university in the country… a worldwide phenomenon”

Campus Reform reached out to Yale and faculty but they did not respond in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Jess__Custodio