As I’m sure you all know by now, Duke prides itself on its diversity. And indeed, our student body is certainly very diverse. But what you might not know is that in one crucial area we lack the only kind of diversity which really matters on a college campus—diversity of thought. Of course, I’m not referring to you, but rather, the people whom you’ve entrusted with your education. Yes, that’s right, our faculty. For all its innovation and uniqueness, Duke shares a shameful deficiency with its peer institutions. Our academia is terribly and undeniably one-sided. Like countless other schools across the nation, we too are a leftist university. Welcome and beware.
Let me give you an example of Duke’s bias many of you have recently experienced. For the conclusion of freshman orientation, Maya Angelou gave her famous address to the incoming class. I can imagine you must have been very excited to hear her speak, especially since the orientation pamphlet lauds her “legendary wisdom” (known outside of academic circles as tired, multicultural clichés.) But I shouldn’t kid. After all, it was Maya Angelou who had the great wisdom to condemn the show Jeopardy! for being racist (how could you, Trebek?). Now, whether you share her racial paranoia or not, the point remains that she is a leftist, yet she is invited to give the orientation speech every single year. Has the administration ever heard of balance? Why not invite someone with another perspective from time to time? Maybe someone who instead of talking about multiculturalism, talks about patriotism—or would that be inappropriate?
With the way things are currently being run such common sense is not like to occur anytime soon. The administration is so obsessed with multiculturalism (a.k.a. segregation) that they deem it necessary to include in freshman orientation a separate luncheon for black students. Call me a sentimental fool, but I agree with Martin Luther King Jr. and don’t think that we should divide people based on the color of their skin. But then again, social engineering is just so much fun—ask any leftist.
And leftists will certainly be easy to find at Duke. Just look for a professor. An examination of humanities and liberal arts professors’ party affiliation done by the Duke Conservative Union in 2004 revealed a disturbing lack of intellectual diversity. Democrats outweighed Republicans in the faculty by a staggering ratio of more than six to one. As for the 10 academic deans, all of them were Democrats with the exception of one lone Republican. Amazingly, there was not a single registered Republican to be found in all of the literature, anthropology, sociology, philosophy or history departments.
Given the situation, it should come as no surprise that 39 professors used University funds to run an ad condemning the war in Iraq and expressing solidarity with anti-war student groups. Nor should it seem peculiar that Duke offers a variety of courses focusing on the study of feminism and Marxism but nothing on conservatism or traditional values. And, as truly reprehensible as it is, it should not shock you that many mainstream courses slant sharply to the left or that conservative students frequently feel they have to make the cruel choice between being open about their beliefs and getting a fair shot at an A.
Of course, let us not forget President Richard Brodhead. Last year he allowed the Palestine Solidarity Movement’s conference on campus despite its connections to terrorist organization. During the conference I personally witnessed (and have a recording) of students being recruited by conference speakers to aid and abet attacks against Israel. Brodhead had the gall to bill the conference as being educational and after it was finished claimed it was “constructive,” despite reports of the virulent anti-Semitic activities that occurred there. Brodhead’s appalling decision turned Duke into another pawn in the vast terrorist campaign.
All of this demonstrates the dire need for reform. To that end, David Horowitz, civil rights activist and founder of Students for Academic Freedom, has drafted a politically neutral student’s bill of rights to protect academic freedom, to prohibit partisan hiring practices and to stop the use of universities as tools for advancing political agendas. It’s time to give new life to the words “higher learning” and bring true diversity to Duke. It’s time to restore decency and dignity to our campus. It’s time to give all students a fair and just education.
And for the love of God, it’s time to get another orientation speaker.
Stephen Miller is a Trinity junior and President of Students for Academic Freedom at Duke University.