The chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder hopes to raise $9-million to endow a faculty chair for a professor of conservative thought and policy.
According to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, the chancellor, G.P. (Bud) Peterson, believes the new chair would help create “intellectual diversity” on the campus.
Yet a permanently endowed chair is a big mistake–and conservative philanthropists shouldn’t be tricked into supporting it. The first person to hold the chair might be an outstanding selection, such as George Nash. But going forward, there’s no guarantee that this will remain the case. In the future, the chair could belong to a left-winger who produces “scholarship” on the right-wing’s “paranoid politics” or somesuch. If Colorado’s faculty truly wants intellectual diversity, it will make a genuine effort to hire conservatives. But it doesn’t, and its lack of interest is the occasion for this top-down initiative that was probably dreamed up in the development office. Potential donors beware, unless you think it’s okay for guys like Ward Churchill to decide how your money is best spent.
UPDATE: Anne Neal has further observations on Phi Beta Cons.