The Corner

More Chicago

I’ll post sections of another letter from the parent of a University of Chicago student. Some of the letters I’m getting emphasize that there are fairly large numbers of conservative students at Chicago, and thus great discussion and generally fair treatment–at least from fellow students. No doubt that’s true. But it seems to me that Chicago is running on (and running down) the “cultural capital” of its long reputation for balance. The key to the long term character of the university is the administration and faculty. Once these tilt decisively to the left, the conditions for educational quality and fairness are undermined. For a time, the U. of Chicago will get by as a place that attracts a large number of conservative students, just because it always had a reputation for fairness on that score. But soon things will slip, as they already clearly have. Exactly when the tipping point is reached no doubt depends on what subjects you study. If you are interested in becoming a scholar of the Middle East, you’re out of luck. Ditto for many other subjects in the social sciences and humanities. And the real problem is that in many subject areas, there is nowhere else to go. Chicago was always disproportionately important to conservatives because they were so unwelcome elsewhere. So to lose Chicago is to lose much more than one school.


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