The Corner


Professor’s Door Vandalized at Sarah Lawrence College after He Criticizes Ideological Bias

Last month, Samuel Abrams, professor of political science at Sarah Lawrence College, published an op-ed in the New York Times about ideological bias among university administrators. Abrams reported the results of a nationally representative survey of 900 college administrators, which found that liberal staff members outnumbered conservative staff members by a 12-to-1 ratio. Abrams’s article succeeded in generating some thoughtful discussion among both university faculty and education-policy experts interested in viewpoint diversity on college campuses.

Unfortunately, the response at Sarah Lawrence was far different. Shortly after the piece was published, Abrams found threatening messages on his office door demanding that he leave the school; decorations on his door, including pictures of his family, had been torn down. Abrams and several members of his department repeatedly asked Sarah Lawrence College president, Cristle Collins Judd, to condemn the vandalism and express support for free speech.

This did not happen. Instead, Judd sent a campus-wide email that mentioned the importance of free expression but mostly stressed her “commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence.” Even worse, during a private phone conversation, Judd accused Abrams of attacking members of the community. “She said I had created a hostile work environment,” Abrams said in an interview with Reason. 

Judd’s unwillingness to forcefully condemn the vandalism, and her subsequent criticism of Abrams, is immensely disappointing. Abrams has published a number of articles about ideological bias in higher education and has never criticized Sarah Lawrence until this point, and his New York Times article was neither polarizing nor inflammatory. While he did point out some campus events that were ideologically biased, Abrams did not criticize any Sarah Lawrence faculty member or administrator by name.

As I discussed in my previous NRO blogpost about Abrams’s op-ed, ideological bias among university administrators is a worse problem than ideological bias among faculty. Conservative students can often avoid faculty members who are hostile to their beliefs, but administrators exert a tremendous amount of influence over hiring, campus programming, and discipline. Unfortunately, Judd’s response to this campus vandalism indicates that lesson has been lost on her.


Michael J. New — Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
PC Culture

Merciless Sympathy

Jussie Smollett’s phony hate-crime story could have been taken apart in 24 hours, except for one thing: Nobody wanted to be the first to call bullsh**. Who will bell the cat? Not the police, and I don’t blame them. Smollett is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump who checks two protected-category ... Read More