Phi Beta Cons

A Coming Thaw?

The last issue of KIE Connection, the newsletter of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke, contains a short but telling article entitled “Confronting Our Liberal Bias.” In it, two faculty members recount experiences with intolerant colleagues that led them to notice ways “our own liberal assumptions subtly shape our teaching”. Admitting that liberal bias “is alive and well on campus”, they’re surprisingly frank about its negative consequences for both students and faculty. The article is but one among a number of windblown straws indicating a restlessness in parts of mainstream academe about ideological tilt. Last November, I presented lengthy testimony to a committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on the politicization of programming within the commonwealth’s public universities. One senior university official commented (privately) that many of her colleagues were saying similar things among themselves.
Academe’s ice age is far from over, but some of the glaciers show signs of calving.

Stephen H. Balch was the founding president of the National Association of Scholars. In 2007 he received the National Humanities Medal from President George W. Bush.

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