The National Association of Scholars has called on Dartmouth alumni to take a vote of confidence in President Wright. The NAS press release on the Dartmouth board-stuffing scandal is here.
In the press release, I quote from Dartmouth’s official statement on diversity, extolling “pluralism” and welcoming “difference.” But when it comes to their own board, Dartmouth fears that pluralism and difference amount to the sort of “divisiveness” that will “make it difficult to recruit top administrative talent.” Leaving aside whether President Wright can be plausibly categorized as “top administrative talent,” we are left with another one of those Esher staircases of diversity. Why is diversity of identity groups so good for higher education? As Justice O’Connor reminded us in her Grutter decision, diversity of groups is good because it leads to diversity of ideas. But as Dartmouth College now judges it, diversity of ideas is bad, because it leads to “divisiveness” and undercuts recruitment of “top talent.”
This bit of collegiate hypocrisy may be a mere sidelight on President Wright’s lusty grab for power and his so far successful scheme to drown out of the voices of his critics. But it is interesting how quickly their professed love of diversity vanishes when diversiphiles encounter ideas they don’t like.