Crimson Tide: Harvard Virtually Eliminated Conservative Professors … But Apparently That is Not a Problem

In my recent law review article at Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, I discuss the recent student survey showing that over 82 percent of Harvard faculty self-identify as liberal or very liberal. What is striking is that, even as Harvard is ranked as one of the most hostile academic environments for free speech, students are rallying in support of the effective purging of conservatives from the faculty.

 

The survey conducted by The Harvard Crimson revealed that 82.46% of faculty surveyed identify as “liberal” or “very liberal.”  Only 16.08% self-identified as “moderate” and a mere 1.46% identified as “conservative.” Not a single faculty member identified as “very conservative,” but the number of faculty identified as “very liberal” increased by another 8% in just one year.

At the same time, conservatives have been virtually eliminated from the student body with only seven percent of incoming students identifying as conservative. With virtually no faculty and few students identifying as conservatives, it is not surprising that only 35 percent of that dwindling number of students feel comfortable in voicing their views or values in class.

Recently, one of the last remaining conservatives on the faculty spoke out.  He is 90-year-old political scientist Harvey Mansfield and he decried the loss of intellectual diversity and the increasing association of Harvard University with far left positions:

 

“The Harvard Commencement is something like the Democratic National Convention. And that’s a hell of a way to run a university, to maintain its impartiality and its devotion to veritas, to truth, just to go out of your way to provoke people who happen to have different politics, instead of inviting them to come and even just give a talk. How can that be in Harvard’s interest?

As to hiring, I don’t think a conservative has been hired in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in the last decade. And it’s probably been going on longer than that. Maybe there’s one or two, but if so, they stay hidden. Because if you’re conservative and want to get on with your colleagues, you have to indulge in self-censorship, and I think a number of students do that as well. But I can’t get my colleagues to think of this as a problem.”

One would think that these studies and objections would deeply concern everyone at Harvard about the loss of diversity of viewpoints and the rising of an orthodoxy that is either by design or de facto in light of these statistics.

Think again.  The editors of the Crimson insisted this week that there is no reason for concern that conservatives have virtually been removed from the entire faculty.

The editors of the Harvard Crimson wrote:

Where our board disagrees with Mansfield — and rather sharply, we may add — is in his notion that a more even distribution of faculty along a conservative-liberal binary would increase productive disagreement in any meaningful way. We find little reason to believe that. In fact, boiling down ideological and intellectual diversity to such limited labels strikes us as downright reductive.

So reducing the number of conservatives on the faculty to a statistical nullity is “downright reductive.” After all, there remains a vigorous debate at Harvard that runs from the left to the far left.

A recent large-scale survey put Harvard at 170th in terms of free speech, close to the bottom of the 203 schools.

This is the face of orthodoxy, which does not lend itself to self-evaluation or self-criticism. The purging of the faculties of conservatives or libertarians is simply not a problem when this survey is based on the self-identification of faculty.  These universities are allowing liberal faculty to replicate their own values and to exclude opposing views.  They have created an echo chamber within one of the greatest universities of the world, destroying the essential intellectual diversity needed to sustain higher education.

The fact is that the reduction of viewpoint diversity is not just a reflection of intolerance and intellectual rigidity.  It also offers greater opportunities for faculty in access to conferences, publications, and speaking events. Other faculty, including some who have contacted this blog with accounts or controversies, are fearful of being publicly targeted by their colleagues or students. In three decades of teaching, I have never seen this level of intolerance and the general lack of support for free speech on many campuses.

Of course, even in unanimity, there can be subtle nuance and dissent.

134 thoughts on “Crimson Tide: Harvard Virtually Eliminated Conservative Professors … But Apparently That is Not a Problem”

  1. “Where our board disagrees with Mansfield — and rather sharply, we may add — is in his notion that a more even distribution of faculty along a conservative-liberal binary would increase productive disagreement in any meaningful way. We find little reason to believe that. In fact, boiling down ideological and intellectual diversity to such limited labels strikes us as downright reductive.”

    “For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest of these are ‘it might have been.’ ~Whittier, I think.

    It might have been a great school, Harvard, if it weren’t for its bullheaded pridefulness and its rejection of the Great Ideas. It seems ideological possession and a lethal dose of ironic willful ignorance has laid it low.

    1. This rot is not limited to higher education. It has permeated every industry sector and will only worsen as DEI becomes institutionally monetized through ESG. Once that becomes fully entrenched in the private sector and the government is increasingly being weaponized against anyone that dares question this Leftist ideology, we can give up on the idea this will peacefully sort itself out.

        1. 🙂 An important observation, Olly.

          I pray it does peacefully sort itself out, that people come to their senses.

          It has permeated everywhere. “Once that becomes fully entrenched in the private sector and the government is increasingly being weaponized against anyone that dares question this Leftist ideology…” There is a great deal of advocacy on the part of the WEF for public-private partnerships. Collusion between the government, corporations, and NGOs.

          1. There is a great deal of advocacy on the part of the WEF for public-private partnerships. Collusion between the government, corporations, and NGOs.

            Good point. It’s now gone beyond advocacy into actual practice.

  2. America has never been perfect; we’ve strived for a goal of acceptable faults, while endeavoring for a safe, free and peaceful country.

    Today, no matter where in America, there is indifference to law, an assault of freedoms, and quasi wars against political adversaries and foreign sovereigns.

    America is in peril of partial to total collapse if we cannot make corrections necessary to ensure safety, freedoms and peace to this great nation.

  3. Professor, it’s ver disappointing, but if you switch POV:

    In “cancel culture” times: Why should 93% liberal students ask for conservatives on the faculty?
    SCOTUS Associate Justice Clarence Thomas terminates his law lecturing at GWU after more than 11K petitioner called for his removal.

    “Maniless” author Harvey Mansfield (born on 3/21/32), thought for 60 years at Harvard University. I wish the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government a long life.

  4. The only advice I have for young people is to learn Mandarin and learn it fast. At my age I thought I would make it to the end with a decent America, but thanks to Biden and Democrats it will probably be over in a countable number of years.

    Only amonf=g Democrats would we have a sitting ember of congress, Rashida Tlaib, a proven idiot, yelling at the big banks that they need to make sure the energy sector gets no funding??? Imagine a rep from a cold climate demanding the ruination of gas and oil? What does she thing people use to heat their homes? This is madness.

    The left is fine with China building coal plants, but not us. The left is fine with nations having strict border control, but not us. The left is fine with China having slave labor, but demands a crippling rise in the minimum wage here. The left loves Europe where most nations have a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, but claims the same bans here are men destroying women.

    If the protests in Iran were happening in a nation friendly to the US the left would be demanding regime change, but since it is a Muslim nation that is our sworn enemy they will not do so. Saudi Arabia killed a journalist and the left wanted to end all relations with the nation that supports us in the ME, provides oil and fights the terrorists, but Iran kills AMERICANS, KILLS GAYS, KILLS WOMEN and not a peep from Tlaib, Omar, Pressley of Cori Bush. Even the moronic AOC had a tepid response that equated Iran to our abortion situation???

    The left demanded that we end nuke power in the 80s because it harms us. The left demanded we unilaterally disarm because it harms us. The left demands we end fossil fuels as they support China because it harms us. The left supports an open border because it is crippling us. The left hates America, can’t you all see that?

  5. I find it ironic that the institutions that emphasize “diversity and inclusion” (or the newer variant “diversity, equity and inclusion”) seem to be the very institutions that limit diversity of thought. This trend does not bode well for the development of a robust intellectual experience. It appears to begin in academia and then extend into the corporate and professional sectors. The New York Bar now includes, among the continuing legal education requirements, a requirement that attorneys licensed in New York take a one-hour course on “diversity and inclusion.” I satisfied that requirement earlier this week by watching a webinar sponsored by the NYSBA on the topic of selecting emojis for use in communication that would not be likely to offend a recipient. Seriously!

  6. The Federal Government is funding the MARCH to FASCISM!
    DC is LOST
    Democrats are fighting a Civil War….Republicans aren’t!

  7. weird how Democrats control Government, Education, Healthcare, Media, Big Tech, Big Banks, Woke Businesses, majority of billionaires….but think republicans are FASCISTS for wanting freedom?
    Zuckerberg, Bloomberg bought $500,000,000 of Democrat votes!

  8. GOP needs to do 4 things
    cut all federal college aid, if is worth it…then people will find a way
    tax all non-profits where anyone gets $100k+
    cut 50% of all federal spending
    move 75% of Fed DC gov to the heartland
    DC is lost!

  9. When the pendulum swings in the opposite direction as it inevitably does employers might think twice about hiring students who have tunnel vision.

  10. Indoctrination should come with a far cheaper price tag than Harvard’s 73,000K per year. North Korean models, replete with books, room and used crimson bowls and chops sticks, start at $395.00 per year!

  11. Having worked in higher ed the past 12 years, have to tell you, the adults are afraid of the kids. You can talk diversity all you want but its really segregation on a different level. Harvard has “reduced” itself to group think.

    1. Both Learning and Decision making “By Consensus” degrades both the learning and the decision, as both seek the lowest common denominator acceptable to all.

  12. Not the brightest way to run a University because intelligent parents and potential students are aware of the need for more than a single point of view. Horrible waste of money to provide half an education while denying the students the chance to hone the skills that they will need in courtrooms when they face better educated and well rounded opponents or Judges.

    If this is supposed to lead to the NWO, trust me our legal system will not be the one used.

  13. This is hardly a surprise. All the more reason that we limit the number of justices and particularly Supreme Court justices that matriculated at Harvard Law School in the Future. Obviously conservatives have graduated from Harvard Law as well as other graduate schools in the university and in the undergraduate college but this may be increasingly rare considering the slant of the University now. Professor now is the time to put in a pitch again for the university of Chicago and Purdue University (Fees frozen now for 10 years). Purdue, although a world class engineering school, also has excellent liberal arts and premedical and pre law training. I highly rec.

  14. I have relatives who graduated from Harvard and Northwestern. All progressives, of course. I can only talk to one of them about politics. The rest are instantly offended. I get spanked with their Utne Readers if I dare venture even an oblique remark about politics or economics.

    Watching their heroes in D.C. get blamed for the coming s*** storm will be about the only satisfaction I can expect. Conversion and contrition are off the table. I think everybody has somebody who is a constant reminder of how intolerant the left is.

  15. There will come a time when employers will compete for the best and brightest and Harvard graduates will no longer be included in that ‘club.’ It may take a while, many years, but it won’t just be parents who will tell their kids ‘don’t apply to Harvard.’ It will take parents, school guidance counselors, influential alumni, and of course employers from all manner of disciplines.

  16. There really is no value in academia at this time. It has been corrupted and despoiled by prog/left ideology to the point of destroying ANY credibility in anything eminating from any institution of higher learning. Why even break a sweat worrying about institutions that graduate the lIkes of AOC?

    1. “from any institution of higher learning”
      Perhaps from many an institution of higher learning, but not all. Hillsdale is one example of a college not despoiled by leftist ideology. There may be others that are either unspoiled or could be salvaged.

      1. Yes, you are correct and my spouse does contribute to them, but they barely touch the lives of the quantity of graduates we are enduring these days.

        1. Yes, I agree, Alma.

          A friend of mine’s college student child has, at least, been listening to various and sundry Hillsdale and/or PragerU courses. Learning a lot, I hear, too.

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