We're All 'Conservatives' Now on Campus

By Hendershott, Anne | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, May 26, 2014 | Go to article overview

We're All 'Conservatives' Now on Campus


Hendershott, Anne, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Having purged their faculties more than a decade ago of those suspected of conservative leanings, the campus progressives are now going after their own.

Haverford College recently disinvited Robert J. Birgeneau, the former Chancellor at UC Berkeley. A man with impeccable progressive credentials, Birgeneau's offense was to allow the Berkeley police to use force against "Occupy" protestors in Sproul Plaza in 2011 -- negating a career-long commitment to progressive causes including advocating for undocumented immigrants and promoting the LGBT community on campus.

Surprised by the students' animosity toward Birgeneau, Haverford's president, Daniel Weiss complained that his students were acting more like a jurors "issuing a verdict" than a campus community extending an invitation for "shared learning."

Weiss should have noticed that "shared learning" disappeared decades ago from colleges like Haverford.

He may have missed the memos on the well-qualified conservatives who were passed over for faculty jobs at his school.

Having served on administrative and faculty search committees for fifteen years as chair of a West Coast sociology department, I have seen those memos. The discrimination is real -- and it occurred on campuses across the country.

The result is that there are few faculty conservatives, and even fewer conservatives in leadership positions. A few years ago, conservatives were encouraged to learn that one of two finalists for the presidency of Seton Hall was Monsignor Stuart Swetland, a faithful priest, and a Rhodes scholar who graduated first in his class from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Swetland was uniquely qualified for the job as he has served as vice-president for Catholic identity and mission at Mount St. Mary's in Maryland, and has been directly involved in revitalizing the Catholic identity on Catholic campuses like Seton Hall.

But, signs of doom for Swetland were clear when the other candidate for the presidency withdrew his name from consideration, and a headline in the New Jersey Star-Ledger warned: "Anticipated Seton Hall President Thought to be a Conservative Choice."

The search was suspended and although Seton Hall officials deny it, strong resistance from the faculty to hiring a faithful Catholic priest like Monsignor Swetland to lead the school had an impact on the failed search.

In their witch hunt to destroy the careers and the lives of the few tenured conservatives that were left teaching on their campuses, the progressive faculty began to run out of witches. …

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