GOP Adopts Hiring Quotas

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A ridiculous proposal in Iowa for ideological hiring quotas shows just how far the Republican party is from grasping the nature of the problem with government schools, and, therefore, its solution:

A bill in the Iowa Senate seeks to achieve greater political diversity among professors at the state's Board of Regents universities. Senate File 288 would institute a hiring freeze until the number of registered Republicans and Democrats on the university faculty fall within 10 percent of each other.

"I'm under the understanding that right now they can hire people because of diversity," said the bill's author, Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa. "They want to have people of different thinking, different processes, different expertise. So this would fall right into category with what existing hiring practices are." [link omitted, bold added]
This proposal is, paradoxically, as dangerous as it is ineffective. The danger lies in the precedent of aggravating a problem indirectly created by government control of education -- by explicitly setting up the government in the role of ideological monitor. (I suspect that even today, a court might strike that down, but to test that assumption is to play with fire.) The ineffectiveness should be obvious even to its sponsors: Current and prospective faculty could just change party affiliations -- not that there is any substantive difference between the two, if this measure is any indication.

Is the GOP cynical or oblivious regarding education and freedom of speech? Regardless of the answer, we now know they don't have any serious ideas about freeing the former or protecting the latter.

-- CAV


3-2-17: Please read the first comment below about a similar (but far superior) proposal from Ayn Rand regarding the problem of ideological conformity in higher education. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a link to the whole proposal (other than a bootleg copy I will not vouch for).


Kyle Haight said...

While the specific implementation is flawed because party registration is too easy to manipulate, the underlying goal here is very similar to what Rand advocated back in 1972 in her article "Fairness Doctrine For Education". It's worth going back and re-reading that, because the core problem she identified back then still exists today in a more pure and virulent form. Her arguments in support of an educational fairness doctrine are still worth considering.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for bringing that up. I just re-read that, and I can't believe I forgot about it.

I have to agree with you, for the following reasons:

"It must be remembered firmly that a fairness doctrine is not a string on the universities' freedom, but a string on the government's power to distribute public funds. That power has already demonstrated its potential for fantastically evil and blatantly unconstitutional control over the universities...

No, the fairness doctrine would not reform the universities' faculties and administrations. There would be a great deal of hypocrisy, of compromising, of cheating, of hiring weak advocates to teach the unfashionable theories, of "tokenism," of window dressing.

But think of what one window can do for a sealed, airless, lightless room.

Thanks for mentioning this.