Monday, April 11, 2005

I think Stanley Kurtz, following up (of sorts) on a Washington Post op-ed piece on campus backlash against left-wing colleges, is wrong with his view that "Once prestigious schools actually stand to lose applicants, administrators may finally wake up...".

First, prestigious schools can lose an awful lot of applicants before their classes have empty (non-tuition paying) seats. I'm guessing these schools take no more than half of the students applying - if so, admissions would have to really drop off before the likes of Columbia end up with unfilled spaces. Even if some of the students not applying were those with the really good grades and test scores - the kinds of students colleges really like to have, it's not as if their replacements will be coming in with with 2.5 GPAs and 900s on their SATs.

Furthermore, I think it's fair to say that the students not applying because of concerns over faculty left-wingedness are likely to be more conservative than the students who are applying. They're certainly going to be more conservative than the faculty. And they are probably going to be more conservative than the university administration. All of which makes it hard for me to think that the campus is going to be upset because fewer conservatives show up - even if the conservative student is the one with the 4.0 and 1500s.

And not every student who is upset over the liberal dogma will go elsewhere. These schools, perhaps undeservedly, are sought after because their graduates get the good jobs. How many conservatives will screw their career options by going elsewhere just to avoid having to tolerate a few crazies in their midst?

And finally, I'm not sure these prestigious universities care all that much about their students, whether liberal or conservative. They care about the alumni donations. They care about the research dollars (which are doled out by liberals in government). They care about their speaking engagements (in front of other liberal audiences... Ward Churchill wasn't invited to speak at Liberty University, was he?). I think they could care less about any single student.... or any single group of students.

While there may be a backlash, it will be a long, long time before it has any impact on the schools in question...