How Colleges Get Rid of Conservative Admins: An Example from UNC

When I accepted an administrative position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, friends warned me that I would not fit in as a conservative. I dismissed their concerns as hyperbole, an instance of believing universities are more politicized than they actually are. After eight long months, however, I had to admit that … Continue reading “How Colleges Get Rid of Conservative Admins: An Example from UNC”


An Anti-Free Speech Conference in Greensboro

Scholars gathered October 24 and 25 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to discuss free speech—and focused on its alleged pernicious effects. The conference’s takeaway was that the problem with free speech in the public sphere is not one of inadequacy, but rather one of overabundance. The conference, “Finding Expression in Contested Public … Continue reading “An Anti-Free Speech Conference in Greensboro”


Blinding Themselves: The Cost of Groupthink in Social Psychology

The social sciences have a problem: If their scholars think too much alike, they will be blinded to the flaws and gaps in their research. Rather than explaining how individuals in society act and think, academics can sometimes slip blinders on themselves and the public. Polling shows broad agreement within some disciplines. For instance, recent … Continue reading “Blinding Themselves: The Cost of Groupthink in Social Psychology”


Outnumbered: Academia’s Tilted Ideological Landscape

The fact that conservatives are outnumbered on college campuses isn’t groundbreaking news. The amount of ink that’s been spilled recounting the left’s stronghold on the academy and the threats that such ideological imbalance poses to rigorous academic inquiry—not to mention the perverse effects it wields on the culture—has been enough to fill volumes of journals, … Continue reading “Outnumbered: Academia’s Tilted Ideological Landscape”


No, Academia, Title VI Funding Is Not for Your Pleasure

A letter from the federal Department of Education has sparked yet another controversy on the campuses of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This time, the issue is about how to honor the intentions of donors, with the donor being the federal government instead of a private individual or corporation. … Continue reading “No, Academia, Title VI Funding Is Not for Your Pleasure”


The Purely Imaginary ‘Rightward Transformation’ in Higher Education

One of the most peculiar claims to gain currency in higher education holds that academia has become captive to nefarious monied interests on the political right. Writings in this genre almost always hail from scholars on the left, and attribute a variety of problems in the academy—both real and imagined—to the ulterior-motived influence of conservative … Continue reading “The Purely Imaginary ‘Rightward Transformation’ in Higher Education”


Law School Teaching Going Off on Ideological Tangents

Back in 2010, I wrote a piece for the Martin Center entitled Bad Sociology, Not Law bemoaning the marginalization of common law doctrine in the American law school curriculum. My point then was that, increasingly, law students were just learning about legal doctrine in their classes rather than being called upon to master the prevailing legal doctrine itself … Continue reading “Law School Teaching Going Off on Ideological Tangents”


Can Public Universities Practice Ideological Discrimination?

If a university were to state that it will not hire people applying for a faculty position because of their race, sex, or religion, that would be clearly illegal. No school would dare to disregard applicants simply because “people of their kind” were not wanted. But what about an applicant’s philosophy and political beliefs? Can … Continue reading “Can Public Universities Practice Ideological Discrimination?”


Intellectual Diversity and Academic Professionalism

Editor’s Note: This is a condensed version of a speech Dr. Otteson gave at a January James G. Martin Center luncheon. Our topic today is the importance of intellectual diversity on campus. I doubt there is anyone here who does not believe in the importance of intellectual diversity on campus, so I would like to … Continue reading “Intellectual Diversity and Academic Professionalism”


Psychology Professors Argue Against Groupthink in Their Field

Does social science research and understanding suffer because most of the individuals working in the field are on the left side of the political spectrum? A new book gives us strong reasons to think so. The book is entitled The Politics of Social Psychology and was edited by professors Jarret Crawford and Lee Jussim. Its … Continue reading “Psychology Professors Argue Against Groupthink in Their Field”