Before retiring, I’d like to state a thought and a concern I have about political diversity here at the college. My thought is that the college needs to be a place where there can be a free exchange of ideas – especially political ones. People in our community, especially students, need to feel reasonably free to say what they really think. We learn by being exposed to ideas different from our own. As British philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, the best way to counter an incorrect belief is to expose it to the light of discussion.
My concern is that Baker is failing to be a place of diversity of political ideas. My experience here is that I often hear liberal ideas and causes advanced in public – in our campus media and in forums, for instance – but I rarely hear conservative ideas and causes advanced. I sometimes hear conservative ideas treated with mockery. Surely there are people of conservative values among the faculty and student body, so the intellectual imbalance I perceive puzzles me.
Above all, the college should not have an official political viewpoint. I mean that the faculty and staff, in official communications, should not favor one political point of view above others. Let a thousand rallies bloom, but let them not be officially sponsored.
Let oodles of political causes be advanced, but let none be backed by the college. Rallies that are publicized by college officers, for instance, might appear (mistakenly, I’m sure) to bear the college’s sponsorship. It is better for the college to remain neutral, or if it takes a position, its position should be to favor diversity of political ideas.
Professor of Religion