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Volume 69, Issue 18, Thursday, September 18, 2003


Republicans push diversity

Mike Kruft
Opinion Columnist

Does anyone else feel like we're living in bizarro world lately? Black is white, up is down, that kind of thing? Although green still means go at the stoplight and the Cincinnati Bengals keep losing, it does feel like the political spectrum has been flip-flopped as of late. Conservatives control the media, Democrats are stressing fiscal responsibility and Republicans are supporting affirmative action.

In the coming year, Colorado's Republican leaders, such as Gov. Bill Owens, Senate President John Andrews and House Speaker Lola Spradley plan to implement a form of affirmative action aimed at colleges and universities across the state which threatens to politicize the hiring process and hinder free speech. The new legislation is focused on forcing universities to hire conservative professors and other staff to combat the supposed "stranglehold" that liberals have on the American collegiate system.

I suppose no one has bothered to mention to the proponents of this act that schools don't ask potential employees their political affiliation because of federal civil rights laws that prohibit such actions. Despite these claims of liberal bias, major schools in Colorado such as the University of Colorado have played host to such dignitaries as George Bush, Sr., Charlton Heston, Colin Powell and Margaret Thatcher.

Though the ratio of Republicans to Democrats employed in most colleges is usually slanted towards the left, it's quite easy to understand why. It has been that way since the civil rights era, when campuses across the nation became a hotbed of social reform.

The group championing the effort, Students for Academic Freedom, the brainchild of conservative ideologue David Horowitz, met with Owens, Andrews and Spradley last June. Owens' spokesman said the discussion was on "the need for balance in higher education." Something tells me his idea of "balance" might be the same kind of ideological "balance" we see on Fox News.

Despite their supposed concern for education, Horowitz and some in the Colorado legislature are looking to establish monetary sanctions in this bill to force schools to obey its proceedings. It shows that this is partisan warfare, not an effort to increase education quality and diversity. Perhaps even more disturbing, Horowitz has a Web site devoted entirely to the recruitment of students for his political purposes. It tells them how to investigate their universities for political bias by searching for political affiliations of faculty and administration, how to document their ideological standpoints and how to send their reports back to him. Joe McCarthy, meet higher learning.

Apparently conservatives aren't content with just controlling congress, the presidency and the media. They're willing to stomp all over our educational system to get their power-hungry wishes fulfilled.

Kruft, a junior political science major, can be 
reached at


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