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Left-wing college seeks right-wing professor…or not

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 13, 2008 10:29 AM

After years of excoriating academia for defining diversity solely in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, it appears that one left-wing college realizes that intellectual diversity might actually be worth something to its students. Or does it? At first glance, it seems the moonbat-infested University of Colorado at Boulder is looking for a conservative professor (via the WSJ, hat tip – reader John):

How liberal is the University of Colorado at Boulder?

The campus hot-dog stand sells tofu wieners. A recent pro-marijuana rally drew a crowd of 10,000, roughly a third the size of the student body. And according to one professor’s analysis of voter registration, the 800-strong faculty includes just 32 Republicans.

Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson surveys this landscape with unease. A college that champions diversity, he believes, must think beyond courses in gay literature, Chicano studies and feminist theory. “We should also talk about intellectual diversity,” he says. So over the next year, Mr. Peterson plans to raise $9 million to create an endowed chair for what is thought to be the nation’s first Professor of Conservative Thought and Policy.

Mr. Peterson’s quest has been greeted with protests from some faculty and students, who say the move is too — well, radical. “Why set aside money specifically for a conservative?” asks Curtis Bell, a teaching assistant in political science. “I’d rather see a quality academic than someone paid to have a particular perspective.”

Sounds good, no?

Well, there are caveats:

Even some conservatives who have long pushed for balance in academia voice qualms. Among them is David Horowitz, a conservative agitator whose book “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America” includes two Boulder faculty members: an associate professor of ethnic studies who writes about the intersection of Chicano and lesbian issues, and a philosophy professor focused on feminist politics and “global gender justice.”

While he approves of efforts to bolster a conservative presence on campus, Mr. Horowitz fears that setting up a token right-winger as The Conservative at Boulder will brand the person as a curiosity, like “an animal in the zoo.” We “fully expect this person to be integrated into the fabric of life on campus,” replies Todd Gleeson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

And if you read to the bottom of the story, you’ll see that in the end, the university may end up not with a bona fide conservative, but with a left-wing interpreter of conservatism:

Sophomore Marissa Malouff sees the campus as a sort of re-education camp. Sheltered rich kids from out-of-state might come for the snowboarding, but while they’re here they get dunked in a simmering pot of left-wing idealism. And that, in her view, is how it should be.

“They need to learn about social problems and poverty and the type of things liberal professors are likely to talk about,” says Ms. Malouff, a Democrat.

Chancellor Peterson’s response: Not to worry. He’s not trying to change the essential nature of CU-Boulder.

In fact, Mr. Peterson said it’s not imperative that the new professor of conservative thought be an actual conservative.

“We hire lots of scholars of the French language,” he says, “and they aren’t necessarily French.”

Same old, same old.

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