Yale Faculty call for ideological diversity

Valeria Pavilonis & Matt Kristoffersen:

But conservative professors criticized what they saw as a lack of effort to recruit a faculty body that better represents the nation’s political makeup. Four professors interviewed by the News said that as is, Yale’s climate stifles political discourse. According to a 2017 survey, almost 75 percent of Yale professors said they were liberal. Still, according to University President Peter Salovey, Yale is actively seeking to recruit scholars from a range of backgrounds with different perspectives.

“I think diverse points of view, ideas that challenge the mainstream … represented in a University setting are critical to both providing a great educational environment and also to making headway in scholarship and research,” Salovey said in an interview with the News. “And that diversity of thinking includes, but is not limited to, a range of political opinions.”

The University’s reputation as a liberal school is not new. Conservative pundits often consider Yale to be a perfect atmosphere for “snowflakes” — a term used against students and faculty members who passionately advocate for ideas far to the left of the American political spectrum. And in a 2017 News survey, under 10 percent of Yale faculty respondents identified as conservative. This finding nearly matched nationwide data from a different faculty political opinion poll cited by Inside Higher Ed in 2007 nearly a decade prior.

According to another study conducted by a professor at Sarah Lawrence College and a researcher at Stanford University, academics in the Northeast are polarized even more. The ratio of liberals to conservatives is 28:1 according to this data from 2014.

To prominent history professor Carlos Eire GRD ’79, Yale’s liberal bent can choke productive discussion.