The PC Academy Debate: Questions not Asked

10 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2010 Last revised: 9 Mar 2021

See all articles by Robert Maranto

Robert Maranto

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Richard E. Redding

Chapman University

Frederick M. Hess

American Enterprise Institute

Date Written: October 26, 2010


This is the introductory chapter for the edited book, The Politically Correct University: Problems, Scope, and Reforms, which explores the culture of political correctness in higher education. We focus on the problem of liberal political orthodoxy in teaching and scholarship and seek to understand how diversity – of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, but not of sociopolitical ideas – has become the dominant ideology in colleges and universities. The chapter provides an overview and commentary on the book’s four sections. The first section, Diagnosing the Problem, begins by providing the most current and comprehensive statistical analysis of the relative rarity of conservative and libertarian professors. It then explores the psychological and sociological mechanisms by which such imbalance comes about, and considers how and why academia stresses demographic diversity while largely eschewing political diversity. The second section, ‘Diversity’ in Higher Education, suggests that anticonservative bias in the academy is likely explained by a psychological phenomenon known as groupthink, explores the psychological goals and assumptions underlying diversity programs and political correctness (while arguing that sociopolitical diversity may be the most important form of diversity for achieving those goals), and explains the history of how demographic diversity came to trump ideological diversity on campus. In the third section, Different Disciplines, Same Problem, leading scholars explore how political correctness affects scholarship and teaching across liberal arts and social science disciplines, including English and linguistics, history, and political science. In the final section, Needed Reforms, practitioners describe the history of political correctness in universities and propose reforms.

Keywords: Higher Education, Political Correctness, Diversity, Multiculturalism, Speech Codes

Suggested Citation

Maranto, Robert and Redding, Richard E. and Hess, Frederick M., The PC Academy Debate: Questions not Asked (October 26, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Robert Maranto (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

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Richard E. Redding

Chapman University ( email )

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Frederick M. Hess

American Enterprise Institute ( email )

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United States
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