Remarks of Gail Heriot, Professor of Law, University of San Diego (for Panel Two): Symposium on Intellectual Diversity; Panel Discussions: ‘Why Intellectual Diversity Matters’ (Panel One) and ‘What Is to Be Done?’ (Panel Two), Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools in San Diego, January 6, 2018
6 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 6, 2018
Intellectual diversity is sadly lacking in academia today. And given the current campus culture of trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, hate speech codes, and bias response teams, there is a feedback loop that makes fixing the problem especially difficult. Why would a qualified conservative want to go into academia given that campus culture? In this presentation, Professor Heriot expressed pessimism about the likelihood that this can be easily corrected. Colleges and universities are designed as institutions to disperse power widely so as to make it impossible for any group to impose their will on the university. This feature has generally served academia well. But it also means that when things go seriously awry, it is hard to right the ship. Of the partial solutions she suggests, the one she has the greatest confidence in is the idea of reducing federal influence over higher education. For example, a university that is not in compliance with Title IX will get its funding cut off (and rightly so). But what is viewed as a violation of Title IX these days has gotten way out of hand. When Title IX is being interpreted in ways that tend to stifle free inquiry, when it is being interpreted in ways that deny any semblance of due process to those accused, it is being misinterpreted.
Keywords: Diversity, Higher Education, Political Correctness, Trigger Warnings, Intellectual Diversity, Ideological Diversity, Conservatism, Title IX, Hate Speech Codes, Universities, Legal Education, Law Schools
JEL Classification: A00, A10, K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation