By Justin Buckner
I am disappointed in Chapman University. In December and early January, President Daniele Struppa sent out five emails to students and faculty in regard to Dr. John Eastman, the former dean of Chapman’s Fowler School of Law, a Chapman professor, and lawyer of former President Donald Trump. With this came 15 articles from The Panther, a signed letter from 159 faculty and 10 board of trustee members, as well as numerous angry students, all who put pressure on President Struppa to fire Dr. Eastman.
This led Dr. Eastman to the logical conclusion that he would not be welcomed back to a safe environment on campus. So, Eastman resigned.
Now, it’s time for Professor Liam O’Mara to take the hot seat. On March 23rd, the adjunct history professor sent a KKK hood to black conservative pundit Candace Owens. This image – regardless of O’Mara’s “white savior” intentions – has always, and still does, represent racial intimidation and lynchings.
Almost three weeks later, and we have heard NOTHING from the administration, faculty, and student body regarding this issue.
Not a single email from Dean Jerry Price nor President Struppa. No Panther articles calling for his firing or even raising awareness of Dr. O’Mara’s disgusting actions. No protests nor petitions to rid Chapman of racism. No student body uprising to prevent a racist professor from returning to campus. For a university that preaches diversity and acceptance of others’ differences, we have just seen a prime example of its hypocrisy.
The administration has clearly created an environment in which conservative ideas are intimidated into silence. Many students and faculty feel they are unable to speak up because of the inevitable ostracizing from their peers. This environment has stemmed from a lack of respect for intellectual diversity, which has directly disadvantaged conservative students and faculty on campus.
Look at this situation honestly: if a white conservative Chapman professor had sent a KKK hood to a black person, there would be massive protests on campus for their removal. There would also be massive coverage from The Panther, as well as every club and greek life group on campus. However, when the political parties are reversed, we hear nothing but silence. The sad truth is that the only people who have called out true racism in Chapman’s faculty this year are the Chapman Republicans. We shouldn’t be alone in this battle.
It is now apparent that for Chapman, diversity only comes in three forms – race, religion, and gender. Intellectual diversity has increasingly been on life support, not only on Chapman’s campus, but nationwide.
In order to begin fixing this lack of intellectual diversity, we need to get more conservative professors on campus. Mitchell Langbert, an associate professor of business at Brooklyn College, conducted a study of 51 of the 66 highest-ranked liberal-arts colleges in the United States. At those colleges, Democrat professors outnumbered Republicans at every school, in every field of study. Extreme cases, such as Wellesley College, Williams College, and Swarthmore College, exceeded a ratio of 120-1. This trend, unfortunately, is not just at liberal arts schools. A following study conducted by Mitchell Langbert and Sean Stevens analyzed Democrat-Republican voter registration of 12,372 professors at top universities across the nation and discovered that Democrat professors outnumber Republicans 8.5 to 1.
As college continues to become more expensive, the quality of education and students’ ability to become educated on differing ideas and perspectives is decreasing. The purpose of attending a university is to become equipped for the real world, meet a wide variety of individuals, and dive deeply into a particular field of study. When a vast majority of professors are monolithic in their political views, we are training the next generation to be unprepared for differing perspectives, as their views are rarely challenged. Conservative students’ beliefs are challenged in the classroom daily, while liberal students cannot even stand to have a proud and prestigious Republican professor in their law school.
It all starts with the administration. If we are going to strive for a diverse faculty and student body, we need to search for diversity of thought. The university’s goal to have a wide variety of individuals differing in skin color, gender, and religion is great, but true diversity comes through our differences in character. We should not be focusing so hard on surface-level diversity; rather, we should focus on bringing people into Chapman’s faculty and student body who can help learn from one another. Only then will students have the knowledge and experience to be prepared for the real world post-graduation.
Justin Buckner is a junior at Chapman University majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Documentary with a minor in Political Science. He is serving as the president of the Chapman Republican’s Club during the 2020-2021 academic year. This opinion piece is part of a running column written by Buckner.