Colby College Signals "Conservatives Need Not Apply"

Daniel Pipes

Colby College’s department of history just routinely announced a position for visiting assistant professor in Middle East/Islamic History for the 2022-23 academic year. Routine, but also notable.

Four decades ago, I might have applied for this post and perhaps even have won the chance to fill it. These days, though, the job description makes clear that I, as a conservative scholar, would have no chance. Note the bolded elements in the announcement screaming out “conservatives need not apply”:

  • The Department is a community of engaged teacher-scholars.
  • We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates who will bring to the classroom experiences, identities, ideas, and ways of engaging that will resonate with History’s, and Colby’s, increasingly diverse student body.
  • We are searching for candidates with great potential to be innovative, effective, and inclusive teachers of history.
  • [The candidate’s] statement of teaching philosophy and the statement of research interests should demonstrate commitment to the values of diversity and inclusivity.

While seemingly innocuous, such terms as engaged, identity, diversity, and inclusivity actually exclude anyone not on the Left. Indeed, “diversity, equity and inclusion” (or DEI) is the progressives’ main workplace mantra.

Further, demanding that a candidate’s “teaching philosophy and the statement of research interests should demonstrate commitment to the values of diversity and inclusivity” is particularly insidious. This not only weeds out anyone not on the Left but ensures that this outlook is ingrained into the scholar’s future work.

Thus does the Left lock in its influence on the academy’s personnel, teaching, and research.

The only way to break this lock is by creating new institutions with enormous reach. That is possible, but it requires both imagination (very few individual Americans found new universities these days) and money, preferably lots of it. Still, that money does potentially exist, as I noted in 2019:

Frederick M. Hess and Brendan Bell do the math and conclude that such a university would cost $3.4 billion to build and endow in perpetuity. That's a tidy sum but donors in 2017 gave $43.6 billion to higher education. $3.4 billion is also but a fraction of some conservatives' vast wealth (hello Charles and David, hello Sheldon, hello Rupert).

Until and unless such new institutions come into being, it appears the leftward drift will continue.

As a coda to the Colby College job announcement, note the long and exotic list of categories on the basis of which it declares it does not discriminate: “race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, pregnancy, parental or marital status, national or ethnic origin, caste, political beliefs, or disability unrelated to job or course of study requirements.”

Curiously, in another announcement of the same opening, this one posted at the Middle East Studies Association, Colby’s non-discriminatory list is shorter and quite different; the bolded words mark what differs between the two versions: “race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, or veteran’s status.”

Some variations (caste, genetic information) are bizarre, and others (political beliefs) are important. One can only wonder which of an applicant’s features Colby and others will not discriminate against in the future: maybe height, hair color, right- or left-handedness, and obesity. Or perhaps the knowledge of languages, IQ, teaching skills, and quality of research. The university’s future as engineered by American progressives knows no bounds.


Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes), president of the Middle East Forum, has taught at four universities.


Photo by R Boed of Colby College, Flicker // CC BY 2.0

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