Duke University Professor Declares Conservatives are Stupid · 11 February 2004

Students for Academic Freedom
February 11, 2004

Duke University Professor Declares Conservatives are Stupid

In a statement revealing the abusive atmosphere that conservative students face at American Universities today, Duke Philosophy Department Chair Robert Brandon publicly claimed in the student newspaper, The Chronicle, that conservatives are scarce in academia because stupid people are likely to be conservative.

Since this attitude is widespread, students are discouraged from pursuing academic careers. Duke University would not tolerate similar insults to other groups of students on campus. Why is it permissible to single out conservatives for this abuse?

"These appalling comments, made without any regard for their influence on the next generation of scholars, illustrate the pervasive climate of hostility towards conservatives at Duke and demonstrate the urgent necessity for the school to adopt the Academic Bill of Rights to protect all students from partisan politics in the classroom and ideological discrimination," said Sara Dogan, National Campus Director of Students for Academic Freedom.

Ironically, Brandon's comments were made attempting to refute the conclusion reached by the student-run Duke Conservative Union that conservatives are discriminated against in academia, after a survey of professor voting registrations revealed an overall disparity of 18-1, Democrats to Republicans, among University deans and faculty members in eight humanities departments surveyed at the school.

"In attempting to deflect the notion that humanities faculty are politically biased, Professor Brandon's smug remarks couldn't have proved our point more effectively," said Madison Kitchens, executive director of the Duke Conservative Union. "Many faculty members treat dissenting opinions with condescension and dismissal, and will brook no ideological challenge. Administrators shouldn't pay lip-service to the notion of diversity if the intellectual composition of their faculty is anything but."

"Students for Academic Freedom is devoted to the cause of intellectual diversity and we object to the sentiment expressed by the chair of Duke's prestigious philosophy department that the obstacle to a diverse faculty is the idiocy of Republicans. We will combat this notion and will campaign for an investigation into Duke's hiring practices," said Stephen Miller, president of Duke's Students for Academic Freedom chapter.

A university is not a political party, it is an educational institution. You can't get a good education if they are only telling you one side of the story.

For more information, please contact Elizabeth Ruiz at 800-752-6562, extension 202 or Elizabeth@cspc.org.