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The Monolith on the Hill By: Dan Knecht
The Dartmouth | Friday, January 28, 2005


As part of our ongoing exposure of the Left's total dominance of academia, we present this experience by Dan Knecht. His reflection of Alumni Magazine's report demonstrates that nearly  90 percent of Dartmouth students and professors are dedicated "liberals" who voted for Democrats. -- The Editors.

Ever since I've heard of Dartmouth College, I have noticed the people in Parkhurst and those affiliated with this superb institution pride themselves on the fact that their school is "the College on the Hill." We distinguish ourselves in a very impressive manner. Almost all entering students are coddled on DOC trips by upperclassmen. Dartmouth still ascribes to the trimester system, allowing for nearly half of all students to study abroad. Sophomores forge class unity, as they spend one summer at Hanover together. One would expect this uniqueness to permeate deep into the very essence of the school, academia.

Are our intellectuals and professors just like those of any other top-notch institution--monolithically liberal? I plan not to debate the merits of liberalism vis-à-vis other mainstream American political thought, but only attempt to prove the importance of having many, often clashing political views at any institution and especially Dartmouth. I have no allegiance to those other seven Ivy League schools. But I do want to see my soon-to-be alma mater continue to serve not as an Ivory tower, but as a lighthouse, guiding those who seek worthwhile knowledge and intellectual growth.

In my almost four years at Dartmouth, I have encountered more than a handful of dyed-in-the-wool liberals. I have yet to meet one conservative professor. I am sure they roam the halls of Silsby and Carpenter, but they either remain shamefully quiet or teeter on the verge of extinction. In this aspect, Dartmouth is indeed no different than any other prestigious university.

A recent poll taken at Stanford revealed a nine to one ratio of Democrat professors to those who identify with Republican values. Some might argue that it does not matter if a professor has liberal or conservative values, since he/she is not discussing politics in class. If this statement were true, students would not be able to easily identify their professors' political leanings, which is clearly not the case. To advocate forbidding any political discussion with professors is not only unrealistic, but downright contrary to meaningful intellectual growth. Much of true education occurs outside of textbooks: while students attend office hours and during individual meetings. This is especially valid for Dartmouth professors who pride themselves on their accessibility and approachability outside of class.

What is the harm in having a predominantly liberal faculty at a liberal arts university? Not only is it damaging to the institution itself, for people will start discounting it as a monolithic academy void of healthy intellectual discord, but it negatively impacts its students. Perhaps the most important aspect to the learning process is sorting through differing rationales and synthesizing one's own conclusion. However, when students are exposed to only one color on the polychromatic political spectrum, they are deprived of a broad array of other equally valid ideas. A once vibrant academic institution becomes nothing more than an ivy-gilded factory, cranking out unimaginative drones.

Moreover, any university that only presents one political identity is failing to educate its students. As the past election proved, our country is indeed politically bipolar. As any professor can attest, it is unacceptable to teach only half the material on the syllabus. However, it appears that our university is only providing its students with half the picture of our country's political climate. Graduating university students are entering the "real world" woefully unprepared to deal with the reality: not all Americans are liberal, and in fact, half are not! To many at Dartmouth and other institutions of higher education, it is a painful pill to swallow, but one necessary for survival.

Since its establishment as a school for Native Americans in 1769, it has been Dartmouth's obligation to actively pursue diversity. Overall, we have been quite successful to this end. However, as the school having the dubious honor of being the last Ivy to go co-educational, we cannot afford to lose sight of the goal. Nowadays, our university is becoming increasingly uniform in thought, all while losing its uniqueness as "the College on the Hill."

We must continue to pursue diversity, even if that means embracing conservative thought. We must respect those with differing values, and encourage them and promote political multiculturalism. For that is the true meaning of diversity and liberalism.




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