At Syracuse University, I joined a March on Washington against the Vietnam War. I flew first-class and bedded at something like the Ritz Carlton.
Of course, I still had enough Republican DNA that I did not hitchhike to D. The advice I give students, and that I hope faculty members at all colleges will join me in promoting, goes something like this: Think it possible you might be mistaken.
Diversity is a core value of Guilford College, where I serve as president.
It challenges us to welcome a variety of persons and perspectives.
Every college and university has Democrats and Republicans, environmentalists and developers, occupiers and capitalists, vegetarians and carnivores, and fans of Fox News and NPR.
Diversity is a matter of listening to all sides with deference and a mind that is open to new ideas. There are still rights and wrongs and self-evident truths: Hate speech is evil, evolution happened, the earth circles the sun, and the Red Sox are the best team in baseball.Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others." Other institutions wrongheadedly embrace the other extreme.State legislatures and boards of trustees threaten loss of tenure or expulsion for being gay, opposing war, promoting choice, protesting economic inequality or questioning authority.Imagine if the politicians in Washington could collaborate to get something done rather than demonize each other, spew half-truths, and bankrupt us all.Like Mark Twain, “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” Protect the rights of others to be different. Don’t be a hostage to prejudice or a bystander to intolerance. Avoid groupthink where everyone shares the same beliefs or think they do.Faculty, staff and even students in trendy, self-validating clusters tend to delude themselves that the people around them are roughly representative of the general society.Their Disneyland was small government and low taxes.Then, I journeyed from being a right-wing Republican to an independent who is an economic conservative and social liberal.When I was growing up, my family perpetually argued.Both of my parents believed that FDR was a covert communist.