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CU Boulder’s “first visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy”, Steven Hayward, told a group of students, faculty and Boulderites that universities around the country lack conservative professors during a talk in Old Main Chapel Thursday evening.
That lack of conservative leaders on college campuses is having a negative impact on learning institutions, Hayward said during his public lecture titled “Why are there so few conservatives in higher education and does it matter?”
“There is ideological discrimination which boils down to race, class and gender,” Hayward said to about 80 people in attendance. He explained that professors are key in helping students make decisions that effect their academic lives and future careers.
In March, Hayward was named a visiting scholar as part of an administrative effort to help diversify CU Boulder’s mostly liberal faculty. He is teaching two political science classes during the fall semester.
Hayward comes from teaching government and history at Ashland University in Ohio. He is also an author who has written books on Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, as well as nature from a Biblical standpoint.
Some CU students attended the lecture open to the ideas Hayward presented.
Sophomore journalism major Nick Kendrick chose to attend the event for class and “to see if (Hayward’s) point of view would broaden intellectual diversity.”
Other students attended the talk with the hope of learning how to address the gap between the amount of liberal and conservative professors on campus.
“I’m here because I want to learn more about the unique position of being a conservative academia,” said Anthony Kelley, a first year PhD student. “I want to know what the complaints are and how to address them. I want to learn how to make learned spaces more accessible for those who hold political viewpoints different from my own.”
In an opinion piece Hayward wrote in 2011, Modernizing Conservatism, he stated, “conservative ideas for education reform, especially school choice and charter schools, have made only scant progress against determined opposition that seems unlikely to abate any time soon.”
Boulder resident Richard Partridge felt Hayward’s points were just more right-wing rhetoric.
“I’m interested in political things,” Partridge said. “My sense is that this is another attempt to have unequal representation. I think I’m going to hear the same ideological, traditional and cultural arguments made by conservatives. I believe in fairness.”
Data Hayward presented showed liberal students are unfairly receiving higher grades than their conservative counterparts. Furthermore, he suggested the two groups are being led to different majors.
“Liberalism is directed towards utopians while a lot of conservatives have been drawn toward economics,” he said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mary-Lynn Elliott at Mael7171@colorado.edu.