Center for Equal Opportunity

The nation’s only conservative think tank devoted to issues of race and ethnicity.


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Bad Resolution for the New Year

A couple of years ago, a bad Senate resolution was introduced, encouraging the entire private sector to adopt a ramped-up version of the National Football League’s “Rooney Rule”: That rule originally required that at least one racial minority be introduced for any head coaching vacancy, and the Senate resolution now wants interviewed at least two “qualified minority candidates for each managerial opening at the director level and above” and least two minority-owned businesses for vendor contracts.

Well, that bad Senate resolution is back.  What remains especially lamentable is that it’s being proposed not by Bernie Sanders but by Tim Scott, who should know better, and it’s being cosponsored by Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, among others. Here’s our critique from last time around, which still stands.  It’s bad policy and unconstitutional. 

Relatedly, a recent article in the Washington Post says that the Democrats in Congress are contemplating adoption of their own “Rooney Rule” when it comes to hiring staff.  But as I have discussed before, the Rooney Rule is bad as a matter of both law and policy:

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Why Is Smokey Never a Polar Bear? – Shortly before leaving office, President Obama issued a “Presidential Memorandum — Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Waters.” It orders the National Park Service and such agencies to do better when it comes to having “diverse” employees and visitors by, for example, rooting out “unconscious bias”; see recent posts on the dubiousness of such enterprises here and here. There’s no suggestion that any lack of diversity among employees or visitors is due to actual discrimination; rather, the memorandum is simply another reflection of the Left’s obsession that there be no enterprise anywhere that has a politically incorrect demographic balance.

But why stop with national park employees and visitors? There needs to be more “biodiversity” in the parks’ flora and fauna, too. If evergreens insist on being monochromatic, they should be uprooted and replaced. It’s obvious to even a tourist that bears of color are greatly overrepresented at parks in the lower 48, and we need more female deer with antlers and more male deer without. Even more fundamentally, “Yellowstone” is a microaggression against Asian Americans, and no self-respecting feminist will ever visit Grand Teton National Park.

Here’s hoping the Trump administration will put an end to this sort of nonsense.

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A Trip Down Memory Lane – A recent New York Times op-ed by Donald Moynihan claims that attacks on free speech have occurred mostly "elite private institutions like Oberlin and Yale," not in "large public institutions [like those] in Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin" where he has taught.

Center for Equal Opportunity supporters, however, may recall that in 2011 we had an experience at the University of Wisconsin that calls this claim into question.  But, in all fairness, I’m not sure I would give the school a failing grade based on my own experience there (I won’t defend the school in other respects). 

Here are the details:  It’s true that a university official orchestrated a student protest against our press conference releasing a study that year documenting the school’s use of racial preferences in admission, and that the protest was an ugly one.  Our press conference was held off-campus at a hotel, but the protestors broke into building, injured at least one hotel employee, eventually swarmed — chanting — into the press conference itself (it was essentially over by the time they got in), and then attempted to pursue me into the elevator I was taking to my room (my friend professor emeritus Lee Hansen and hotel employees kept them out). 

That’s the bad part, and I figured that, after all this, the school would seize upon some pretext to cancel a Federalist Society debate on affirmative action that I was scheduled to participate in that evening.  But here’s where the school redeemed itself:  It insisted that, no, there would be no heckler’s veto, moved the event to a larger forum (the student union building, where the security would be better), beefed up campus security (escorting me to and from the event), and the show went on (there was some unruliness in the audience, but it was manageable, and I was not prevented from saying anything I wanted to say). 

The university officials quoted to me the school’s “sifting and winnowing” metaphor regarding its traditional commitment to free speech; you can read all about that metaphor here.  The net result for the Center for Equal Opportunity was an event that was actually bigger (nearly a thousand students, as I recall) than it would have been otherwise, and of course we got some good publicity for it (e.g., on the O’Reilly Factor). 

Anyway, I wanted to give credit where it’s due, regarding this particular event.

*          *          *“Social Justice” and Free Speech – And while we’re in the groves of academe:  Friedrich Hayek famously noted how the word “social” as an adjective effectively means “not” — so that social science is not really science, and social climbing is not really climbing, and of course social justice is not really justice at all.  That came to mind as I read George Leef’s column here about a case now being presented to the Rhode Island state supreme court, in which a student at a state school is being denied the opportunity to pursue his degree in social work, because of an unwillingness to advocate for the right kind of social change, all in the name of social justice.  Well, social justice or not, there are some First Amendment problems here, and the Cato Institute, National Association of Scholars, and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have filed an amicus brief urging the court to take the case.