Conservative students have done more to promote “critical thinking” than any program Provost Myer can think up.
By Ethan Hollenberger
Update: YAF-Marquette chairman and adviser reached out to Provost Myers for a meeting. Through his chief of staff, Myers denied the request because he was too busy. Myers’ office said they could direct the YAF chapter to another person on campus. At this point, Myers is unwilling to defend his actions directly to conservative students.
Last week, the Young Americans for Freedom at Marquette held a wildly successful talk featuring Ben Shapiro. Two lecture halls were filled beyond capacity, even as Marquette staff attempted to sabotage the event behind the scenes.
The first time any Marquette administrator publicly addressed students about the Shapiro talk was in an editorial in the campus newspaper on February 14. Provost Dan Myers—who once carried a sign that labeled conservatives as homophobic, transphobic & biphobic—penned an op-ed pleading for “critical thinking” when considering conservative speakers like Shapiro.
His message was simple: the conservatives who came to hear from Ben Shapiro failed to think critically.
According to Myers, Shapiro’s visit “produced some controversy.” In reality, it was university staff that ginned up the controversy. Myers argues that campuses “should not avoid controversy.” Instead, he wants the campus to challenge “controversial” views. Myers, as the second in command at Marquette, has made it his duty to challenge exclusively conservative views the few times they are allowed to be heard on campus.
Interestingly, Myers did not even attend Shapiro’s lecture, but this did not prevent Myers from responding (presumably, he watched the video provided by YAF).
In his contradictions of Shapiro’s asserts, Myers leans heavily on fallacies. When Shapiro remarked that “institutional racism” is no longer the norm, Myers wrote that targeting “legacy” students is racist. He continued, asking whether the legacy advantage “replicate[s] that racism in the next generation.” That is, Myers believes recruiting students who are more likely to attend Marquette because of a prior family connection is racist. Surprisingly, Myers never mentions Marquette’s expressed desire to slant the admissions process in favor of Hispanic students, despite the fact that he himself supports a policy which would require Marquette’s racial demographic to reach at least 25% of all enrollments.
A quick recap of Myers logic reveals a troubling conclusion:
To recruit legacy students, those whose parent or sibling attended Marquette University before them (regardless of race), is institutional racism. But to set a goal of creating a Marquette where 25% of the population is Hispanic (potentially at the expense of other qualified minority students) in order to seek federal funds is not institutional racism.
That’s right Marquette alumni: The provost of your alma mater does not want to recruit your kid, younger sibling, or grandkid in the name of some warped version of Jesuit social justice.
Marquette’s desire to welcome more Hispanics is laudable – but not through this scheme. Skewing numbers to fleece the feds and pander to progressive pieties will throw off other diversity metrics, including socioeconomic status, religion, sex, and many more. Note that intellectual diversity is never part of any initiative promoting inclusion on the campus of Marquette University.
Doubling down on his accusations, Myers argues that Ben’s promotion of the Brookings Institution’s Three Simple Rules to Join the Middle Class is also racist: Graduate from high school, avoid early pregnancy, and get a job. Myers says not all races have equal opportunities to finish high school, get into college, or, evidently, avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Myers offers no solutions to address this broad institutional charge of racism. For decades, conservatives have advocated school choice that would benefit minority students. Yet progressives dramatically opposed Betsy DeVos for the Department of Education, despite her plan to expand to expand choice for impoverished children.
Milwaukee Public Schools (serving the residents who live around Marquette) have been run into the ground by progressive unions for decades. Perhaps left wing unions are the example of institutional racism Myers was seeking?
Myers writes, “Healthy skepticism is at the very foundation of active learning.” If Myers is genuinely interested in interaction with active learning, perhaps the Young Americans for Freedom might bring Shapiro back for a debate.
In fact, Young America’s Foundation has a strong reputation of supporting dialogue on Marquette’s campus. The Foundation has sponsored Attorney General John Ashcroft, Speaker Newt Gingrich, John Stossel, Michelle Malkin, S.E. Cupp, Allen West, Steve Forbes, Herman Cain, Christopher Horner, and many more.
Additionally, the Foundation has sponsored two debates at Marquette. Marquette’s own liberal theologian Dan Maguire backed out of a debate on pro-life issues with conservative Mike Adams.
The Foundation also paid for Liz Cheney to debate Howard Dean prior to the 2012 election. Marquette was one of only a handful of campuses to host such a debate. The Foundation paid for both speakers.
Non-progressives are left to wonder if Myers is planning to write a similarly scathing op-ed after Shaun King appeared on campus this week, or well-known domestic terrorist Angela Davis appears next month. We won’t hold our breath. As Myers pointed out in his op-ed, a “variety of speakers” were on campus last week. Myers singled out the conservative.