Libertarians Receive Pat on the Back from Coleman Administration

On January 27th, members of the Young Americans for Liberty sent a letter to the Coleman administration which called the diversity program at the university “skin deep,” and asked the administration to clarify whether it was committed to intellectual diversity, or only “diversity…within a set of narrow parameters.” The email cited the disparity between liberal and libertarian/conservative representation on campus, and requested that the administration reaffirm it’s commitment to intellectual diversity by offering economics courses that fairly represent free market views, “history courses taught from perspectives other than the postmodern…” and courses “on intellectual diversity which include liberal, conservative and libertarian cultural and political ideas.” Anything else, it claimed, would be “dishonest.”

The email concluded by reminding the administration that, “as a public institution,” it has an “obligation to represent all schools of political and cultural thought…” not just the ones it sanctions, and then took on a rather sardonic tone in it’s signature and postscript: “Humbly Submitted” and “Go Blue,” respectively.

Provost Pollack responded to YAL  a week later in a brief email thanking them for expressing their concerns.

“From your message, it is clear that you are excellent examples of the outcomes we expect in our rich teaching and learning environment”

While the Black Student Union recently received $300,000 to renovate the Trotter Multicultural Center after it threatened “physical action” if racial diversity on campus didn’t increase within seven days, the leisurely attitude the university took in responding to YAL’s letter, and the patronizing, fill in the blank style of Provost Pollack’s email,  seem to make it clear that the administration does not take the concerns of YAL seriously enough to merit anything other than a pat on the back. YAL, granted, did not make any threats.

This is not the first time YAL has challenged the administration over the issue of intellectual diversity. In December 2013, the group filed an ongoing lawsuit against the university after it was denied funding on the grounds that it held a “political event,” despite the university having given money to left-leaning political groups, such as the NAACP, BAMN, and Immigrant Rights Advocates.

YAL has not yet issued a public response.


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About Derek Magill

Derek Magill was a contributor to the Michigan Review.