- The Washington Times
Thursday, May 4, 2017

Political clashes on American campuses have dominated headlines in recent months, fueled by violent student revolts and blatant rejection of conservative speakers at several major schools. When things get this emotionally charged, straightforward numbers can sometimes provide a startling reality check. A new survey of Yale University students reveals that 88 percent said their professors were liberal while 6 percent felt their instructors were politically moderate. Only 1 percent said the professors were conservative. Seven of 10 have fallen victim to “political bias in the classroom,” while a third said their professors expressed their personal social and political beliefs that were “completely unrelated” to the subject of the course.

The numbers are a cautionary tale for campuses where left-leaning academics flourish. Young scholars may not like a one-sided community.


The survey also revealed that 55 percent of the Yale students often feel intimidated to share beliefs in class that differ from their peers; a quarter were reluctant to write a paper on their own ideas, fearful of getting a poor grade. A hefty 84 percent said the university should do its best to promote both intellectual diversity and free speech by allowing a “wide range of people” to speak on campus. Only 5 percent felt the university should “forbid” alternative voices, while 72 percent oppose the idea of a “speech code” on campus. Another 38 percent disapproved of the job Yale did to promote intellectual diversity while a third said the campus fell short in promoting free speech. A quarter said professors should be “doing more” to encourage open debate and reduce political bias in the classroom.

The survey of 872 Yale students was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates for a nonprofit, The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale, founded seven years ago by undergraduates themselves. The late William F. Buckley, Jr. — aka “the father of conservatism,” commentator and founder of National Review — graduated from Yale in 1950.

“The mission of the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program is to promote intellectual diversity at Yale University. We aim to expand political discourse on campus and to expose students to often-unvoiced views. We believe that ideas have consequences and that genuine intellectual diversity is essential for advancing critical inquiry and avoiding ideological complacency,” says the group, which operates a speaker’s program and offers an annual fellowship. Find the organization at BuckleyProgram.com.

NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT

“America First is fully compatible with American leadership in the world.”

— A senior White House official, adding a new dimension to President Trump’s classic campaign promise that the nation’s interests will always shape his leadership and policymaking. This deft statement underscores the idea that “America First” is in harmony with the nation’s global duties — particularly Mr. Trump’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia to forge a few strategic alliances.

The philosophy is almost as good as Ronald Reagan’s classic motto “peace through strength” — but not quite.

PANGA BOATS AND ULTRALIGHTS

A 70-page U.S. Government Accountability Office report released Thursday notes that transnational criminal organizations have recalibrated their techniques to smuggle “drugs and humans” across the U.S. borders now that the security is increasing on typical overland routes. The criminal element is getting inventive, the federal agency noted, citing examples of multiple subterranean, aerial and maritime-based efforts.

“The analysis of Department of Homeland Security data showed that there were 67 discovered cross-border tunnels, 534 detected ultralight aircraft incursions, and 309 detected drug-smuggling incidents involving panga boats (a fishing vessel) and recreational vessels along U.S. mainland borders from fiscal years 2011 through 2016,” the report notes.

The homeland security folks have promising projects up and running however. They include the Robots for Tunnel Investigation and Dark Vessel Detection programs, which get underway this year, and the Tunnel Detection Project, now active.

“DHS has taken steps to assess and address the risk posed by these smuggling methods, but opportunities exist to ensure these efforts are effective and that managers and stakeholders have information needed to make decisions,” the GAO advises. Find this report and a whole lot more at GAO.gov.

FORBES RATES THE BEST BOURBONS

News for those who like horse racing, mint juleps and other seasonal fare from none other than Forbes. The news organization offers a list of the best bourbons and “awesome” ryes for Kentucky Derby season, noting that Americans purchased $3.1 billion worth of bourbon and Kentucky whiskey in 2016.

The bourbons: Four Roses Yellow, Henry McKenna Single Barrel, Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon, Michter’s US1 American Whiskey, George T. Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Old Weller Antique Original 107, Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Barrel Proof Bourbon, Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Old Grand-Dad 100-Proof, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon 12 Year, Buffalo Trace.

And the ryes: High West Yippee Ki-Yay, Rittenhouse Rye, WhistlePig Old World Cask Finish Rye 12 Year, Sazerac 18 Year Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 Year.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: “Froheim, The House of Joy,” built in 1920 on two acres in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. “Cotswold Revival” style, stones exterior, cedar shake roof, three stories; Seven bedrooms, six baths, 9,100 square feet. Includes in-law apartment, multiple gathering rooms, chef’s kitchen, two sunrooms, seven fireplaces, plus original woodworking, floors, arched windows and leaded glass. Two-car detached garage, four-stall horse barn, multiple bluestone walkways and patios. Priced at $1.3 million through Froheim.net.

POLL DU JOUR

94 percent of small business owners are optimistic about their own company outlook in the next six months.

89 percent are optimistic about the local economy; 88 percent feel good about the U.S. economy.

68 percent say a reduction in corporate tax rates will have a positive effect on their business.

42 percent expect a “positive impact” from Trump administration policy.

32 print say it’s too early to predict the outcome; 17 percent say the actions will have no impact, 9 percent a negative impact.

Source: A PNC survey of 1,843 small and mid-sized business owners conducted Feb. 9-March 31 and released Thursday.

• Murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com


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