During last week’s testimony before Congress by three Ivy League presidents, they struggled to say that calling for the genocide of Jews on college campuses would violate school policies. This sparked a conversation about the broad shift that has taken place at American universities, with many now focusing on political agendas instead of academic merit. CNN’s Fareed Zakaria blasted these “woke” universities during his Sunday segment on “Fareed Zakaria GPS”, saying that they needed to get back to their roots of excellence in research and learning.
Zakaria pointed out the statistics reflecting America’s diminishing view of higher education, attributing it to the shift in focus from excellence to diversity and inclusion. “American universities have been neglecting a call focused on excellence in order to pursue a variety of agendas, many of them clustered around diversity and inclusion,” he said, adding that this has turned universities into “places of political and social engineering, not academic merit.”
America’s top universities should abandon their long misadventure into politics, retrain their gaze on their core strengths and rebuild their reputations as centers of research and learning.
My take: pic.twitter.com/smjkQ9fngE
— Fareed Zakaria (@FareedZakaria) December 10, 2023
He criticized universities for discriminating against white people and mocking the idea of “majoring in diversity, equity, and inclusion”, stating that it is not a legitimate academic field. Zakaria also highlighted the lack of political diversity on college campuses, saying it hinders their ability to critically analyze issues. “Out of this culture of diversity has grown the collection of ideas and practices that we have now all heard of, safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions,” he said.
Zakaria also discussed how the George Floyd protests last year prompted many universities to issue statements in support, effectively aligning themselves with the movement. He noted that while few universities took such steps after 9/11 or during the Iraq war, they were quick to do so during the protests. This, he said, only further solidifies the perception of top colleges as partisan institutions.
He urged universities to abandon their “long misadventure into politics” and refocus on their core strengths of research and learning. “They should abandon this long misadventure into politics, retrain their gaze on their core strengths, and rebuild their reputations as centers of research and learning,” he said.
Zakaria concluded his segment by cautioning that as long as universities continue to prioritize political agendas over academic excellence, they will continue to face criticism and backlash. He emphasized the need for universities to return to their original mission of providing quality education and fostering critical thinking, rather than getting caught up in divisive political issues.