Thomas C. Reeves, National Association of Scholars Online Forum, Sep. 7
The following is a statement by Donna Gonzalez-Farquar, Chancellor of Puce University in Philadelphia, issued on 3 September 2004.
At the beginning of the third year of Puce University’s endeavor to offer a first-class education to outstanding students, we have found that only 2.5 percent of our freshmen class is made up of African-Americans. Our Chicano/Latino and Native American student population is also underrepresented as a reflection of the entire population of the United States. Rather than expressing shame at these numbers and calling for quotas, as some have recently advocated, we at Puce wish to express our pride. Pride in ourselves. The administration and faculty of this institution oppose all racism, sexism, and favoritism, in whatever guise they may appear. We believe all discrimination to be evil. Students who have been accepted into our institution have earned their way here. If the student body were all black or Asian or female, we would not care. In this university, our sole standard, for admission and graduation, is academic excellence.
In the recent SAT examinations, there was a 202 point difference between whites and African Americans, and a 133 point difference between whites and Hispanics. However regrettable, those scores are not our fault, and we believe, even as a public institution, that we have no obligation to lower our standards and admit unqualified people. The presence of the ill-prepared on any campus inevitably damages the quality of education. Reading requirements shrink, serious discussion is impeded, written examinations begin to disappear, grading standards decline, and courses filled with silliness and propaganda abound. We at Puce are not in the business of emulating most colleges and universities.
There are some 3,800 institutions of higher education in his country that welcome virtually any and all. At Puce, we proudly aim for the few who have proven themselves through individual merit, as revealed by national test scores and grade point averages earned in demanding courses. We are dedicated to offering a well-rounded education, as can be seen in our largely required curriculum, which emphasizes science, history, philosophy, languages, literature, and economics. The results of the graduation examinations given to our seniors prove the success of our commitment. And unlike Ivy League institutions, we proudly advertise the graduate school entrance scores made by our graduates.
We do acknowledge, however, that critics have made a compelling case against the ideological diversity of our faculty. It is sometimes said that Puce is like Brown but just a bit Redder. I therefore wish to announce that it is official campus policy to avoid all discrimination against conservatives in faculty hiring, tenure, and promotion. There will hereafter be no ideological tests. At the same time, we will not implement conservative quotas. Candidates for employment and tenure will be judged by the same objective standards of excellence that apply to Puce students. Since publication is vital to the life of the mind, important and original books and articles will be considered favorably. Classroom popularity will be carefully evaluated in light of a professor’s grading practices and reading assignments. We seek no special balance in the faculty of any kind beyond the highest degree of excellence possible.
Our speaker at commencement last year was Nancy Pelosi. This year it will be Ward Connerly. We encourage debate, thought, study, hard work, and the pursuit of truth. What we discourage at Puce is the idea that race, sex, ethnicity, and religion should be used to discriminate for or against anyone.
The Chancellor declared that Puce’s policies were thoroughly within the mainstream of American public opinion. She concluded by quoting from the 2004 Republican Platform:
because we are opposed to discrimination, we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides based on skin color, ethnicity, or gender, which perpetuate divisions and can lead people to question the accomplishments of successful minorities and women.
The statement achieved nationwide attention, sparked by the New York Times headline University Chancellor Would Bar Minorities. A major black activist condemned Gonzalez-Farquar for stifling the American dream for the disadvantaged. One Democratic Party leader called for a Congressional investigation into the reactionary policies of Puce University. An ACLU official proposed that all state and federal funding be withheld until Puce retracted its racist policies. The local accreditation board, which had recently sanctioned a school for kite repair, was said to be stirring.
The penalty for integrity appeared likely to be severe.
(Posted on September 10, 2004)