Monday, November 15, 2010

Remember Hillsdale College?

I wrote about Hillsdale College back in July. To make a long story short, it's a school that prides itself in not accepting Federal Student Loans. They had an advertisement on 770 am (a conservative New York radio station) where they show off that they are a college that promotes "conservative financial values." I called them out on it because they didn't want to report the racial make-up of the school, so declined federal funding rather than coming clean. I actually found a pic of a bunch of Hillsdale cheerleaders--only one of whom was black. It has since been taken down.

In the many months since I posted, comments have popped up here and there. Many in support of the school, saying that it was a wonderful institution:

Since Hillsdale took it's bold stand, the government's demands have increased far beyond mere data reporting. As a public school student I cannot tell you how much vapid nonsense I am forced, by the requirement or "incentive" of the federal government, to endure on a daily basis. While Hillsdale College isn't perfect and apparently not your particular idea of what a college should be, the students and faculty who teach there are *free*. Free to teach and learn as they please, regardless of what anyone else (including someone like yourself) wants to impose on them. And that, my supposed libertarian friend, is what liberty is all about.
(Someone who actually knows something about Hillsdale College)
P.S.: Before the invective comes, a short biographical note: I applied and was accepted to Hillsdale a couple years ago, but personal circumstances at home prevented me from attending. Nonetheless I maintain friendship with the students whom I've met there, who are a fine set of folks. I wrote this to set the record straight for those unfortunate enough to stumble upon this page in a Google search, as I had.
Maybe you should visit the college and see what it is actually about, rather than making hasty judgments based on a website and an outdated picture of cheerleaders. In fact, when is that picture from? Hillsdale actually just brought back the cheerleading program this fall, so I'm pretty sure it's not recent. If Hillsdale is so racist, I'm wondering why Federick Douglass was a supporter....
I attended Hillsdale College, and graduated in '02. It is a great private school. Having studied at a variety of public and private schools and in England, Hillsdale remains the great educational experience of my life. Small class sizes, an outstanding classical curriculum, an impressive lecture series (I remember listening to Benazir Bhutto talk there, before her assasination), and incredibly engaged Professors (I remember many weekend parties at professors' houses, and parties to which profs were invited, where we started drinking wine and ended up debating Nietzsche or Cicero or Plato all night. Try that at your average public school). It is true that the student body is largely white, but the great diversity of thought encouraged in the classroom, and the emphasis on fundamental liberties would make anyone feel comfortable there. Hillsdale was one of the first schools in the country to ban in its charter discrimination. I actually did have an openly gay friend at the "Dale, by the way....not a common thing there, but definitely possible. He was a fairly popular student. Thanks for the forum....
Then today... vindication! Thanks for the comment, anon930!

Okay, maybe (and I'm not sure) I was wrong about the race thing. But Hillsdale has come out against Homosexuality on Campus. Once again, I think to myself, "Conservative financial values, my ass."

I wish that a school would open that would adhere to the federal guidelines for race and equality and non-discrimination, but decline the federal funding because of conservative financial values. Hillsdale is obviously not that school. As a libertarian, I resent that conservative financial values and bigotry have joined hands at this institute of higher education or as a party platform at all (i.e. some of the teabaggers). I'm sure the Hillsdale cheerleaders will defend this school again, as they did before. What do you guys have to say about your alma mater?
The picture of racial diversity, right? How many of these pics do I need to find to prove my point?


  1. This is a conservative college, a breeding ground for fundamentalists and the religious right, plain and simple. I wouldn't say conservative and religious fundamentalist = racist, but obviously you will tend to find more whites than minorities in this type of environment. I also don't want to label the students of Hillsdale as racists. I'm sure the majority of them are nice, approachable human beings however much I disagree with their religious and personal viewpoints. It is their school's policies that are the problem. But you know what, let them have their college. I don't think either of us would want to go there in the first place just as most of these students would not feel comfortable at UC-Berkeley, UMichigan-Ann Arbor, or any other school known for its liberal academics and student body.

  2. Let's suppose they are racists. What difference does it make? There must be hundreds if not thousands of colleges which worship at the altar of diversity.

    Is it so terrible if there are a few colleges which are predominantly white in the same way that there exist colleges which are predominantly black or predominantly Jewish?

    And if so, why?

  3. Why politicize things? Fine, drive away half your audience and even more people who don't care about politics one way or the other....

    Not everyone who doesn't vote with you is a Nazi. Get over it.

  4. Thomas Sowell, an economist and winner of the National Humanities Medal (who is black, incidentally) has a few choice comments on "racial diversity" in this article:

    Not only is there no hard evidence that mixing and matching black and white kids in school produces either educational or social benefits, there have been a number of studies of all-black schools whose educational performances equal or exceed the national average, even though most black schools fall far below the average.

    My own study of successful all-black schools was published 30 years ago in The Public Interest quarterly. Since then, there have been other studies of similar schools across the country, published by the Heritage Foundation in Washington and by scholars Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom, among others.

    There have also been all-Chinese-American schools that exceeded national norms. How have such schools managed to succeed and excel without the "compelling" need for a racial mixing of students?

    Look at it another way: Have black kids bussed into white schools had their test scores shoot up? No — not even after decades of bussing.

    Some black students — in fact, whole schools of them — have performed dramatically better than other black students and exceeded the norms in white schools.

    Yet this phenomenon, which goes back as far as 1899 and included an all-black school within walking distance of the Supreme Court that declared such things impossible back in 1954, is totally ignored.

    Are such things exceptional? Yes. But the mystical benefits of "diversity" are non-existent, however politically correct it is to proclaim such benefits.

    Hard evidence shows that students of all races can succeed or fail in schools that are racially mixed or racially unmixed.

    The latest variation on the theme of mixing and matching by race is that there needs to be a "critical mass" of black students in a given school or college, in order for them to perform up to standard.

    Not only is there no hard evidence for this dogma, such hard evidence as there is points in the opposite direction. Bright black kids have benefitted from being in classes with other bright kids, regardless of the other kids' color.

  5. Is Hillsdale a racist college? Certainly not, compared to colleges which have blacks-only dorms and racially segregated graduations ceremonies: Cornell, MIT, Stanford, Michigan State.

  6. @11:21 am
    What dorm at MIT is black only? Certainly you're not talking about New House, which, like most of campus, is majority, well, majority.

  7. I did not find evidence of black-only dorms at MIT, only racially separate social events such as the Ebony Ball. Source on that is the Black Graduate Students Association, which sponsors the event.

  8. Hillsdale College, with a grand total of 1,400 students in a city of 9,000? I'm sure the $28K in tuition helps pay their president need a $500,000 salary. It's expensive in a County with a population under 50,000.

    Once again, I think to myself, "Conservative financial values, my ass." Right, just ask them about the previous president:George Charles Roche III

  9. Yeah, I agree that if you're going to cry racism about this school you should do the same w/historically black colleges that are racist to whites. Racism isn't a one way street & isn't just a white thing.

    As a sorority member, I take issue w/the idea of segregated sororities & the attitude a few girls in a group trying to bring a black sorority onto my college campus had about the other sororities, including mine (which was brand new, had no support as it was, few members & filled w/people who violently opposed racism [including yours truly]). One had the gall to call my sorority racist in the school paper when I bet she couldn't have named 4 members or ever had a conversation w/anyone in my sorority.

    Had she done so, she'd have known that we considered everyone equal. Otherwise, I'd have left the chapter & made sure the racists got what was coming. That's a soapbox of mine so I never stay silent on that issue.

    Do you even know whether this college practices discrimination or denied admission to minorities who applied? You should find this out before branding someone a racist. That would make your argument much more credible. Me personally, I also despise tokenism & think there's a hearty amount of racism in the legal field, direct & indirect.

  10. I have yet to hear, on this post or elsewhere on the web, from any Hillsdale College student who felt discriminated against. Mostly I hear rave reviews of the academic standards and professors at Hillsdale. Hillsdale is, relatively speaking, a secular conservative college with libertarian political and economic leanings (Von Mises gave his papers to Hillsdale, William F. Buckley was on the board of directors, and Russell Kirk taught there) which gets lumped in with "fundamental religious colleges" (see above post) by liberals who have never even visited the school. If you were concerned about discrimination against gays, maybe you should be attacking many actual Christian schools across the country with more blatant biases. Hillsdale bans many things on their campus, by the way, but not for the reasons being stated here. According to the mission statement on the college website "The College values the merit of each unique individual, rather than succumbing to the dehumanizing, discriminatory trend of so called 'social justice' and 'multicultural diversity,' which judges individuals not as individuals, but as member of a group and which pits one group against other competing groups in divisive power struggles." Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  11. @Hardknocks: The reason Hillsdale has less minorities than U of M is that they don't actively recruit them. In fact, they don't even ask what race the applicant belongs to on admission papers, unlike U of M, which has had to deal with huge political uproars concerning their so-called "liberal" affirmative action policies. I have heard of many non-minorities complain that they didn't get in to U of M because the minority candidate was automatically chosen. I live in Ann Arbor, by the way (I love it, and love the University), and attended classes at Hillsdale College and U of M. Both are very great Michigan schools academically, with very different qualities (one should attend both, ideally), but I would side with Hillsdale's admission policies. There is absolutely no reason for U of M, at this point, to be considering race in their application process.

    1. Hillsdale does not even ask you for your race when applying. They don't care if you are black, white, etc. All they care about is your merits. That is the opposite of racism. There are black students, probably pretty comparable to the per capita population. Their financial aid programs are comparable to pell grants and they offer loans comparable to federal loans, only they are private sources. The first tenet of racism is the recognition that races exist. They don't at Hillsdale and they openly fought slavery, and sent more students to fight for the Union in the civil war than any other college besides the military colleges. They are a beacon of opportunity.

  12. edit: your politics

  13. I graduated from Hillsdale in 2008 and I am Latino. I never felt discriminated against in the least.

  14. The Greatest Victory of the 1955 Hillsdale College Football Team.” The team stood for civil rights by declining an invitation to play in the Tangerine Bowl, where Hillsdale’s four black players were unwelcome. Does this sounds racist to you? How abut you go to the school and stop using unfounded rhetoric to 'discriminate' against something (Hillsdale) just because its view differ from yours.

  15. The problem Hillsdale College has, in my opinion, is that it is currently trying to balance two very separate political ideologies: on the one hand, free-market economics and libertarianism and, on the other hand, a sort of social or religious conservativism. Since, unlike almost any other colleges in the country, Hillsdale relies solely on student tuition, donors from Alumni and supporters of the school (all private, non-government contributions), Hillsdale is forced to accomodate competing (in fact, widely divergent) political groups in order to survive (even though they are, in fact, flourishing). This is a nightmare scenario for the administration, which has been juggling these sorts of problematic issues for years (to its great credit, I suppose).

    I am a big supporter of Hillsdale College, by the way. It is an outstanding school academically, completely independent (probably the last truly private college in America), and is well on its way to becoming the intellectual school of choice for discerning conservatives (when you have Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Ludvig Von Mises and Benjamin Netanyahu as vocal supporters of the school, you know you are you are a conservative school of choice). However, Hillsdale is going to have some tough decisions to make about its near future.

    As a more socially (and gay-marriage-friendly) liberal graduate of the College, I would love to see the administration reverse their decision on homosexual groups on campus. As a Western, liberal-arts, classics school that is fundamentally about American and Greco-Roman civics and freedom (indeed Hillsdale has gone so far as to place these virtues in its charter, and has taken this issue all the way to the Supreme Court), Hillsdale has sometimes made the wrong decisions, for (I assume) monetary reasons.

    If you are at curious about Hillsdale College though, check out their great monthly publication, "Imprimis". World class intellectual conservatives and, alternatively, classical liberal speakers who support free thought and limited government. It is free to join.

  16. I am glad Hillsdale does what it is does best....being independent of government control. In an increasingly monolithic higher education culture, where identity politics and consensus pseudo-liberal (politically correct) thinking reigns supreme, Hillsdale is a refreshingly experimental, and (ironically) old-fashioned school. It will be interesting to see how long this dissenting college lasts against the anti-liberal teeth of its supposedly liberal opponents. It is a fine and very brave traditional school.

    I recently saw a video of Larry Arnn, the current president of the College, speak on C-Span about what the goals of Hillsdale College are. You can find it on youtube somewhere (I am too lazy to link it here). His answer was, more or less, "be like all great American colleges were, 100 years ago." Reactionary? Perhaps. But this, by assumption, means Hillsdale wants to be a bastion for the classical liberal arts, the type that has been studied for centuries upon centuries, unfettered by new-wave 1960's social sciences, identity politics, and big government control. Go Hillsdale College, I say.

    And: the people here who are claiming Hillsdale is a racist college certainly have a lot of studying to do before they graduate. A basic google search or visit to the college will correct any unfounded assumption about this matter.

    Finally, to the self-styled libertarian host of this site: Hillsdale is a great friend of yours. The political philosophy department is Straussian; the economics department is largely Austrian (Von Mises was a personal friend of the school who just happened to leave the majority of his papers there, and the University of Chicago tried, but failed, to purchase Hillsdale College), Hayek, and Adam Smith; and the classics department, well, purely classical in the Latin and Greek sense of the word. The religious studies department is almost strictly Christian, it is true. But this is a throwaway point for me personally, an economic libertarian and atheist. Who cares? Hillsdale was founded as a religious school, yes, as were many other great private schools in this country (almost all of them, in fact). Hillsdale is no longer considered a religiously-offiliated school, but welcomes religious students of all stripes and kinds, and allows them to practice.

    Hillsdale is diamond in the rough of American higher education today. One man's opinion of a small, fiercely independent, liberal arts American college.

  17. "Abolitionist", not anti-abolitionist.

  18. 1) If you don't agree with a school and it's ideals, don't bother with it. Nobody is forcing you to.

    2) Their admissions works for them. Did you ever stop to consider that the students they accept really are the best fit for their school and the top of their class? Race shouldn't matter. So why constantly point it out? It only works to disempower the point, as if kids of ethnicity need extra help to get where they're going. There are plenty who don't let the stigma of race blemish their ability to outshine white kids. And they go on to succeed. It's not the race, it's the kid.

    3) Why is it socially unacceptable for white people to have "White Culture Clubs" and the like? White people have culture too. In fact, they have quite a bit. And in less than a decade, white people will be the minority in the US. But people will still feel that choosing white students over black or asian or hispanic students is simply choosing the majority. If you were to truly fulfill the Dream, of all races mixing together equally and without problem, you would treat them equally too, not disadvantage them further by pointing out how different they are.

    4) Hillsdale is an excellent example of standing up for one's views. They don't believe that the government should interfere in the running of their school and how they choose to educate. There is nothing racist about the principle of the matter. If that's when they drew the line, so be it, but it's still the overarching idea of self government. Do your research. There are plenty of examples of Hillsdale being more than fair, and their students excel in that environment. They are open minded and critical thinkers, with a foundation in reasoning and morals - all of which I feel is lacking in your articles against this school.

  19. I live in reno. nevada. I recently went to a gala and met a few students and the Presidient of the College. the school ws actually the harbinger of the GOP. I came away looking at the audience and said o myself, if these people ran america, america wouild be in fine shape-i come from a liberal pro union bias but have ben working on a theory that liberals divorce in higher levels than onservatives- naturally this is anecotal but I am now putting in my ads to meet females no liberals and i brought a liberal from berkeley to the gala.conservatism according to the dictionary means staus quo and i wonder if liberalism now means anything goes. i think romney should give a speech there-

  20. Here's some constructive criticism for Hillsdale. My husband is extremely conservative and he listens to Limbaugh, Levin, etc. He toured the campus last year with our daughter, and I was surprised when he came home and told me the people he met at Hillsdale were "cultish", "creepy" and acted like "programmed robots". He also said it was very difficult to get anyone to deviate from their scripts. It's too bad because Hillsdale has an excellent academic reputation. I'm willing to give the university staff the benefit of the doubt and say that they're sincere. However, they need to know that their behavior can be off-putting to even their most ardent supporters.

  21. Hillsdale would like to have more diversity on campus. Unfortunately with the cost of attending, its conservative economic, social and political stance, and its location (small 98% white rural Midwest town), it is not very attractive to minorities.
    Clarence Thomas goes there occasionally and does a seminar and while not a noted Supreme Court scholar he is Black!
    I like in Hillsdale and know that when Obama was elected much of the student body wore black armbands in mourning. This is more because he is a "Kenyan Socialist" than that he is a "Black Kenyan Socialist".

  22. I attend Hillsdale College right now, and I believe you are sorely mistaken as to the identity and creed of the college. Hillsdale College was the first college in the country to prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, or religion in its written charter. It extended enrollment to blacks just after its 1844 founding, and had one of the highest casualty rates among its graduates in the Civil War because so many of its alumni felt compelled to fight for equality. The college has always acted firmly in defense of equality. When the government began asking for the right to decide whether the college was discriminating against minorities, it was frankly insulting considering what Hillsdale had always stood for and accomplished. Hillsdale stands on its history in defiance of the call to political correctness and preferential treatment.

    1. Not to forget, Hillsdale was part of the under ground rail road, that helped black slaves escape to Canada.

  23. Might want to check out Hillsdale's position on accepting Blacks at their school and when they did before blasting away. Might also want to look at volunteer rates for the Civil war of Hill

    By the way, I'm a TCU alum.



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