Last week on my blog, in How’s Bowdoin Doin?, I mentioned, briefly, the impressive National Association of Scholars report on what’s taught, or not, at Bowdoin College and a revealing reply by Bowdoin president Barry Mills that unwittingly confirmed one of that report’s serious charges. Now comes a very impressive response to the report by Bowdoin Professor of Government Jean Yarbrough.

Prof. Yarbrough is both one of the most impressive members of the Bowdoin faculty and one of its few conservatives (no doubt a mere coincidence). You should read her entire response, which is quite good, since here I will mention only one of her points that I found both striking and suggestive — on, you will not be surprised to learn, “diversity.”

After agreeing that the NAS report is “spot on” in its pointing to “the steady retreat from the core texts of Western civilization and their replacement with a much more ideological and multicultural curriculum,” Prof. Yarbrough writes that the report also commendably

calls attention to the shallowness of the College’s understanding of diversity, which is literally no more than skin deep. As a recent chair of the government department, I have seen the lengths to which the administration is willing to go to identify and recruit such candidates. Every faculty search must now include a member of the Diversity Committee, whose main purpose is to ensure that the members of the department give every consideration to diversity hires. These committee members, being drawn from other disciplines, usually have no knowledge of the field, though that does not deter them from weighing in during the selection process, sometimes quite vociferously. Where such diversity is concerned, the administration actively pushes departments to cast the net more widely and to be mindful of even unintentional bias. What’s more, it has redefined positions to increase the likelihood of attracting diversity candidates, which in part explains the shift in the curriculum mentioned above.

There is certainly nothing unique to Bowdoin about this process, and in fact the very ubiquity of “diversity” commissars overseeing the hiring process is one of the more disturbing features of the “inclusion” party line that is now rigorously enforced throughout higher education.

And to enforce the party line, the “diversity” apparatchiks and commissars must be as vigilant against deviationists in the ranks as the political officers (zampolits) of the Soviet Red Army whom they so eerily resemble. Wikipedia, quoting John Erickson, The Soviet High Command:

The loyalty of the political, ethnic, and national varieties of men composing the Red Army was enforced by political commissars attached at the brigade and regiment levels, and to spy on subordinate commanders, for political incorrectness.

As described by Bukharin and Preobrazhensky in The ABC of Communism, the political commissar  assigned to military units “is a plenipotentiary of the party as a whole. Thence derives … his right to supervise the military staff. He is a political leader who acts as overseer to watch the technical experts performing their duties.”

At least there are no gulags here, although in the eyes of the party faithful in elite institutions the second, third, and fourth tier colleges to which the politically incorrect should be sentenced to serve do amount to a sort of Siberia.