For several decades, the number of students attending college in the United States has been growing rapidly: Over the last 20 years or so, enrollments have risen by about 50 percent, and over the last 50 years they have more than quadrupled. During this time, especially the last two decades, the polarization of our politics has markedly intensified.
This does not prove that American higher education causes political polarization, or even noticeably increases it. But it is suggestive. Discerning readers are liable to find themselves wondering about that correlation while tackling a new book by economist and political scientist Tim Groseclose. His title, “Cheating: An Insider’s Report on the Use of Race in Admissions at UCLA,” captures his topic. But his research and own experiences suggest that the higher education establishment’s determined promotion of progressive politics may be a factor fueling political polarization.
A tenured professor at UCLA when he wrote the book (he has since accepted an offer to join the faculty of George Mason University) Groseclose aims “to expose the disregard for truth” that in his view “is slowly becoming a habit among university professors and administrators.”
In the pursuit of what they perceive to be racial justice, Groseclose argues, university administrators and professors cultivate duplicity and thwart the free exchange of ideas.