The role of underdog ought to sit uneasily on the academic Left. Its roaring success in transforming curricula, college admissions and hiring practices, and the language of the humanities testifies to its dominance in such organizations as the Modern Language Association, the American Historical Association, and the American Association of University Professors, to its favored status with the giants of educational philanthropy, and to its strength on campuses nationwide.

Yet however incongruous, underdog is the part the Left is determined to play to the academic traditionalists’ topdog in the growing public debate over multiculturalism, affirmative action, and “political correctness.” A conference this April at Hunter College in New York City served as a private dress rehearsal for the farce we can expect to see enacted in public forums over the coming months. Humorously entitled “Reconstructing Higher Education:...

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