Conformity is the Enemy: From Groupthink to Diversity

In the lead up to two Supreme Court decisions that many expect will reduce a university’s ability to take race into account in admissions, President Michael S. Roth writes in The Huffington Post about the dangers of homogeneity and conformity. “We have learned that when conformity is rationalized it becomes a powerful enemy of democracy. It is also a powerful enemy of learning. Inquiry, especially at the highest levels, depends on challenges to convention, as American writers on education have known from Jefferson to Emerson, from du Bois to Addams, from Dewey to Ravitch. Since the late 1960s many universities steered away from cultivated homogeneity and toward creating campus communities in which people can learn from their differences while still finding their commonalities. This means working in teams with folks from different backgrounds while developing shared loyalty to the school’s mission.”