Meditating on how the value of free speech eroded on college campuses, She writes,
For the most part, professors are people who have done well in school and never left it, staying to take on more power and prestige within that setting. Therefore I don’t think they are selected for courage, or for even necessarily for thinking for themselves (with exceptions, of course). For the most part, they have been very good at taking in information and then giving it back again, perhaps with a small advancement on current knowledge in a very circumscribed field. So there may be more people in academia who are selected for conformity, and they are less likely to buck the prevailing winds.
If you read my series on academic corruption, I cited three factors: government money; emasculated culture; and affirmative action.
Government money provided support for mediocrity and conformity.
Emasculated culture worked this way. Once upon a time, elite colleges were mostly male, with a culture of open competition. But open competition by definition should not have excluded women, so that colleges became more open to women, particularly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But women are not naturally inclined to favor open competition, and as they became a larger and larger force on campus, open competition is no longer supported.
Affirmative action was supposed to improve outcomes for blacks while maintaining standards. It did neither.
I should add the element that Shelby Steele calls “white guilt.” No college administrator wants to be the one who presides over a revolt by a “marginalized” group. If you have to cave in on values that are fundamental to an institution of higher learning, then so be it.