In the summer of 2020, following the Board announcement to consider changing the name of Washington and Lee University, the faculty voted by about 80% to 20% to change the name. The Law School vote was unanimous for a change. The faculty are certainly entitled to their point of view on this or any other issue, but their vote is an indication of the increasingly left-wing perspective of the W&L faculty.
Let us contrast this with the views of the students at the university. Recently, the website, MyPlan.com, did a ranking of over 500 colleges and universities based on political affiliation from most to least liberal. Washington and Lee students ranked 498 in this list. Perhaps more important, the website Unigo recently conducted a survey of W&L students and asked them to describe their fellow students. There were 85 student responses, and they overwhelmingly described the students as moderate to conservative in their political and cultural views. The same is true for a significant percentage of parents and alumni. It is clear that there is a gap in perspective between the faculty, on the one hand, and the students, parents, and alumni on the other on political and cultural issues.
Washington and Lee had adopted the University of Chicago Principles of Free Speech and Expression, and President Dudley has stated that these principles represent a “gold standard.” However, there can be no real freedom of speech and expression unless more than one point of view is allowed to exist. Continue reading