Some interesting maneuvering going on in the academic sphere. To start, Brian Leiter informs us that Chicago Law Professor Adrien Vermeule is jumping ship to Harvard. But more interestingly, he says that of Harvard's latest five pick-ups (including Vermeule), three are generally considered to be "conservatives."
Now, Leiter thinks that the liberal academy is a "myth" to begin with (I personally think there is some truth to it, see my thoughts here, here, and here for a few examples). Regardless of whether that's true or not, one wonders about the impact of Harvard's hiring choices. Is it completely innocent? Are they trying to remedy unequal political representation on their faculty? Are bowing to outside pressure and trying to appear to remedy said inequality (without actually thinking it exists and/or matters)? Regardless of intention, how will Harvard's campus environment be affected by an influx of conservative scholars?
On a slightly related note, one of the big reasons I've been willing to concede there is a liberal slant in academia is that their seem to be a lot of studies demonstrating it to be true. (Big reason number two is that I've definitely observed it on my own campus). But now I read this Lior Strahilevitz post on the latest of those studies, and I'm not so sure. Apparently, a much trumpeted David Horowitz study proclaimed, among other things, that at the University of Chicago, Democrats outnumber Republicans 55 to 8, out of 100 full-time professors surveyed. The problem, as Professor Strahilevitz notes, is that Chicago only has 33 full-time professors, making the data...suspect...at best. Anybody know what's going on here?