Jonathan Chait

Jonathan Chait is a senior editor at The New Republic and former assistant editor at The American Prospect. Has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Reason, and other publications.

Recent Articles

Backfire on Campus

In their efforts to enforce multiculturalism, university administrators have unwittingly created new breeding grounds for conservative rebellion.

I n 1964 the Free Speech Movement was born on the Berkeley campus of the University of California after administrators declared the campus off-limits to most political organizing. The movement was a catalyst for the New Left, which in its early years drew much of its energy from protests against administrative infringements on student freedom. Hardly anyone would have expected history to repeat itself. But in the late 1980s, the pattern was reenacted on campuses across the country in an altogether unexpected way. University administrators introduced a swath of new rules, including restrictions on speech and political organization, that were aimed at suppressing racism and sexism. They ended up energizing a new generation of conservatives. The University of Michigan, where I graduated in 1994, provides a disturbing case study in the great progressive backfire of the past decade. What went wrong at Michigan should have more than local interest. The issue that so vexed liberals at...