There was an interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal. It began, “It’s hard to think of an ideal propounded with more fervor on our nations’ campuses than that of diversity. So it is with more than passing interest that we noticed a new study confirming that when it comes to the political allegiances of college faculties, there is no such animal.”

The editorial went on to discuss a study of faculty members across the country that found conservative instructors to be almost nonexistent. “There is, as the study notes, a wider and freer cross-section of opinion in the aisles of any grocery store or city bus than there is now at our colleges and universities.”

The editorial was written in August 2002.

So what has changed?

For one thing, Diversity (with a capital D) has now been thoroughly incorporated into the bureaucratic structure. In plain language, this means the process has become more important than any goal achieved by an outcome. Universities would be hard pressed to identify the goal of Diversity (with a capital D). There are process goals prominently displayed, but simply ask a school how they know if Diversity (with a capital D) is achieved. You will find it is unachievable. This, of course, means there are no real goals, at least ones anyone would wish to discuss outside of polite company.

Since 2002, true diversity at many schools has become almost a joke because the universities seem locked into an ideological system based on characteristics that no longer define an external reality. Diversity (with a capital D) includes women, for example, but not white males. This is true even though both my dean and associate dean are women. The head of my MBA program is a woman; all the department heads except one are women. My doctor is a woman, the governor of my state is a woman, and I came within a centimeter of having a woman as my national president.

On the other hand, being a conservative in a liberal environment has not hindered my non-existent career. Perhaps, if I actually had a career, it may have been a problem. Minority voices generally are not shouted down. That is exactly why exceptions are in the news. They are exceptions.

Typically, minority voices are simply ignored.

We have to be careful here not to get down into the mudhole of definitions. Minority voices defined by Diversity are heard and are acted upon. Minority voices defined by diversity (with a small d) are typically ignored. That bias is not necessarily overt. It is done almost on a subconscious level.

Nontraditional, nonliberal ideas and conversations simply don’t exist in the schemata of those who inhabit comfortable liberal confines. They don’t hear you because they discriminate, they don’t hear you because you do not exist.

So free speech does exist on campus, within certain parameters of civilized behavior, but it is actively encouraged only within the limits of acceptable ideological thought.

Dennis Clayson is a marketing professor at the University of Northern Iowa. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not reflect those of the University of Northern Iowa.