To the Editor:

Given the pervasive divisiveness that defines our current political environment, let me start with some common ground.

The author of a recent column, entitled “Closing the Academic Gender Gap,” argues that Georgetown’s government department has a diversity problem.

I agree.

The author also argues that Georgetown should combat this lack of diversity by filling upcoming vacancies in the department with highly qualified professors that can offer varied insights and experiences. She claims doing so is the best way to equip students to address the nation’s complex political challenges once they leave the Hilltop.

We are in agreement on these points as well.

The crux of the author’s argument is that the most effective way to bring this diversity of insight and experience to the department is simply to hire more female professors.

With this assertion, I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree.

The “troubling homogeneity” of the department — especially in its American government subsection — has less to do with the fact that the “old, white men” who teach its courses all look the same way and more to do with the fact that they largely all subscribe to the same glaringly liberal political ideology.

If our generation is going to be the one to “bridge the gap between the problems we currently face and achievable solutions,” as the author suggests, we will — to state the utterly obvious — have to become the generation of compromise.

That is not to say we will have to become the generation of moderates. We should maintain those political beliefs about which we are most passionate. However, we cannot become so entrenched in them that we do not take the time to understand those of the opposing side.

What better way is there to ensure that Georgetown students understand the rationale behind political opinions that conflict with their own than by guaranteeing their exposure to ideological diversity in the classroom? When government majors spend four years being taught and challenged by the best and brightest political minds from both the political left and the political right, those who enter public service will be far more prepared to create the compromises that become achievable solutions.

Hiring female professors for the sake of their gender will not bring the government department closer to achieving this goal.

The author’s claim that electing more women to Congress will inherently make it more efficient is similarly false, especially if those women take after Elizabeth Warren, who ranks No. 88 out of 98 senators in The Bipartisan Index — a nonpartisan tool launched by the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Lugar Center that measures the degree to which our elected representatives work across party lines. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Shelley Capito (R-W.Va.), who rank No. 1 and No. 9 in The Bipartisan Index, respectively, may have been more apt examples.

I believe that diversity matters, and as a Georgetown graduate with a government degree, I also believe that the department’s most pressing underrepresentation is the conservative voice. Georgetown should hire more professors, both male and female, who bring this perspective to the classroom. Hoyas will be better public servants for it.

Molly O’Connell (COL ’17)

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