The liberal bias blanketing higher education nationwide is a circumstance cited and proved so many times that seeing examples of it is as common as seeing a bird in the sky.

But it’s a rare sight indeed to see a college president standing up to defend a diversity of ideas on campus — especially conservative ideas.

New Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera dropped by The Augusta Chronicle on Monday to introduce himself — his presidency has now passed the 100-day mark — and to discuss a new strategic plan the university is forming. It emphasizes driving innovation, improving access for lower-income students and expanding its research activity. Sponsorship of that research passed the $1 billion mark last summer.

While learning about all that was interesting, we pivoted a bit to ask Cabrera questions about his previous job. Until last summer, he served seven years as president of George Mason University.

You might remember that in 2016 the university’s Board of Visitors approved renaming its law school after the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who for years served as the high court’s conservative anchor. The naming sparked criticism because it was a condition of the school receiving $30 million in gifts — with $10 million of it coming from a foundation bearing the name of billionaire conservative supporter Charles Koch.

But the law school came under torrential fire earlier this year when it was announced that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had been appointed a George Mason visiting professor, to teach law classes spread over the next several years. ...

Kavanaugh was the political and cultural hot potato tossed into Cabrera’s lap. But instead of sharing the left’s outrage at Kavanaugh’s new teaching position, he defended the decision and still stands by it.

“My role was to protect the right of the law-school faculty to hire Kavanaugh when the arrows started to fall on us. My position is that it’s absolutely essential for universities to be places where all ideas fit in,” Cabrera told The Chronicle. “In the hyper-polarized world we live in — where not only do we watch the news that confirm our views, we live in neighborhoods where our neighbors confirm our views — if universities don’t remain spaces where all ideas get along, then we’re in trouble.”

Well-said. Too many college campuses are inhabited by leaders whose version of “diversity” involves the exclusion of thought and ideas with which they disagree.

If defending genuine diversity demonstrates Cabrera’s caliber of common sense, Georgia Tech has found itself an outstanding new leader.

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Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle

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