While many professors are liberals, some conservatives contend they are indoctrinating students into liberal ideology and that conservative students fear to speak freely within the ivory towers. Some also claim that professors are not always perpetrators of the crimes of political correctness, they are sometimes the victims.
One scenario in which professors are presented as victims is when they are required to write statements of their commitment to diversity when applying for tenure (and in some other cases). Another matter is the effort of certain schools to monitor professors for signs of bias in the classroom. This monitoring is not the sort proposed by Florida law makers which is to check professors for signs of bias against conservatives and in favor of liberal ideology. Instead, this monitoring checks professors for their sensitivity to diversity and their cultural awareness.
From a neutral standpoint, this puts professors between the Scylla of conservative fears of liberal dominance and the Charybdis of liberal fears of a lack of sensitivity to diversity. If a professor expresses and enforces sensitivity to diversity in their classes, they would appear to be indoctrinating students in liberal ideology and silencing conservatives. If they do not express and enforce sensitivity to diversity, they can run into trouble in their academic advancement and employment.
Those who think professors are indoctrinating students and silencing conservatives will tend to favor laws, executive orders and policies that purport to protect conservatives from such alleged oppression. They will also tend to oppose laws, executive orders, and policies that purport to protect women and minorities from oppression in the classroom. As such, one might suspect that they do not care about freedom of expression and oppression in general—they just care about their own group.
It could be objected that they do care about freedom and oppression in general, they just think that their orders, laws and policies protect freedom while those of the liberals do not. To the degree that such orders, laws and polices defend freedom in general, this claim is plausible—to the degree they do not, the claim is implausible.
Those who favor orders, laws and policies that aim at sensitivity to diversity will tend to see the conservative orders, laws and policies as attempts to take away the protection of oppressed groups while providing protection for conservative students and faculty who lack sensitivity to diversity. Roughly put, the conservatives will be seen as trying to roll back the clock on campuses to a time when straight, white men were able to express and act on their prejudices and biases with relative impunity and to the detriment of oppressed groups.
Opponents of these liberal orders, laws and policies can argue they are aimed at oppressing conservatives, silencing dissent, enforcing a leftist ideology, and suppressing free inquiry. The main argument would tend to involve the claims that the talk of sensitivity to diversity is simply cover for these efforts at ideological hegemony and that the liberals do not really care about freedom, except the freedom of their side to indoctrinate and to silence conservatives.
The defenders of the liberal orders, laws and policies can counter this by arguing that they do support freedom and oppose oppression in general and not just for their own side. To the degree that these things protect freedom and limit oppression in general, this claim would be plausible. To the degree that they do not, this claim would lack plausibility.
Some defenders of these things might acknowledge they do restrict the freedom of some. To be specific, they are aimed at preventing professors from creating hostile classrooms and protecting students in groups that have long been oppressed or marginalized. In contrast, they contend, the conservatives want to allow for classrooms that are hostile to these students and want to protect groups that have long been oppressing and marginalizing others. These claims do have some merit but should not simply be assumed to be true.
My own view is that the liberals and conservatives seem to be right about at least one thing: the other side often endeavors to protect their side and the motivations can stem more from love of an ideology than a love of freedom. A possible solution is to craft orders, laws and policies that do for real what the ideological versions purport to do, namely protect faculty and student freedom while also ensuring that classrooms are not hostile environments. While this might seem idealistic, it is something that most faculty already do reasonably well.