Dog Bites Man Story–Academics Favor Obama

To the surprise of few, donations from the Harvard College faculty in the presidential campaign have gone to Barack Obama over John McCain by a ratio of 20 to 1. A report in the Harvard Crimson said, “The words ‘liberal’ and ‘faculty’ seem to have been conjoined at the College for generations.”

Nationally, academia has sent eight times as much money to Obama as to McCain, $12.2 million to $1.5 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Center’s statistics, which include professors, other educators and administrators, list Harvard donations at 13 to 1 for Obama, Northwestern at 9 to 1, the University of Pennsylvania at 6 to 1, Columbia 8 to 1, and Stanford and the University of Chicago at about 18 to 1.

As in previous years, lopsided donations give rise to familiar complaints about politically lopsided faculties. At Harvard, government professor Harvey Mansfield, estimated that within his 50-person government department there are only three or four conservative professors. “For a department that wants to teach politics, that’s outrageous,” Mansfield said. “The weaknesses in the argument of liberalism are not addressed or not even known.” Ruth Wisse, Harvard professor of Yiddish and comparative literature and a McCain supporter, said, “It is not healthy when one side assumes the other is barbaric and write it off and never listens at all,” she said. “It just assumes that everybody is made in its own image and political correctness is all on one side.” Wisse and Mansfield said that consistently raise the issue of political diversity in faculty and department meetings, so far with no resulting change.

John Leo

John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

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