Registered Democratic professors outnumber Republican ones nearly 12 to 1 in history, economics, journalism, psychology and law programs at 40 leading U.S. universities, with Republicans clustered among retired professors and in some business schools and economics departments. Of the five departments analyzed, history was by far the most Democratic.
There are more than 33 Democratic history professors for every Republican at the schools studied. Economics was the least Democratic, with a 4.5 to 1 ratio. Some departments and programs have no Republicans at all. Stanford’s psychology program, for example, has 34 Democratic professors and zero Republicans.
The analysis, published in the online journal Econ Journal Watch, is by Mitchell Langbert, Anthony Quain and Daniel Klein, all libertarian economists hostile or dismissive toward both major political parties. They looked up voting registration of 7,243 professors and found 3,623 to be registered Democratic and 314 Republican.
It’s no shock to learn that employees of colleges and universities donate more heavily to Democrats than to Republicans. In the University of California system, 10 times as much money went to Democrats than to Republicans, according to reports to the Federal Election Commission through May 21. At Harvard, it was 7X Democratic, Northwestern 6X Democratic, and both Duke and the University of North Carolina system were 17X Democratic. Yale, apparently in the most desperate need of politically balanced staff, weighed in at 42X Democratic. Georgetown, a notable outlier among well-known universities, gave 50 percent more to Republicans that to Democrats. Source: Center for Responsive Politics.
In theory, conservatives and liberals should have an equal concern with the state of higher education in America today, because all involved in politics should want an informed citizenry. In practice, however, liberals tend to ignore higher-ed reform. The race/class/gender triumvirate that dominates the contemporary academy translates into African-Americans, unions, and feminists in the political realm–and these three groups are vital to the Democratic Party’s base. Among the Democrats, only the party’s (dwindling) band of strongly pro-Israel figures would have political cover to address the effects of the groupthink, “diversity” atmosphere on today’s college’s campuses.
This political reality leaves Republicans as the only party likely to seriously champion higher-ed reform. Conservatives, it would seem, have an additional incentive, since the overwhelmingly left-leaning nature of social sciences and humanities faculty has given rise to the not-implausible concern that conservative ideas get short shrift on campus.
While education issues played almost no role in the 2010 elections, the unprecedented Republican gains at the state level provided an opportunity for at least a few state legislatures to exercise their oversight roles and inquire into whether their state’s public colleges and universities were actually fulfilling their stated goals of training the next generation of citizens. Are the interests of all citizens best-served by the kind of racial preference admissions schemes on display in the Fisher case in Texas? Do trustees or administrators need to play a greater role in the personnel process, to provide some semblance of balance and to make sure important topics or fields aren’t simply excluded by the groupthink atmosphere within most college faculties? What sorts of protections will ensure that students who pay good money to get a college education actually receive value for their dollar, and that students’ rights are honored even by professors who, for ideological or pedagogical reasons, view many of their students with contempt?
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