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Right Intention: Lefty Academics

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Lefty Academics

This doesn't surprise me:

College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.

By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.


This study was based on 1999 data. If another survey was taken today, the results would almost certainly be less pronounced. Not because the professor's beliefs are different. If anything, they are probably more left today than in 1999. It's because a lack of intellectual diversity on college campuses is becoming an issue, and faculties are sensitive to that. Fewer will want to identify themselves as liberal so as to escape criticism.

When asked about the findings, Jonathan Knight, director of academic freedom and tenure for the American Association of University Professors, said, "The question is how this translates into what happens within the academic community on such issues as curriculum, admission of students, evaluation of students, evaluation of faculty for salary and promotion." Knight said he isn't aware of "any good evidence" that personal views are having an impact on campus policies.

"It's hard to see that these liberal views cut very deeply into the education of students. In fact, a number of studies show the core values that students bring into the university are not very much altered by being in college."


Where have we heard this argument before, boys and girls? Why, it's the standard response given by journalists defending liberal media! Journalists want you to believe that, even though they are statistically far to the left of the US as a whole politically, that their thoughts, opinions and attitudes are never ever reflected in their news presentation. Similarly, liberal academics want you to believe that even though they are Trotskyites at heart, these opinions never, ever make it into the classroom. Few believe this journalist claim- hence the popularity of Fox news-, and few will believe academics.

How to change the academic environment? Why not use a tried and true lefty tactic against them and sue? Let's have an affirmative action program for non-socialist professors on campus. I'm not sure what all the legal hurdles are, but over time I'm confident they can be overcome. The lack of intellectual diversity is clear discrimination, and documenting it can't be too hard. Also, I can't imagine it would be that difficult to find an activist judge willing to create a law out of thin air on this issue. Why not? It might be the only way to end this nonsense.

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