Too many Democratic shills are working on college campuses
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Everyone knows higher education is inundated with liberalism. But according to a new study, the problem may be more extreme than anyone realized.

The study, published in Econ Journal Watch, examined the ratio of Democrat tenure-track professors to Republican tenure-track professors at 40 elite private and public colleges. Of more than 7,000 professors included in the study, only 314 were registered Republicans. The most elite among the 40 schools, Ivy League institutions, were comparatively more liberal, but all the institutions analyzed in the study revealed the same overarching theme: Democrats dominate academia.

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The most liberal of the bunch is Brown University, the prestigious Ivy League college located in deep-blue Providence, Rhode Island. According to the available records, Brown Democratic Party professors outnumber Republican professors by a ratio of 60-1. At Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and Boston University, the ratio was at least 30-1.

 

The numbers at top public institutions were only moderately better. According to the researchers, the University of Maryland, University of California-Davis, and the University of North Carolina were the public schools with the least balance among their professors. At all three, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by at least 23-1.

Some might speculate that because colleges have a wide array of academic areas of interest, conservative students might have a more balanced experience studying certain specialties. Although the study didn’t address the arts or subspecialties, I’m sure few would be surprised if they learned professors teaching art courses or sociology lean heavily to the left on the political spectrum.

However, according to the Econ Journal Watch report, Democrats dominated all the academic areas researched. Only “economics” yielded a relatively close ratio, and even then, Democrats topped Republicans by a ratio of 4.5-1. Interestingly, history, which some might think would be more likely to attract Republicans, had the worst ratio of the five areas, at 33.5-1.

Although bias against Republicans in hiring committees, at least at these top 40 institutions, is evident from the numbers above, it’s fair to wonder whether there’s anything wrong with having significantly more Democrats teaching America’s college students.

Favoring one ideological view over the other creates a one-sided, inherently biased academic experienced, and it certainly doesn’t fit with all of these colleges’ alleged commitment to “diversity.” But what a private college or university wants to teach is its own business. No one must attend Brown, Columbia, or Princeton, all of which ranked among the schools with the highest ratio of Democratic Party professors, but taxpayer-funded colleges are a different story entirely.

Public colleges exist to advance a state’s economy, culture, and quality of life. In short, public higher education is meant to benefit the whole of society—at least in theory—which is why every taxpayer contributes something to keep most public colleges operating. It’s the same reason so many anti-religious activists insist public colleges shouldn’t promote certain religious views over others and all religions should have a place on a public college’s campus. But how does this commitment to public service and objectivity fit with an overwhelming bias toward the Democratic Party? Why should Republican or any non-Democratic taxpayer be required to pay for a college to employ a staff that essentially promotes one view, or is at least more likely to do so?

Even more troubling is the role colleges play in elections. Student activism on college campuses, including public college campuses, is a key part of many politicians’ get-out-the-vote efforts, and many professors often openly advocate for one candidate (usually Democrats) over his or her more conservative opponents. If Democratic professors make up the majority of a public college’s teaching staff and those professors openly advocate for Democratic candidates to their students, then how is a public college different, in practice, from the Democratic Party itself? 

No one should advocate for silencing professors; academic freedom is an essential part of a free society. But conservatives, third party supporters, and independents shouldn’t be required to pay liberals to promote views they vehemently disagree with without some sort of balance. Some liberals might try to argue that just because a campus is flooded with Democrats doesn’t mean they aren’t also teaching conservative ideas, too, but such a position is laughable. Not only have I experienced the bias firsthand on multiple public college campuses, there have been countless examples of extreme bias against conservative student groups, including a notable recent example of students at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan getting arrested for handing out copies of the Constitution without a “permit” and without doing so in the college’s free-speech zone.

Public colleges should give to students an unbiased educational experience, which seems virtually impossible to do when a campus has 20 or more Democratic professors for every one Republican. It’s time to extend the rallying cries of “equality” and “fairness” to all aspects of higher education, not just the areas liberals agree with.

Justin Haskins (jhaskins@heartland.org) is executive editor of The Heartland Institute and editor-in-chief of the New Revere Daily Press.


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