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Thread: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2005Mar28.html
    College Faculties A Most Liberal Lot, Study Finds
    By Howard Kurtz
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, March 29, 2005; Page C01




    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.

    "What's most striking is how few conservatives there are in any field," said Robert Lichter, a professor at George Mason University and a co-author of the study. "There was no field we studied in which there were more conservatives than liberals or more Republicans than Democrats. It's a very homogenous environment, not just in the places you'd expect to be dominated by liberals."

    Religious services take a back seat for many faculty members, with 51 percent saying they rarely or never attend church or synagogue and 31 percent calling themselves regular churchgoers. On the gender front, 72 percent of the full-time faculty are male and 28 percent female.

    The findings, by Lichter and fellow political science professors Stanley Rothman of Smith College and Neil Nevitte of the University of Toronto, are based on a survey of 1,643 full-time faculty at 183 four-year schools. The researchers relied on 1999 data from the North American Academic Study Survey, the most recent comprehensive data available.

    The study appears in the March issue of the Forum, an online political science journal. It was funded by the Randolph Foundation, a right-leaning group that has given grants to such conservative organizations as the Independent Women's Forum and Americans for Tax Reform.

    Rothman sees the findings as evidence of "possible discrimination" against conservatives in hiring and promotion. Even after factoring in levels of achievement, as measured by published work and organization memberships, "the most likely conclusion" is that "being conservative counts against you," he said. "It doesn't surprise me, because I've observed it happening." The study, however, describes this finding as "preliminary."

    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."

    Rothman, Lichter and Nevitte find a leftward shift on campus over the past two decades. In the last major survey of college faculty, by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1984, 39 percent identified themselves as liberal.

    In contrast with the finding that nearly three-quarters of college faculty are liberal, a Harris Poll of the general public last year found that 33 percent describe themselves as conservative and 18 percent as liberal.

    The liberal label that a majority of the faculty members attached to themselves is reflected on a variety of issues. The professors and instructors surveyed are, strongly or somewhat, in favor of abortion rights (84 percent); believe homosexuality is acceptable (67 percent); and want more environmental protection "even if it raises prices or costs jobs" (88 percent). What's more, the study found, 65 percent want the government to ensure full employment, a stance to the left of the Democratic Party.

    Recent campus controversies have reinforced the left-wing faculty image. The University of Colorado is reviewing its tenure system after one professor, Ward Churchill, created an uproar by likening World Trade Center victims to Nazis. Harvard's faculty of arts and sciences voted no confidence in the university's president, Lawrence Summers, after he privately wondered whether women had the same natural ability as men in science and math.

    The study did not attempt to examine whether the political views of faculty members affect the content of their courses.

    The researchers say that liberals, men and non-regular churchgoers are more likely to be teaching at top schools, while conservatives, women and more religious faculty are more likely to be relegated to lower-tier colleges and universities.

    Top-tier schools, roughly a third of the total, are defined as highly ranked liberal arts colleges and research universities that grant PhDs.

    The most liberal faculties are those devoted to the humanities (81 percent) and social sciences (75 percent), according to the study. But liberals outnumbered conservatives even among engineering faculty (51 percent to 19 percent) and business faculty (49 percent to 39 percent).

    The most left-leaning departments are English literature, philosophy, political science and religious studies, where at least 80 percent of the faculty say they are liberal and no more than 5 percent call themselves conservative, the study says.

    "In general," says Lichter, who also heads the nonprofit Center for Media and Public Affairs, "even broad-minded people gravitate toward other people like themselves. That's why you need diversity, not just of race and gender but also, maybe especially, of ideas and perspective."
    /r/reds

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  3. #2
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    They needed a study to tell us that?

    I could have told them that for free.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM
    They needed a study to tell us that?

    I could have told them that for free.
    The left part I would have confidently asserted. The "far" part surprised me a bit.
    /r/reds

  5. #4
    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM
    They needed a study to tell us that?

    I could have told them that for free.
    no kidding.

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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM
    They needed a study to tell us that?

    I could have told them that for free.

  7. #6
    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    And in other news the World is round.

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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Maybe their next study should be to see if Evangelical Christians "lean" to the far right.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

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    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Just to play it straight for a minute.

    I'm pretty positive it would have sucked to be a conservative professor at OU in the 1980's (at least in Liberal Arts) . Sure those guys weren't catching the breaks on campus. Just a hunch anyway.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Recent campus controversies have reinforced the left-wing faculty image. The University of Colorado is reviewing its tenure system after one professor, Ward Churchill, created an uproar by likening World Trade Center victims to Nazis. Harvard's faculty of arts and sciences voted no confidence in the university's president, Lawrence Summers, after he privately wondered whether women had the same natural ability as men in science and math.
    How do either of those instances "reinforce the left-wing faculty image?"
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    In the library profession liberals outweigh conservatives by something like 50:1.
    At the same time, librarians will stand up to any attempt to limit free speech.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

  12. #11
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM
    They needed a study to tell us that?

    I could have told them that for free.

    No kidding.


    In related news, a study shows that the sun rises in the East an overwhelming majority of the time.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

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    Member SandyD's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62
    No kidding.


    In related news, a study shows that the sun rises in the East an overwhelming majority of the time.
    except in New Orleans where the sun rises over the west bank.

  14. #13
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Quote Originally Posted by SandyD
    except in New Orleans where the sun rises over the west bank.

    Hey, typical liberal rhetoric!!!

    Are you a professor?

    :
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  15. #14
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro
    Just to play it straight for a minute.

    I'm pretty positive it would have sucked to be a conservative professor at OU in the 1980's (at least in Liberal Arts) . Sure those guys weren't catching the breaks on campus. Just a hunch anyway.
    Funny you should mention this, pedro.

    I had an Econ 400-something class in 1988 at OU. Prof was named Richard Vedder... who was known to be very conservative and did work for Republican causes in Athens, Columbus and for national causes. He used to talk politics in our class a lot. This was the year of Bush I vs. Dukakis. Some profs from "another area" decided to hold a talk-session on the leanings of the media in regard to the upcoming election. Vedder decided to take this entire class with him b/c he came to realize that most of us were right-leaners (lots of Bus. Econ types and Bus. Econ profs. tend to be this way). It turned into a Bush bashing real quick... by the majority of the OU profs in attendance. Vedder got up there about 45 mintues into the thing. His only words were something like, "I am ashamed that employees of this fine university have made this discussion on the media into a Bush bash. However, I must admit that I am not at all surprised by their inability to stay within the forum that was to be discussed here tonight. I now invite any members of the audience to join me as I turn and walk out." About 20 of the 125 people in attendance followed him out of the room and building. We followed him right up to Court Street for some brews and a more right-leaning forum in the The Pub. As people were leaving the original forum room, some of the profs who leaned-left started making cat calls to Vedder. Vedder (who seemed to have a hsort fuse w/ those who did not see eye-to-eye with him) turned and started yelling back at them. It made this 22-year-old student very uncormfortable and I have never forgotten it. I thought there was going to be "prof fists a-flying".

    A fine example these profs set for future battles on internet message boards!!
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  16. #15
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Study Says College Faculty Lean Far Left

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM
    Maybe their next study should be to see if Evangelical Christians "lean" to the far right.
    That's why we keep falling over.


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