When veterans of the Clinton administration went into academia, a number of them were shocked to find that despite their impeccable liberal politics, their new university colleagues considered them unacceptably right wing! On many campuses the faculty has more Marxists than Republicans. This has long been known, but some recent studies are documenting the extent to which our nation’s campuses have a hard-left bias and discriminate against conservatives. Read this from Robert Maranto, who is publishing a book on the subject. Excerpts from his findings:
Daniel Klein of George Mason University and Charlotta Stern of Stockholm University looked at all the reliable published studies of professors’ political and ideological attachments. They found that conservatives and libertarians are outnumbered by liberals and Marxists by roughly two to one in economics, more than five to one in political science, and by 20 to one or more in anthropology and sociology.
In a quantitative analysis of a large-scale student survey, Matthew Woessner of Penn State-Harrisburg and April Kelly-Woessner of Elizabethtown College found strong statistical evidence that talented conservative undergraduates in the humanities, social sciences and sciences are less likely to pursue a PhD than their liberal peers, in part for personal reasons, but also in part because they are offered fewer opportunities to do research with their professors. (Interestingly, this does not hold for highly applied areas such as nursing or computer science.)
Further, academic job markets seem to discriminate against socially conservative PhDs. Stanley Rothman of Smith College and S. Robert Lichter of George Mason University find strong statistical evidence that these academics must publish more books and articles to get the same jobs as their liberal peers. Among professors who have published a book, 73 percent of Democrats are in high-prestige colleges and universities, compared with only 56 percent of Republicans.
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Unfortunately, subtle biases in how conservative students and professors are treated in the classroom and in the job market have very unsubtle effects on the ideological makeup of the professoriate. The resulting lack of intellectual diversity harms academia by limiting the questions academics ask, the phenomena we study, and ultimately the conclusions we reach.
And though we might be accused of bias in the other direction, I would put the quality of our class discussions, including the consideration of alternative viewpoints, to be far above what goes on in the typical leftwing classroom.
We are a young school, having been founded in 2000, and we are small, with just over 300 hand-selected students. We should be at least ten times bigger than we are. But we are pretty much at capacity in our existing facilities. Since we don’t take government funds and refuse to go into debt, we have to raise the money before we can build the classrooms and dormitories that we need.
We have some amazingly generous donors, but we should have 100 times the number of financial supporters than we do now. Many people of means are pouring money into institutions whose faculty members would, if they had their dream, line them up against the wall as bourgeois capitalists and consign them to a revolutionary firing squad. They would do far better to pour money into Patrick Henry College!
OK, end of fund-raising appeal. I’ll try not to do that very often. But reading about the state of higher education in this country made me convinced all the more of the importance of what we are doing at Patrick Henry College.