The vastly disproportionate presence of leftist professors on university campuses across the United States has been well documented. One of the more significant studies on this subject was conducted in 2003 by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (CSPC), which examined the ratio of registered Democrats to registered Republicans on the faculties of 32 elite colleges and universities nationwide. These institutions included the entire Ivy League, premier liberal arts colleges like Amherst and Pomona, well-known technically-oriented universities like MIT, highly competitive public institutions like the University of California at Berkeley, and other elite private universities like Stanford.
The researchers compiled lists of tenured or tenure-track professors in these schools' Economics, English, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology departments -- choosing these professors because they (unlike their colleagues in the Math or Science departments) taught courses in which ideology and politics could play a large role in classroom discussions or assignments. The researchers then compared these lists to the voter-registration lists of the counties or states in which the colleges were located, and attempted to match individual names. Wherever positive identification was possible, the political-party registration of the professors was tallied.
The researchers selected party registration for this study because other indices of bias would have been highly subjective. The meanings of "liberal" and "conservative," for instance, are notoriously indeterminate, reflecting as much the prejudices of the cataloguer as they do the preferences of those being studied. By contrast, the terms "Republican" and "Democrat" can reasonably be said to reflect a predictable spectrum of assumptions, views and values.
It was not the intention of the researchers to suggest that there should be quotas based on party affiliation in the hiring process at universities. Rather, it was their purpose to discover whether there was a grossly unbalanced, politically shaped selection process in the hiring of college faculty.
In its examinations of more than 150 departments and upper-level administrations at the 32 elite colleges and universities, the CSPC found that the overall ratio of registered Democrats to registered Republicans was more than 10 to 1 (1397 Democrats, 134 Republicans). Although in the nation at large, registered Democrats and Republicans were roughly equal in number, not a single department at any of the 32 schools managed to achieve anything even remotely approaching parity between the two. The closest any school came to parity was Northwestern University, where 80% of the faculty members were registered Democrats and 20% were registered Republicans. At other schools, the ratios of faculty Democrats to faculty Republicans were as follows:
- Brown University: 30 to 1
- Bowdoin College: 23 to 1
- Wellesley College: 23 to 1
- Swarthmore College: 21 to 1
- Amherst College: 18 to
- Bates College: 18 to 1
- Columbia University: 14 to 1
- Yale University: 14 to 1
- University of Pennsylvania: 12 to 1
- Tufts University: 12 to 1
- UCLA: 12 to 1
- UC Berkeley: 12 to 1
- Smith College: 11 to 1
At four schools, the researchers could not identify a single Republican on the faculty:
- Williams College: 51 Democrats, 0 Republicans
- Oberlin College: 19 Democrats, 0 Republicans
- MIT: 17 Democrats, 0 Republicans
- Haverford College: 15 Democrats, 0 Republicans
Faculty party-registration was just as unbalanced at major research universities as it was at small colleges. At Columbia University, for instance, the CSPC could identify only 6 faculty Republicans and could not locate a single Republican in the History, Political Science, or Sociology departments. Cornell University was just as left-leaning: the departments of English and History were entirely devoid of registered Republicans.
It was found, moreover, that administrators at the 32 schools leaned just as far to the left as did the faculties: At schools like the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Melon, and Cornell, not a single Republican administrator could be found. In the entire Ivy League, the researchers were able to identify only 3 Republican administrators.
These figures suggest that most students at these schools probably graduate without ever taking a class taught by a professor with a conservative viewpoint. The ratios themselves are impossible to understand in the absence of a political bias in the training and hiring of college instructors. They strongly suggest that the governance of American universities has fallen into the hands of a self-perpetuating political and cultural subset of the general population, which seems intent on perpetuating its control.
Without further investigation it is not possible to establish with certainty why this state of affairs has come into existence, but there are many obvious factors that may be said to have contributed to it. Among them is the very exclusion of conservatives from faculty and administrative positions itself. This in itself creates a hostile environment for conservative students contemplating an academic career. This core hostility is amplified by practices that have been incorporated into academic life in the last several decades, including campus speech codes and politicized classrooms -- both of which represent radical departures from the pre-Sixties academic environment. A comprehensive study by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education found that more than 90 percent of well-known college campuses have instituted speech codes intended to ban and punish politically incorrect, almost always conservative, speech. (For details, see TheFire.org. For student testimonies about in-classroom political indoctrination, see NoIndoctrination.org.)
Adapted from: "Political Bias in the Administrations and Faculties of 32 Elite Colleges and Universities," by David Horowitz and Eli Lehrer (August 28, 2003).