12/03/2004

Jack's Complete Lack Of Surprise, Redux

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a tax-exempt, nonprofit, educational organization committed to academic freedom, excellence and accountability at America's colleges and universities. Last week, ACTA released a report studying politicization of the classroom at 50 top universities.

The ACTA survey was conducted in late October and early November by the Center for Survey Research & Analysis at the University of Connecticut at the 50 colleges and universities top-ranked by U.S. News & World Report. List attached.

The survey shows that college and university faculty are biased: 74% of students said professors made positive remarks about liberals while 47% reported negative comments about conservatives. A substantial majority—83 %—said that student evaluations administered by the college did not ask about a professor’s political biases.

The survey comes in the wake of a number of studies that have shown that party registrations of college professors are overwhelmingly one-sided. Last week, the Princeton, NJ-based National Association of Scholars released a study showing that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans at some top-50 schools is as high as 9 to 1.
The survey selected 658 students at random from the top universities as listed by U.S. News and World report; The majority of students surveyed majored in subjects like biology, engineering and psychology—subjects that have nothing to do with politics.

The article includes a rebuttal quote from a representative from the American Association of University Professors stating that "political affiliations of professors are of little consequence in the classroom". Yet, The Wall Street Journal took a closer look at the study and found that it appears to be of very significant consequence.
"My teacher came into class the day after the election proclaiming, 'That's it. This is the death of America.' The rest of the class was eager to agree, and twenty minutes of Bush-bashing ensued. At one point, one student asked our teacher whether she should be so vocal, lest any students be conservatives. She then asked us whether any of us were Republicans. Naturally, no one volunteered that information, whereupon our teacher turned to the inquisitive student and said, 'See? No one in here would be stupid enough to vote for Bush.' "
And, in an all-too-typical leftist response to dissenting opinion...
A recent informal survey at Yale, where students answered questions about academic freedom posed by the Yale Free Press, the conservative/libertarian student paper, also deserves attention. Although the entire first run of its November issue containing the study was stolen on campus, it can be downloaded at www.yale.edu/yfp.
There are a fair number of people who like to refer to red-staters as being "brainwashed". If there's a brainwashing campaign going on in this country, it's taking place on university campuses. ACTA's Anne Neal makes an excellent point when she says that "the inability to benefit from a robust and free exchange of ideas--intellectual harassment if you will--goes to the very heart of the academic enterprise."

Update: Via InstaPundit, the Boston Globe has a related piece entitled "A left-wing monopoly on campuses".