Skip to comments.Leaning right on campus
Posted on 02/06/2005 11:28:03 AM PST by wagglebee
Throughout 2003 and into 2004, a surge of protests roiled American campuses. You probably think the kids were agitating against war in Iraq, right? Well, no. Students at the University of California-Los Angeles, Michigan and many other schools were sponsoring bake sales to protest ... affirmative action. For white students and faculty, a cookie cost (depending on the school) $1; blacks and Latinos could buy one for a lot less. The principle, the protesters observed, was the same one governing university admission practices: treating people differently based on race.
The protests shocked the mainstream media, but to close observers of the American college scene, they came as no surprise. For decades, conservative critics have bemoaned academes monolithically liberal culture.
But the lefts long dominion over the university the last place on Earth that the lefts power would break up, conservatives believed is showing its first signs of weakening.
The change isnt coming from the faculty lounges and administrative offices but from self-organizing rightof-center students themselves. Never has the right flourished among college kids as it does today.
The number of College Republicans, for instance, has almost tripled, from 400 or so campus chapters six years ago to 1,148 today, with 120,000-plus members (compared with the College Democrats 900 or so chapters and 100,000 members).
Other conservative organizations, ranging from gun clubs (Harvards has more than 100 students blasting away) to impudent anti-PC newspapers and magazines, are budding at schools everywhere even at the University of California-Berkeley, crucible of the 60s student left.
The bustle reflects a general rightward shift in college students views. In 1995, reports UCLAs Higher Education Research Institute, 66 percent of freshmen wanted the wealthy to pay higher taxes. Today, only 50 percent do. Support for abortion stood at two- thirds of students in the early 90s; now its just more than half.
A late-2003 Harvard Institute of Politics study found that college students had moved to the right of the overall population, with 31 percent identifying themselves as Republicans, 27 percent as Democrats and the rest independent or unaffiliated.
One reason that conservative ideas are taking on greater allure for students is that the authorities say theyre verboten. Currently, faculty Democrats outnumber Republicans by at least 7 to 1 (in humanities and the social sciences), according to Daniel Klein of Santa Clara University and Charlotta Stern, a Swedish sociologist.
"Theres a natural and healthy tendency among students to question the piety of their teachers," notes Alan Kors, a University of Pennsylvania history professor.
Katherine Ernst, a recent New York University grad, confirms the point. Ernst already leaned right when she arrived on campus. But the left-wing propagandizing of her professors made her conservatism rock-solid.
"One professor, right after Sept. 11, gave a terroristsympathy speech that went, you know: Oil, oil, oil, theyre poor, we take advantage of them, its really complicated, blah, blah, blah," Ernst says acidly. "How could anybody exposed to this kind of stuff not become a raging rightwinger?"
The leftism that so angers these students includes the "hey ho, Western civ has got to go" theories that inform college courses from coast to coast. A student, conservative or otherwise, who doesnt buy into the West-is-the-worst line can "have an awful time of it," Harvard junior Jordan Hyldenn says.
Some conservative students keep their real views to themselves and parrot the "correct" line, fearing that otherwise theyll get a low grade. One earnest Princeton freshstudents not just conservatives at the top 50 colleges say professors frequently inject their political views into courses, and almost one-third think they have to agree with those views to get a good grade. man, for instance, had to write a paper on same-sex marriage, which he opposes, for a constitutional law course taught by a pro-gaymarriage professor.
"I radically altered my position to make it more in line with what my professors beliefs are," he says.
An American Council of Trustees and Alumni survey finds that half of all
Several national organizations are trying to fight the left-wing bias on campus. Perhaps most significant is Students for Academic Freedom, founded in 2003 by David Horowitz and already boasting 130 campus chapters.
Its key initiative is a campaign for an "Academic Bill of Rights," which enjoins universities not to deny tenure or fail to hire teachers solely because of their conservative politics, and to ensure that teachers keep their classes from becoming left-wing propaganda sessions. Legislation enacting variations of the bill is on the move in 19 states.
Conservatives still have a long, long way to go. The professorate remains a solidly left-wing body, more likely to assign Barbara Ehrenreich than Milton Friedman, Michel Foucault than Michael Oakeshott, and nothing is going to change that soon.
Nevertheless, the lefts iron hold on academe is beginning to loosen. Anyone who cares about the education of our children and the future political discourse of our country can only cheer.
Now if only there was a way to strip tenure from these leftist professors.
College campuses are hardly "leaning right". What ever these numbers show, they represent a backlash against rampant leftist agitation. The faculty is left, the administrations are left, and the college campus is the home of every left leaning group in America. Democrats, Mecha, Maldef, the Communists and every other left leaning wackjob group is on our college campuses.
--the appropriate (but politically impossible) way to do it would be for the taxpayers to cut the bdget of all non-science or engineering schools by about thirty percent so the garbage would have to be laid off---
And if they did that, and took away tenure as someone else suggested, the result would be that the Universities would fire the few conservative and moderate professors, and protect the raging leftists. After all, the leftists see academia as one of their havens away from real world-- the real world where there exist conservatives and moderates with power and influence.
In a country that is becoming increasingly conservative, you can bet the leftists will defend their academic haven.
BTW, check out www.ratemyprofessor.com, and you will see that many students are fed up with the leftist intolerant bent of so many professors, and they appreciate professors who make an effort to keep their politics to themselves, or at least not insist that their students share their views. You will read many stories like the one above, where students learned that disagreeing with leftist professors was harmful for their GPA, and chose to hide their own political leanings from their leftist professors.
I hear that some conservative-leaning professors are afraid to speak their views in order to preserve good relations with their fellow professors.
The kids will leave campus - the profs might not. The kids should try to get rid of tenure, college by college, using a master plan that spans across more than 4 academic years. That would make the lefties jump right out of the ivory towers.
"The bustle reflects a general rightward shift in college students views."
Or better yet, why not do what the Republicans PROMISED that they would do 10 yrs ago & eliminate the Dept. of Education? I hope that promise wasn't a lie from the very beginning.
That would be the constitutional thing to do.
I think David Horowitz deserves enormous credit for his battle against liberal hegemony on campuses.
--yes---that would de-fund the state universities sufficiently to at least start on a housecleaning---
I agree w/ you on that--esp. when you conseider the fact that he was once a revolutionary Lefty in his youger days, & I think was raised by parents who were both communists.
Retirement and death will eventually take care of it. Yes, I expect it to take that long.
Sort of a latter day Whittaker Chambers.
Yep! "You can't get a good education if they're only telling you half the story"... got the T-shirt!
I usually don't say anything in class because I want to hear from them as much as I could. Now and then, however, I use the theories they teach to attack their leftist position. When I do that, the professors usually caught off-guard and don't say anything.
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