Tuesday, November 01, 2005

College presidents and politics: more conservative than the faculty 

The results of a survey in The Chronicle of Higher Education (temp link, permalink for subscribers) says university presidents who self-identify as Democrats outnumber those who self-identify as Republicans by two-to-one. And the difference matters in their perceptions of campus issues:
The survey shows that presidents' political identities make a significant difference in where they stand on admissions and several other college policies.

For instance, Democratic college presidents are more likely than Republican presidents to favor the use of gender, race, and socioeconomic status in admissions, according to the survey. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to support considering a student's ability to pay full tuition when weighing applicants.

On other issues, the survey reveals that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to favor lifting restrictions on the use of federal funds for research that involves human embryonic stem cells, to believe that institutions should be able to ban military recruiters on campus because of policies on gay and lesbian enlistees, and to want colleges to be able to provide emergency contraception to students who seek it.

Republicans, meanwhile, are more likely than Democrats to say that college campuses have become less open to diverse points of view than in the past. Almost 31 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats say campuses have become less open to various views.

Over all, just over one-quarter of all presidents in the survey say campuses have become less open. Slightly more, about 31 percent, believe they have become more open.
I'd call that last poll result heartening, since this blog began as the result of a perception of less openness on campuses. If presidents are coming around to share that view, great.

As we've seen before, faculty D-to-R ratios run much closer to 5 or 6 to one, so a 2-1 ratio among presidents makes them a more conservative group. It also explains much campus agitation.

Survey details. Hat tip: reader jw.