Friday, October 20, 2006

Another survey finds faculty overwhelmingly liberal 

A new report from a group called the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (I have never heard of them before) has a survey of faculty attitudes. Like other such studies, it finds that faculty are overwhelmingly liberal, including real hostility towards capitalism. Business faculty are the most conservative (about a third self-identify as such) while social science and humanities faculties are about 60% liberal and 80% Democrat.

The recommendations are much more in line of what I believe. Rather than support "affirmative action for conservatives",
Any and all solutions to a dominant faculty political culture must focus on enforcing the tenets of higher education, not on purging any one group from the campus. Efforts to strengthen the university must be pro-active rather than reactive and should view any imbalance, whether to the right or left, as evidence of a fundamental breakdown in the higher education system as a whole.
Both public agencies and private philanthropies should be more cognizant of political agendas on campus and not allow their funds to be used to support them.

The greatest danger is self-censorship, which the survey reports:
[M]ost faculty say that, to one degree or another, that their colleagues are reluctant to speak out against what they consider dominant or popular opinions at their institutions. When asked �How often, if at all, do you perceive that faculty at your institutions are reluctant to express their views because they might be contrary to the dominant or �popular� position?� 25% said very/fairly often, and another 38% said occasionally, a total of 63%, in an institution where the answer should be zero, or as close to zero as possible. About 37% of business/management faculty said very/fairly often, compared to 22% of social science/humanities faculty. Younger faculty were also more likely to say very/fairly often, 32%, perhaps concerned about their promotion and tenure decisions. Conservatives, 32%, were more likely to say very/fairly often, compared to liberals, 22%. Minority faculty also feel more constrained: 36% say very/fairly often compared to 24% of white faculty.