Many parents wish for their children to obtain a college education and pursue a successful career. Some are concerned, however, that the current campus climate is unaccepting of Republican students. A recent publication from an Ivy League school confirms these fears and calls for change.
A study conducted at Harvard University found that 83% of its faculty identify as “liberal” or “very liberal” and less than 2% as “conservative” or “very conservative.” The school’s student-run newspaper The Crimson explains that the findings evidence a limited worldview at the college and that the campus serves as an ideological echo chamber. Pupils now worry that they are limiting themselves by subjecting themselves to an environment free from contrasting perspectives.
America’s Political Views
In a Liberty Nation interview with the refreshing student libertarian club Young Americans for Liberty, the group’s Vice President Spencer Kovach revealed that he must conceal his right-leaning outlooks in his coursework for fear that doing otherwise would result in receiving poor grades. He confided, “You have to be a good little commie to get those extra points.”
The Crimson confirms:
“This stark divide has harmful effects on the University’s ability to train our nation’s leaders, and it risks alienating current and potential conservative students. It has also likely contributed to the declining trust of Americans in higher education, which has deleterious effects. Much more work is needed to make this important element of diversity a priority.”
As an educational environment, Harvard’s lack of multiplicity is damaging to those enrolled. The faculty is not representative of the country and one could imagine the campus atmosphere is disconnected from reality, harming their students’ ability to cope in the real world after graduation. Indeed, Gallup found that 35% of adults in the nation’s general population lean right while 26% lean left – a dynamic far from represented by the liberal bias among the academic staff.
Those students already holding leftist views before entering college are likely to remain unopposed in their mindsets due to the campus climate and, thus, are unprepared for real-world experiences. This lack of critical thinking could have implications throughout their adult lives — about one in three Democrats are trusting of information from the mainstream media, as reported by Liberty Nation. By contrast, only about one in ten Republicans state that they believe reports from the press.
LN also notes research by neuroscientist Dr. Uri Hasson, which suggests that holding coinciding opinions with colleagues leads to feelings of acceptance and increased synchrony in “higher order” areas of the brain, including the frontal and parietal regions. The echo chamber environment such as that seen at Harvard can result in such brainwashing, contributing to the growing bitter divide in philosophical beliefs between liberals and conservatives.
How to Change
Although some suggest employing more diverse lecturers at Harvard, doing so may not accomplish the goal of greater ideological variety. Instead, changing the required curriculum for professors to follow may permit all to receive well-rounded training.
As an instrumental part of one of the most esteemed — and, with an annual tuition of about $46,000, one of the most expensive — universities in the country, the faculty should be aware of enhanced educational methods that are proven effective. Based on reports from The Crimson, however, it seems that students are becoming frustrated with the unchallenging environment.
With some pupils now refusing to accept prejudice against particular political groups attending the school, a change will encourage intellectual thought and debate. Such an outcome will only strengthen the culture of freedom unique to the U.S.