There was a time when American universities provided an education for their students – when young people learned about the subjects they were supposed to be studying in each class. Unfortunately, many of our higher learning institutions have transformed into bastions of leftist ideas. It is a well-known fact that many universities have a decidedly anti-conservative bias – this is particularly the case in the social sciences. By discriminating against conservative professors, they have ensured that left-wing teachers make up the majority of their teaching staff. In this way, they can continue to inundate their students with leftist principles without being challenged. At first glance, this might appear to be a wild conspiracy theory — but the studies have shown that liberals vastly outnumber conservatives on the teaching staff of most colleges. The evidence is so strong that even The Washington Post has acknowledged the disparity:
In the academy, liberals now outnumber conservatives by roughly 5 to 1. Among the general public, on the other hand, conservatives are considerably more prevalent than liberals and have been for some time.
Given these numbers, it is not surprising that left-wing ideas dominate the world of academia. Many theorize that this gap exists because conservatives simply are not interested in becoming professors. This simply isn’t true. The issue is not that conservatives are not interested in education; the issue is that the left is not interested in having conservative professors who might counteract their agenda. The leadership of these colleges purposely prevents conservatives from being part of their teaching staff.
Universities discriminate against conservatives in two ways: through the hiring process and course development. When schools are looking to hire professors, they reject the applications of teachers who have shown that they hold conservative views. Liberal journalist Nicholas Kristoff explained this issue in a piece for The New York Times:
One peer-reviewed study found that one-third of social psychologists admitted that if choosing between two equally qualified job candidates, they would be inclined to discriminate against the more conservative candidate.
Kristof also tells the story of George Yancey, a black conservative sociology professor. Yancey conducted a survey that found that “up to 30 percent of academics said that they would be less likely to support a job seeker if they knew that the person was a Republican.” The survey also revealed the fact that “59 percent of anthropologists and 53 percent of English professors would be less likely to hire someone they found out was an evangelical.” Keep in mind that Yancey’s survey only showed the number of teachers who admit their anti-conservative bias. It is possible – even likely – that the number is higher.
In some cases, the left takes a more subtle approach to excluding conservatives. They often craft their courses and job descriptions in ways designed to keep educators with right-wing views from applying. The National Review’s David French discusses how universities draft their job descriptions. He uses a job description for a tenure-track professor of “religion, violence, and peace-building” at Harvard Divinity School as an example. The description reads:
It is understood that applicants will employ forms of analysis that address race, gender, sexuality, and/or other intersecting forms of social power, such as womanist, feminist, and/or queer approaches.
At first glance, this might seem to be a typical job description for a university professor. However, when you look at the language, you can see that it is full of leftist terms such as “feminist and/or queer approaches” and “intersecting forms of social power.” It has a definite leftist slant. Although there is nothing inherently left or right-wing about “religion, violence, and peace-building,” the university has framed the subject matter in a way that only a left-wing professor would address. Conservatives are unlikely to view issues of religion, violence, peace-building through the lens of intersectionality and social power.
The left claims to practice tolerance for all people, but the reality is that they are only tolerant of those who think like them. Colleges that exclude conservative professors are not helping their students. They’re harming them. They are creating an environment that functions as an echo chamber for leftist ideas rather than a politically neutral place of learning.
Without diversity of thought, students cannot learn how to think critically. Not only that, they are not learning how to react when their views are challenged. This is one of the main reasons for violence on college campuses when conservative speakers give speeches. Instead of debating non-progressive views, they seek to shut them out altogether. Why? Many of these students do not know how to analyze arguments that contradict their views. These universities teach their students to avoid debate at all costs – even if it means using violence.
People on both the left and the right must oppose the exclusionary hiring practices of American universities. Americans who value a diversity of thought must pressure the leadership of our learning institutions to create an environment where students can hear a multitude of cultural and political opinions. Our students only receive a quality education when they can hear ideas from multiple points of view.