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Old 03-29-2005, 02:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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College Faculties and the free marketplace of ideas, not

This has peaked. Its the end result of the dialectical shift that began in the US in the 1960s. The trend will inevitably shift in the other direction. A more balaced situation will, in my opinion, benefit students and society at large.

In general, I dont have a problem taking the long view of things like this. The socio-political pendulum swings very slowly, paradigms take generations to shift, entrenched interests tend to bury themselves very deeply in institutions. Eventually however, it can be demonstrated historically that socio-political realities move in dialectical ways.

.

washingtonpost.com

College Faculties A Most Liberal Lot, Study Finds

By Howard Kurtz

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 29, 2005; Page C01

College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.
By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.
"What's most striking is how few conservatives there are in any field," said Robert Lichter, a professor at George Mason University and a co-author of the study. "There was no field we studied in which there were more conservatives than liberals or more Republicans than Democrats. It's a very homogenous environment, not just in the places you'd expect to be dominated by liberals."

Religious services take a back seat for many faculty members, with 51 percent saying they rarely or never attend church or synagogue and 31 percent calling themselves regular churchgoers. On the gender front, 72 percent of the full-time faculty are male and 28 percent female.

The findings, by Lichter and fellow political science professors Stanley Rothman of Smith College and Neil Nevitte of the University of Toronto, are based on a survey of 1,643 full-time faculty at 183 four-year schools. The researchers relied on 1999 data from the North American Academic Study Survey, the most recent comprehensive data available.

The study appears in the March issue of the Forum, an online political science journal. It was funded by the Randolph Foundation, a right-leaning group that has given grants to such conservative organizations as the Independent Women's Forum and Americans for Tax Reform.

Rothman sees the findings as evidence of "possible discrimination" against conservatives in hiring and promotion. Even after factoring in levels of achievement, as measured by published work and organization memberships, "the most likely conclusion" is that "being conservative counts against you," he said. "It doesn't surprise me, because I've observed it happening." The study, however, describes this finding as "preliminary."
When asked about the findings, Jonathan Knight, director of academic freedom and tenure for the American Association of University Professors, said, "The question is how this translates into what happens within the academic community on such issues as curriculum, admission of students, evaluation of students, evaluation of faculty for salary and promotion." Knight said he isn't aware of "any good evidence" that personal views are having an impact on campus policies.

"It's hard to see that these liberal views cut very deeply into the education of students. In fact, a number of studies show the core values that students bring into the university are not very much altered by being in college."
Rothman, Lichter and Nevitte find a leftward shift on campus over the past two decades. In the last major survey of college faculty, by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1984, 39 percent identified themselves as liberal.

In contrast with the finding that nearly three-quarters of college faculty are liberal, a Harris Poll of the general public last year found that 33 percent describe themselves as conservative and 18 percent as liberal.

The liberal label that a majority of the faculty members attached to themselves is reflected on a variety of issues. The professors and instructors surveyed are, strongly or somewhat, in favor of abortion rights (84 percent); believe homosexuality is acceptable (67 percent); and want more environmental protection "even if it raises prices or costs jobs" (88 percent). What's more, the study found, 65 percent want the government to ensure full employment, a stance to the left of the Democratic Party.

Recent campus controversies have reinforced the left-wing faculty image. The University of Colorado is reviewing its tenure system after one professor, Ward Churchill, created an uproar by likening World Trade Center victims to Nazis. Harvard's faculty of arts and sciences voted no confidence in the university's president, Lawrence Summers, after he privately wondered whether women had the same natural ability as men in science and math.

The study did not attempt to examine whether the political views of faculty members affect the content of their courses.

The researchers say that liberals, men and non-regular churchgoers are more likely to be teaching at top schools, while conservatives, women and more religious faculty are more likely to be relegated to lower-tier colleges and universities.

Top-tier schools, roughly a third of the total, are defined as highly ranked liberal arts colleges and research universities that grant PhDs.

The most liberal faculties are those devoted to the humanities (81 percent) and social sciences (75 percent), according to the study. But liberals outnumbered conservatives even among engineering faculty (51 percent to 19 percent) and business faculty (49 percent to 39 percent).

The most left-leaning departments are English literature, philosophy, political science and religious studies, where at least 80 percent of the faculty say they are liberal and no more than 5 percent call themselves conservative, the study says.

"In general," says Lichter, who also heads the nonprofit Center for Media and Public Affairs, "even broad-minded people gravitate toward other people like themselves. That's why you need diversity, not just of race and gender but also, maybe especially, of ideas and perspective."
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Old 03-29-2005, 03:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I know I'm probably going to get bashed by saying this, but I don't really care. When I was in college, that was one of the things I loved about it. It was so easy going, and liberal. Frankly, I don't find it surprising at all that hard working and intelligent people (of which you have to be both in order to teach at most universities I've been around) are more liberal. They have a better understanding of how the world works and what is wrong with it. Like I said, I anticipate getting attacked on this matter, but I don't really care. This is the way I see things.
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Old 03-29-2005, 03:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah it's really surprising that a place that should be a home for the exchange of ideas would be what by definition is trying new ideas.
Maybe I missed it in the article but I didn't see where it said politically liberal vs general liberal(i.e. open to new ideas/methods/etc.).

Frankly, the only thing that matters to me is that religion and politics stay the fuck out of hard science. Well I can dream can't I?
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Rothman sees the findings as evidence of "possible discrimination" against conservatives in hiring and promotion. Even after factoring in levels of achievement, as measured by published work and organization memberships, "the most likely conclusion" is that "being conservative counts against you," he said. "It doesn't surprise me, because I've observed it happening."
Nothing in the article explains how one of the two researchers came to such a near-conclusion, that there is in fact discrimination against conservatives vs. the more likely prospect that there are simply far less conservatives who have desired the profession of an academic.

I don't take the researchers conclusions seriously and I question the numbers.

But more importantly, so what? For most students, liberal professors are ideal. Liberalism being the philosophy that includes exploration as opposed to constancy. In that respect, it would negatively impact students and society at large if it were to shift towards conservatism.

However, I do agree that it will shift - but not due to any constant rate of fluctuation (in my mind, higher learning has always been more liberal than the "norm"). No, mainly due to the impressive/oppressive control of discourse that conservatives have obtained in the past 30 years.

Last edited by Manx; 03-29-2005 at 04:06 PM..
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Perhaps it has something to do with that other free marketplace.

Quote:
"It's hard to see that these liberal views cut very deeply into the education of students. In fact, a number of studies show the core values that students bring into the university are not very much altered by being in college."
Why is this a problem again?
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Again:
A more balaced situation will, in my opinion, benefit students and society at large.

In general, I dont have a problem taking the long view of things like this.
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
Again:
A more balaced situation will, in my opinion, benefit students and society at large.
Any idea as to why you hold this opinion?
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Frankly, I don't find it surprising at all that hard working and intelligent people (of which you have to be both in order to teach at most universities I've been around) are more liberal. They have a better understanding of how the world works and what is wrong with it. Like I said, I anticipate getting attacked on this matter, but I don't really care. This is the way I see things.
Ok, they're liberal because they are smarter than conservatives. Can we get off that train now before it becomes what dozens of other threads have tried to make all Republicans into stupid rednecks?

I'm ok with teachers being liberal. I just dont want to hear how evil Bush is when I paid $400 to learn about physics or some other class. I dont want to be failed AGAIN from a teacher that didn't like the fact I was in the military during the beginning of the Iraqi war as posted in another thread. Leave politics out of the classroom and they can lean whatever way they want (except government, it's really the only place it belongs).

Quote:
Any idea as to why you hold this opinion?
Imagine being surrounded by Cavuto, Ann Coulter, and Hannity. Now imagine they're in charge of your grades and find every way to input their personal opinions (especially in a class that has nothing to do with it). It'd be easy to put up with it if you hold the same opinion of them, thats why many here have no problem with it. Those of us that have differing opinions, well, it's grinding on the nerves and saps respect for the professor quickly.

Last edited by Seaver; 03-29-2005 at 04:38 PM..
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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i dont know if this scenario is a function of any particular biais on the part of instutions, frankly: i think this follows from the analytic view of social phenomena that you have to take in order to be able to do most academic work (here i obviously speak about the humanities--the situation is very very different in departments like mathematics and much more so in the sciences...this is not to mention bidness schools, which are almost entirely reactionary politically and analytically--not entirely, but almost so)...

which raises the central question i had about the article, which seems to focus on humanities to the exclusion of all else--i also wonder about the role of the funders in structuring and/or the extent to which these funders selected a study that would avance their a priori assumptions about faculty.

both these seem important in evaluating what the results, summarized in a potted manner in the article cited, have to tell a reader.

and this:

Quote:
The study did not attempt to examine whether the political views of faculty members affect the content of their courses.
made me wonder what the point of the study actually was at all.
if it dodges this question, then it looses any way of connecting its information to students, it seems to me--and by fixing on faculty "culture" it further blurs lines--many i know who would describe themselves as "liberal" operate in ways that are in fact very conservative, both in disciplinary terms and in the political terms that are connected to them--this, in my experience, is particularly true of americans who study america.

it is much less true of americans who study subjects not connected to america.

i do not see this situation as a problem in any event-----not for students, not for anyone. the ambient culture is being pushed well to the right of anything approaching center by any rational grid--in such a context, academic space can function as among the last remaining spaces for real debate. i do not see what bad there is for conservatives in being pushed to explain their positions, to think them out, to run into people who do not share their assumptions. if the ideology was worth anything, it could withstand this. if it cant, then the problem is the ideology, not the political composition of any given faculty.

for myself, i do not go after conservatives in my classes. i do however feel no compunction about making them explain their positions and back them up with information if this works into the design of the course--that is if they are not being asked to provide information from outside the class.

having a common ground to work across is important.

i also feel no compunction about requiring the same of students who describe themselves as being on "the left"--at 18-22 i dont expect them to be much more coherent politically than i was.

ultimately i am not sure what conservatives really want--sometimes it seems that what they want is absolute uniformity within whcih everyone talks in the same way about democracy--debate in which nothing is at stake, in which politics have been reduced to questions of faith and everyone who dissents has been pushed to the side, silenced, run out of town. until such an outcome happens, they will endlessly complain about their own persecution--this seems little more than another example.
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I see diversity of opinion in human settings as being more interesting than homogeneity.
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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well, you have diversity.
so what's the problem?

if you look at colleges other than the humanities, you have plenty of self-describing conservatives--maybe that is why they seem not to have been included in the study.
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:52 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
I see diversity of opinion in human settings as being more interesting than homogeneity.
If you view college life as a closed system where the students are free from outside influence, your concern over homogeneity would seem to be more appropriate.

But I don't see any reason to view student life in such a fashion.

Quote:
In contrast with the finding that nearly three-quarters of college faculty are liberal, a Harris Poll of the general public last year found that 33 percent describe themselves as conservative and 18 percent as liberal.
Maybe liberal schooling is the balance you prefer.
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Old 03-29-2005, 05:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaver
Imagine being surrounded by Cavuto, Ann Coulter, and Hannity. Now imagine they're in charge of your grades and find every way to input their personal opinions (especially in a class that has nothing to do with it). It'd be easy to put up with it if you hold the same opinion of them, thats why many here have no problem with it. Those of us that have differing opinions, well, it's grinding on the nerves and saps respect for the professor quickly.
Doesn't sound like a problem to me. Ground nerves and sapped respect are fairly common on college campuses accross the world. The political leanings of the professors often have very little to do with it.

I think that's a boogeyman argument. Do you have any non-anecdotal evidence that this is a problem on any kind of grand scale?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
I see diversity of opinion in human settings as being more interesting than homogeneity.
How does a "more balanced" set of leanings and biases result in more diversity of opinion? I don't know if you've been on a college campus lately art, but diversity, whether of opinion of otherwise, is one thing that isn't in short supply.
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Old 03-29-2005, 06:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yeah whoever is conducting this study hasn't spent much time in the accounting dept.... Also there is the fact that so many conservative beliefs and values simply do not stand up to scientific or academic scrutiny.
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Old 03-29-2005, 06:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Locobot
Yeah whoever is conducting this study hasn't spent much time in the accounting dept.... Also there is the fact that so many conservative beliefs and values simply do not stand up to scientific or academic scrutiny.
Actually depending on which conservative you mean.
If you mean political or religious ideas, then this is very argueble (sp?).
However, science is more or less supposed to be conservative. Meaning that theories and laws do not change without sound data to back it up.
This does not mean research should not be performed.
Research should be liberal, but changes in scientific theory should be more conservative.

God, we're about to start arguing about definitions again, aren't we?

Last edited by RAGEAngel9; 03-29-2005 at 06:34 PM.. Reason: Needed a clarificaiton
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Old 03-29-2005, 06:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I teach on a college campus.

Good to hear from you all again.

Thanks.
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Old 03-29-2005, 06:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ARTelevision
Good to hear from you all again.
And you too sir.

I think I'm picking up what your laying down, and I agree...once some semblence of acedemic and intellectual diversity returns to the college campus, we will all be better off for it.

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Old 03-29-2005, 07:25 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I'm probably in the moinority here, but I want professors to continue to spew out liberal ideaology. I like the idea of having liberal elites "educating" us minions fro ivory towers. I like the idea of having more Churchills telling us what good little Eichmans we are. While most conservatives belly ache over this, I am willing to embrace it.

The more hate and intolerance they preach, the better it is for the conservative movt. What baffles me is that most conservatives and most liberals do not recognize this.
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Old 03-29-2005, 07:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAGEAngel9
Actually depending on which conservative you mean.
If you mean political or religious ideas, then this is very argueble (sp?).
However, science is more or less supposed to be conservative. Meaning that theories and laws do not change without sound data to back it up.
This does not mean research should not be performed.
Research should be liberal, but changes in scientific theory should be more conservative.

God, we're about to start arguing about definitions again, aren't we?

I was attempting to be as vague as the source article.
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:31 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ARTelevision
I teach on a college campus.
Good to know, but i have yet to take a class at my college where conservative thought was frowned upon or discouraged. I still don't see how current status quo makes any bit of difference in this respect.

Quote:
Good to hear from you all again.

Thanks.
Likewise.
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:43 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I think the term "liberal" is getting a bad rap in this and other such reports. To me being liberal means that one is open to different ideas and point of views. Both major political parties have their share of closed-mindedness.

I don't believe there is a great deal of discimination against conservatives (Republicans) in hiring. Probably most pro-business types do not prefer the academic environment. It has been many years since I was in school so I could be mistaken. It would probably be better if the faculty was more evenly represented politically.
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:56 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I have taken many classes in which both Republican voting and conservative sympathies were frowned upon - even explicitly ridiculed by students and faculty alike. I have been the subject of people both condescending to me (a mistake they only make once, as I have sharp teeth that I don't hesitate to use on those who invite it) or trying to pressure me into changing views they SUPPOSED I have. I've also seen friends who were afraid to be vocal about their views because of retaliation from teachers in grades and connections in the job market (not saying this would have taken place, but the students were afraid of it - which in some circles is de facto proof of a hostile environment). Of course, this is only anecdotal evidence, and as one of my favorite sayings goes, the plural of anecdote is not data.

Conceptually speaking, I think people in general suffer a bit when we are surrounded by others who think predominantly (or worse, unrepresentatively) towards one end of the spectrum. I think this for two reasons:

First, they tend to assume people who don't think like them are all alike. Many people assume that I vote Republican because I don't fall in with the Democratic majority here (I do not). I've also noticed that many assume that those who are conservative are also necessarily religious (I am not). Of course, this is natural, since there is not the "critical mass" of people on our campus to make alternative thinkers look like individuals.

Secondly, I'll never forget the shock when the elections results came out - both here on TFP and here in my real-life community. No, I'm not claiming there was a landslide election of George Bush, but I think there were a lot of people who simply could not believe that there were those that thought differently from the local status quo, nor that there were so many of them. This doubt has also translated into an inability to believe that those who come from a different place on the spectrum could possibily be sincere, intelligent, or voting in good faith. Once again, this is a natural response to an unrepresentative environment - one or two intelligent and sincere dissenting voices don't make everyone assume that red-state America is anything other than zealots or rednecks.

Like Art, I don't see this as a "problem" that needs a solution - it is simply a situation that I take note of. I do think that students would benefit from a representitave look at the real world. After all, that is where they will be living and working. Also like Art, I take the long view. People will change their minds, the pendulum will swing, and ultimately the world will go on.
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Old 03-29-2005, 09:45 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I'm not going to outline all my thoughts on this since most of them have already been expressed, but I just want to say something about this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by filtherton
Good to know, but i have yet to take a class at my college where conservative thought was frowned upon or discouraged. I still don't see how current status quo makes any bit of difference in this respect.
At my university, "conservative" is like a bad word, not to mention a synonym for "heartless", "racist", "elitist" and/or "evil". As a student who leans ever so slightly liberal in the land of the radical left, I can attest to this sort of experience and it isn't one of those extreme scenarios people invent to make a point.

I'm used to everybody at school more or less agreeing with my politics. When I was challenged to evaluate the reasons for my political beliefs by a friend at another school, I realized that I didn't spend a lot of time thinking and that I spent a whole lot of time reacting and espousing ideals I never once questioned. Ever since I realized that, I have noticed a sharp behavioral change toward some of my ideas in both students and professors. A professor who had previously been nothing but polite and friendly with me joked to the class that I must have been on something when I defended my Republican classmate's statements one day. Some of my (now former) friends even made a point to make more conservatives-are-incogitant-and-moronic jokes in front of me at parties.

I don't say all this to whine about my situation; I say it more to express my surprise at the amount of discouragement a student can receive at a top-tier university for simply having thoughts. Isn't that why I took out several grand in loans to be here?
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:08 PM   #24 (permalink)
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BAN LIBRULS FROM SPEAKING!!! KILL THE FIRST AMENDMENT!!!
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:18 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by degrawj
I know I'm probably going to get bashed by saying this, but I don't really care. When I was in college, that was one of the things I loved about it. It was so easy going, and liberal. Frankly, I don't find it surprising at all that hard working and intelligent people (of which you have to be both in order to teach at most universities I've been around) are more liberal. They have a better understanding of how the world works and what is wrong with it. Like I said, I anticipate getting attacked on this matter, but I don't really care. This is the way I see things.
I'm at the same university degrawj attended, and I have to say I think it is a pretty balanced situation at large here at Oregon State--we have a conservative student body and a fairly liberal faculty. The two even each other out a lot, surprisingly. Besides which--certain programs and departments around our campus tend to be more conservative and others more liberal.

It really does balance out.
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:37 PM   #26 (permalink)
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as i've said elsewhere...i don't see this as an issue. yes, professors hold control over grades. but if that really scares you or makes you think you don't have academic freedom, i don't have a lot of sympathy.

i've taken low grades on account of my opinions and i've had the wrath of the ivory tower visted upon me for speaking up in class.

it's the price of having an opinion...people also will have theirs. they may have more power than you, they may want to try to push their agenda. get used to it...it's the way the world runs.
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:49 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by degrawj
I know I'm probably going to get bashed by saying this, but I don't really care. When I was in college, that was one of the things I loved about it. It was so easy going, and liberal. Frankly, I don't find it surprising at all that hard working and intelligent people (of which you have to be both in order to teach at most universities I've been around) are more liberal. They have a better understanding of how the world works and what is wrong with it. Like I said, I anticipate getting attacked on this matter, but I don't really care. This is the way I see things.
I am not bashing you at all but I find it kind of a stretch to say that people who spend their life in academia have a better understanding of how the world works.
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Old 03-29-2005, 11:36 PM   #28 (permalink)
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BAN LIBRULS FROM SPEAKING!!! KILL THE FIRST AMENDMENT!!!
What does this have to do with the first amendment? What does this have to do with any sort of government censorship? Please before you spew crap like this again add something reasonable to the discussion.
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Old 03-30-2005, 12:38 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I'll demand political balance for university professors as soon as the same is achieved among CEOs.
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:22 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Some points worth making here:

(1) The "journal" that this study was published in is not a legitimate peer-reviewed academic journal. You won't find it in Current Contents, Web of Science or any other listing of academic journals.

(2) The two authors are politically active neoconservatives. The lead auther Lichtman has had a prestigious chair with the American Enterprise Institute.

(3) The methodology used is laughable. They simply tallied up numbers in a survey that a different group performed in 1999. And the numbers were self-labels, with no attempt at objectivity.

(4) The results are entirely consistent with any political trend in any direction in U.S. universities over time. It is entirely possible that faculty have become more conservative over the last 30 years, while the meanings of the labels used have moved to the right.

(5) The results are an average, which glosses over the tremendous diversity among college campuses in the U.S. There are certainly many very conservative campuses. Take for instance Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, where Tim LaHaye is a tenured professor.
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:51 AM   #31 (permalink)
 
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has anyone been able to download the actual study?
i tried to do it, but the journal only enables access based on some kind of institutional subscription. if it is a marginal journal, as raveneye notes above, then these subscriptions may be difficult to come by.
if you have it, could you please post sections on sample and method?
it seems that, without this, discussion will soon reach an impasse.....
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:05 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I fail to see the problem with a predominantly liberal faculty at a university. In my opinion, it helps promote the flow of free ideas and helps challenge you to think for yourself. And if someone wanted to go to a "school" of higher learning filled with right wing nut jobs, there are countless christian colleges and universities out there. Although, I wouldn't think the degree you got from there would be valuable enough to do anything with other than take up a job in the ministry or wipe your arse.

And like raveneye said, look at the source of this.
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:39 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-Naughty
I fail to see the problem with a predominantly liberal faculty at a university. In my opinion, it helps promote the flow of free ideas and helps challenge you to think for yourself. And if someone wanted to go to a "school" of higher learning filled with right wing nut jobs, there are countless christian colleges and universities out there. Although, I wouldn't think the degree you got from there would be valuable enough to do anything with other than take up a job in the ministry or wipe your arse.

And like raveneye said, look at the source of this.
That is the problem with a liberal bias in higher education. If you aren't a conspiracy spewing, ivory tower communist, you are instantly labeled a "right wing nut job". I've dealt with this at my school as a student. There is no flow of free ideas, the same tired liberal trash gets repeatedly passed around as the truth. You don't get a chance to try to defend your beliefs, they are immediately seen as wrong. Dogmatic thought is bad in an acedemic environment, be it liberal or conservative.
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Old 03-30-2005, 09:45 AM   #34 (permalink)
 
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alansmithee:
maybe you do not explain your positions clearly.
maybe there is a side of you that resents having to explain your positions.
maybe you do to really respond to questions before moving into an attack.
the posts i see of yours here indicate that this might be a pattern of yours---and i do not mean offense by saying this.....

what i do sometimes see from conservatives, particularly from organized conservatives on campus, is this sense of martyrdom that links in the last analysis to the sense these folk seem to have that they should get better grades, that they should be other than they are somehow...rather than think about whether the problem lay with themselves, it is quicker and easier to blow smoke about a"liberal" conspiracy of one type or another. and it is that kind of response--which you see all the time in print in various outlets in particular--but which you do not see in actual interactions, even with the same people---that gets me a bit impatient, simply as a function of the smugness that seems to underpin it.

you assume that your views are above question because they are your views.

but you are moving through a phase, like any other college student, during which you are trying out ideas, trying out positions, big parts of which you are repeating from elsewhere, working through them as you do so.

so what makes you so sure that it is everyone else who is wrong when they ask you questions you do not answer, and that none of the problem lay with yourself?
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:34 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
alansmithee:
maybe you do not explain your positions clearly.
maybe there is a side of you that resents having to explain your positions.
maybe you do to really respond to questions before moving into an attack.
the posts i see of yours here indicate that this might be a pattern of yours---and i do not mean offense by saying this.....
I don't go into in-depth explanations usually because I don't have time, or feel it's necessary. I will occasionally go more in-depth if asked.

Quote:
what i do sometimes see from conservatives, particularly from organized conservatives on campus, is this sense of martyrdom that links in the last analysis to the sense these folk seem to have that they should get better grades, that they should be other than they are somehow...rather than think about whether the problem lay with themselves, it is quicker and easier to blow smoke about a"liberal" conspiracy of one type or another. and it is that kind of response--which you see all the time in print in various outlets in particular--but which you do not see in actual interactions, even with the same people---that gets me a bit impatient, simply as a function of the smugness that seems to underpin it.
I would make the same statement about liberals OUTSIDE of academic settings. They always want to blame some "vast right-wing conspiracy" for their own personal failings. This comes despite all evidence to the contrary. Despite the huge pro-dem/pro-liberal leaning in most media sources, a majority of the people reject the majority of liberal beliefs/policy. And instead of examining the validity of their beliefs, they seek to belittle the opposition.

Quote:
you assume that your views are above question because they are your views.

but you are moving through a phase, like any other college student, during which you are trying out ideas, trying out positions, big parts of which you are repeating from elsewhere, working through them as you do so.

so what makes you so sure that it is everyone else who is wrong when they ask you questions you do not answer, and that none of the problem lay with yourself?
It doesn't seem as if you really read my post. I stated that conservative views aren't even allowed to be defended, not that they are inherently correct. At least in my experience, if you try to expouse conservative views in some classes they are immediately dismissed.

And I find I find your statements about me "moving through a phase" to be highly arrogant, condecending, and insulting. Especially where you assume that I am just "repeating from elsewhere" my ideas. That is exactly the type of liberal thinking that is wrong on college campuses. Personally, at my university I see more unquestioned beliefs coming from liberal sources. It is a blind spewing of liberal dogma, regurgitated to the student body. There is no questioning, or seeking. It is professors who have apparently solved all the world's problems while never leaving a 2x2 square mile block of campus.
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:12 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I dont really see what this has to do with a dialectic, I also would hardly describe university's being left wing as a paradigm shift.

However, I will say that this shift in political outlook will not be reversed... conservative vs liberal is merely a debate of conscience; but the key debate which is already developing is that of communist against capitalist - in university campuses this is the real debate we are seeing; when people campaign against the current order - EVEN WHEN THEY SAY THEY SEEK TO ONLY REFORM IT, they real desire is to overturn it. The desire and compulsion to replace capitalist relations of production is not fully expressed - the media and education system very powerfully attacks the working class with capitalist propoganda... when someone campaigns for gay mariage, for AA, for extended reproductive rights, for children to be free from religious indoctrination in schools - EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT AWARE - they are campaigning for a system of economy and government that allows ALL of these conditions to be improved and for a true democtratic life.

Whether they name themselves now or not, these colleges are full of people who are now realising communism is the only way forward for society.

To present this as a mere battle of idea's, where the young will always swing counter to the "authoritry" position - then become the next generation who is the authority - which is what ART seems to be arguing is not correct. Communism is not simply an idea which will win out because of its moral and human superiority - it is an intrinsic and unstoppable movement of history, it is an economic necessity that the forces of production are moved in this way. College's, workplaces, message boards - all of these places and all other public places will becoming more and more "liberal", they will become more and more communist - the capitalist point of view may exist individuals, but these viewpoints will be made obsolete - they will no longer exist when the conditions that presently support them are not existing.
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:37 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Communism is not simply an idea which will win out because of its moral and human superiority - it is an intrinsic and unstoppable movement of history, it is an economic necessity that the forces of production are moved in this way. College's, workplaces, message boards - all of these places and all other public places will becoming more and more "liberal", they will become more and more communist - the capitalist point of view may exist individuals, but these viewpoints will be made obsolete - they will no longer exist when the conditions that presently support them are not existing.
Thank god there are people who understand how Communism works, and will fight to the death to prevent it.
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Old 03-31-2005, 03:26 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strange Famous
Communism is not simply an idea which will win out because of its moral and human superiority - it is an intrinsic and unstoppable movement of history, it is an economic necessity that the forces of production are moved in this way. College's, workplaces, message boards - all of these places and all other public places will becoming more and more "liberal", they will become more and more communist - the capitalist point of view may exist individuals, but these viewpoints will be made obsolete - they will no longer exist when the conditions that presently support them are not existing.
I could debate the supposed moral superiority of communism, but I won't. What I do wonder is how you can actually thing that some form of true communism (and here ill differentiate this from Leninist/Stalinist communism, which I would think you would agree isn't true communism) could ever come about with the weight of 10000+ years of recorded history against it. Believing in communism to me seems akin to believing in Santa, or thinking the Earth is flat. A true communist society goes against human nature, and nature in general. I'm actually suprised that anyone really thinks that it's possible. For such a "intrinsic and unstoppable movement of history" there seems to be no place on Earth where any form of true communism is being practiced on a large-scale basis. This might be offtopic, but I would really like to see how you see a communist society functioning. Not just platitudes and catchphases, but actual nuts and bolts of how society would be run. What form of goverment would there be? Who would decide how resources would be allocated? Who would do jobs generally considered undesireable? Would there be luxury goods (and by luxury, I mean anything not directly related to food or bare bones shelter). Who would enforce the laws?
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Old 03-31-2005, 08:06 AM   #39 (permalink)
 
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alansmithee: i had hoped that you would not take what i posted as you did.
i did not mean anything patronizing by it--it you read the other posts in this thread, you'd maybe have seen that i included myself in this dynamic of being and undergraduate and trying out political positions.

my particular relation to students where i teach is conditioned in part by the fact that i remember how i went through this period---so i have no problem with debate, no problem with a diversity of political positions coming from students---i simply assume that developing a political position is as much a process as any other, that it is spread out across time, and that what you experience in terms of debate during an undergrad experience may function as one of the few periods during which you get to experiment explicitly with politics, debate various outcomes etc.

when i was younger and more politically militant, i worked from the assumption that political choices made by students were definitive, would have effects later. as i got older i came to see this as a mistake and with that i changed my understanding of politics in that context-----now what matters to me politically in teaching is getting students to read and think critically for themselves, to take chances intellectually and creatively and not be afraid of awkwardness or failure. the process of assembling a political viewpoint--which does not end, by the way, which shifts across time--and if it does not shift, there is a problem---is not in itself something i particularly worry about--i am interested in prior dispositions and/or skills.

what i am really interested in is trying to give students who engage in creative work a sense of the importance of understanding their work as process and the importance of refusing to give up. but that is another matter.


your understanding of the political environment on the campus where you are may be correct insofar as it is your perception of that environment: but it has no correlation to anything i have experienced on any of the 5 or 6 universities through which i have passed as a student then as faculty. based on what i have seen in these places, it looks to me like you are shutting down the possibilities of debate, and maybe of reflection, that may be around you. but this as far as i can go.
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