American Colleges Openly Discriminate Against Conservatives. Here’s the Proof.

July 17, 2017

American Colleges Openly Discriminate Against Conservatives. Here’s the Proof. Image via Aimorn1992 / Shutterstock.com

What’s tougher than being a college professor in the United States? That’s easy: being a conservative college professor in the United States.

For many years now, American universities have been bastions of leftist thought. Every day, students attending colleges are met with more than just college classes; indeed, they are regularly subjected to the influence of the left. You might be wondering why this is happening.

The reason the left dominates colleges is because many universities deliberately exclude professors who are conservatives. The leadership of many of these schools seek to preserve their ideological grip over our higher learning institutions. This means that they have to ensure that leftists make up the majority of the teaching staff. That might sound like a silly conspiracy theory, but allow me to explain.

Conservatives on campus are outnumbered 5-to-1

The breakdown of the professors of most universities shows a staggering disparity between the number of liberal professors vs conservative professors. Studies have demonstrated that left-wing professors vastly outnumber those on the right.

The Washington Post states that in the university, “liberals now outnumber conservatives by roughly 5 to 1.” This is despite the fact that there are a greater number of Americans who identify as conservatives than there are liberals.

As David French explained in National Review:

Only 12% of university faculty identify as politically right of center, and these are mainly professors in schools of engineering and other professional schools. Only 5% of professors in the humanities and social-science departments so identify.

It is clear that there is a huge gap between how conservative and liberal professors are represented in colleges. However, you might be wondering how this means universities are purposely discriminating against conservative professors. Keep reading.

Universities protect progressive dominance by discriminating

One of the primary ways that schools ensure a liberal majority among their teaching staff is through their hiring practices. When looking for candidates to hire, colleges typically pass on the applications of professors who have shown that they have conservative leanings.

In a piece for The New York Times, liberal journalist Nicholas Kristof explored this issue. He wrote:

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.

For the article, Kristof also spoke with a sociology professor named George Yancey. Yancey, a conservative Christian, talked about the discrimination that right-wing professors experience in the academic setting:

Yancey, the black sociologist, who now teaches at the University of North Texas, conducted a survey in which 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 discrimination becomes worse if the applicant is an evangelical Christian. According to Yancey’s study, 59 percent of anthropologists and 53 percent of English professors would be less likely to hire someone they found out was an evangelical.

These studies have shown that a high percentage of professors have admitted that they are less likely to hire someone if they identify as conservative. These numbers don’t even account for the professors who would not admit to discrimination but practice it nonetheless. However, this is not the only way they exclude conservatives during the hiring process.

Some colleges try to hide this blatant discrimination

One of the other ways that colleges prevent conservatives from gaining employment is the job descriptions. Many universities craft their job descriptions in a way that presents an inherent leftist slant. David French explains:

It’s difficult enough for even well-qualified leftists, but often academic departments define academic positions in such a way that effectively excludes the conservative point of view.

In another piece for National Review, French also provides an example of a job description for a tenure-track professor of “religion, violence, and peace-building” at Harvard’s Divinity School. The job description stated:

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.

There is nothing left or right wing about the subjects of religions, violence, and peace-building. But the description itself uses such terms as “intersecting forms of social power” and “feminist and/or queer approaches.” These terms are the lens through which the left sees the world in which we live.

A conservative is not likely to see religion, violence, or peace through the prism of “intersecting forms of social power.” By drafting job descriptions using decidedly leftist terms, colleges are excluding a conservative professor who might be able to teach on the given subject just as effectively as a leftist professor.

To some, discrimination on the basis of ideology may not seem like an important issue. However, there are fundamental reasons why the exclusion of conservative professors is a critical problem that both liberals and conservatives must address.

Students — both conservative and liberal — deserve better

By keeping conservatives out of the world of academia, the left is solidifying their hold on institutions that help shape the minds of our young students. They are ensuring that the people who attend their classes will only be subject to left-wing ideas. Not only that, they are using their platforms to stifle any form of intellectual dissent.

They claim to be tolerant of all ethnicities, religions, and sexualities, but the truth is that they are only accepting of people who think like them. And they are teaching our students to behave in the same way.

While the left may believe it is better to present only liberal views to college students, they are doing a tremendous disservice to those they purport to educate. Many college students today have been insulated from any point of view that conflicts with the left’s views.

Research shows that students benefit from viewpoint diversity in their learning experience and that discrimination causes an imbalance. In 2015, a group of social scientists with diverse political backgrounds published a major study in the peer-reviewed journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences. They explained:

Psychologists have demonstrated the value of diversity – particularly diversity of viewpoints – for enhancing creativity, discovery, and problem solving. But one key type of viewpoint diversity is lacking in academic psychology in general and social psychology in particular: political diversity. … The underrepresentation of non-liberals in social psychology is most likely due to a combination of self-selection, hostile climate, and discrimination.

This doesn’t just hurt conservative students — it robs liberal students of a fundamental part of a classical liberal education.

Universities today pay the cost of their decisions

Each day, students attend classes that only serve as an echo chamber that reinforces one set of ideas. This means that students are unable to think critically — and when their views are challenged, they do not know how to respond.

We’ve seen an alarming rise in incidents of violence at universities who host speakers with unpopular or non-progressive views. One reason for the strife is that many of these students have been brainwashed into believing that those with whom they disagree are hateful. Their lack of exposure to different ideas has made them more vulnerable to manipulation by the left.

If universities want to help students increase their knowledge and skills, they cannot continue to exclude professors with different points of view. Fortunately, there are people on both the left and the right that see this exclusion as the problem. Let us hope that in the future, our universities will become institutions of education, not indoctrination.


Jeff Charles

Jeff Charles is a writer and political commentator. Jeff's writing has been featured on Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post.