Friday, December 03, 2004

Sigh
Well, we've made the Wall Street Journal again, and for all the wrong reasons: "A recent informal survey at Yale, where students answered questions about academic freedom posed by the Yale Free Press, the conservative/libertarian student paper, also deserves attention. Although the entire first run of its November issue containing the study was stolen on campus, it can be downloaded at www.yale.edu/yfp. To sum up: While some Yalies said that politics either didn't arise in class or caused no problem because they shared the professor's views, others recounted unpleasant experiences. One example:
'My teacher came into class the day after the election proclaiming, "That's it. This is the death of America." The rest of the class was eager to agree, and twenty minutes of Bush-bashing ensued. At one point, one student asked our teacher whether she should be so vocal, lest any students be conservatives. She then asked us whether any of us were Republicans. Naturally, no one volunteered that information, whereupon our teacher turned to the inquisitive student and said, "See? No one in here would be stupid enough to vote for Bush." ' "


Unfortunately, this is all too common, and I know plenty of conservatives who've had similar experiences. I had a class last year that contained so much Bush-bashing from the professor (a lecture class with no response forum available) that once or twice I found myself packing up noisily, standing, making eye contact with the professor, and walking out. Sure, I still got a good grade because he had no idea what my name was, but it was still an extremely awkward environment where I was supposed to be learning something useful about politics and its relation to the media.

Sigh. On the plus side, I find myself more capable of debating the logic behind conservatism thanks to the intolerance found at this school. I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

UPDATE [12/3/2004 - 17:02]: All of this via InstaPundit.

The Boston Globe reports on A left-wing monopoly on campuses: "Today campus leftism is not merely prevalent. It is radical, aggressive, and deeply intolerant, as another newly minted graduate of another prominent university -- Ben Shapiro of UCLA -- shows in 'Brainwashed,' a recent bestseller. 'Under higher education's facade of objectivity,' Shapiro writes, 'lies a grave and overpowering bias' -- a charge he backs up with example after freakish example of academics going to ideological extremes[...]

At about the same time, a poll of Ivy League professors commissioned by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture found that more than 80 percent of those who voted in 2000 had cast their ballots for Democrat Al Gore while just 9 percent backed Republican George W. Bush. While 64 percent said they were "liberal" or "somewhat liberal," only 6 percent described themselves as "somewhat conservative' -- and none at all as 'conservative.'[...]

The New York Times reports that a new national survey of more than 1,000 academics shows Democratic professors outnumbering Republicans by at least 7 to 1 in the humanities and social sciences. At Berkeley and Stanford, according to a separate study that included professors of engineering and the hard sciences, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is even more lopsided: 9 to 1."


As I've pointed to before a great documentary has been made on the subject, viewable for free at AcademicBias.com.


The Economist has a great piece covering a new book by Tom Wolfe, which satirizes (quite accurately, I might add from what I've read) the college life. They also relate it to the classic God and Man at Yale by Willian F. Buckley (both available at Amazon via links below). The main point: "Academia is simultaneously both the part of America that is most obsessed with diversity, and the least diverse part of the country. On the one hand, colleges bend over backwards to hire minority professors and recruit minority students, aided by an ever-burgeoning bureaucracy of 'diversity officers'. Yet, when it comes to politics, they are not just indifferent to diversity, but downright allergic to it."

                         


UPDATE [12/3/2004 - 17:56]: Not everyone accepts the mounting evidence listed above as proof. Today's Yale Daily News offers a guest column by Kanishk Tharoor: "It is undeniable that Democrats disproportionately outnumber Republicans in the halls of higher education, yet this imbalance does not breed an atmosphere of censorship. Most Yalies would be hard-pressed to remember a single occasion of genuine political discrimination by a teacher against a student. Moreover, leftists often feel as embattled on campus as right-wingers."

Maybe he should read a bit more of the news before making his claims. Remember the Yale Free Press article I quoted earlier in this post (via the Wall Street Journal)? Well, here's another quote: "In many cases, I've had professors write on essays that they do not agree with a statement made or the viewpoint of my papers. In terms of analyzing a piece of literature, this may be acceptable. However, I've had this occur when writing on topical issues or opinions. And when asked why I received a certain grade, I've been told, 'I don't agree with your position.'"

And another: "It's not so much that I feel indoctrinated as I feel intimidated. In a small class, English class of 15, current political issues and figures are often discussed, with one side being ridiculed by the prof and students. I am the only one who doesn't share those views, but won't say so."

Mr. Tharoor may be right in his assertion that "Most Yalies would be hard-pressed to remember a single occasion of genuine political discrimination by a teacher against a student" I'll concede that. But maybe that's just an indication that most Yalies are liberal and totally oblivious to the real discrimination conservatives at this institution feel, and the chilling effect it has over us.

All I can hope is that all of this media coverage will eventually result in a less-liberal academic community in this country.

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