BY: RYAN ADELL, CONTRIBUTOR
Whether it’s Harvard University handing out a “Holiday Placemat of Social Justice,” and discontinuing the use of the word “House Master” on their campus, or public figures like Michael Bloomberg blasting Ivy League universities for “censorship” of its conservative students, people are wondering just how politically left-leaning top United States universities are. This also begs the question of whether liberal students create liberal universities, or if liberal universities create liberal students.
Many of the United State’s most prestigious universities offer courses that could be seen as blatantly left-leaning, such Brown University’s courses titled, “Humans, Nature and the Environment: Addressing Environmental Changes in the 21st Century,” “Crises in American Capitalism,” and “Marxism after Marx,” or Amherst College’s course titled, “Taking Marx Seriously,” in addition to Princeton University’s, “Economic Inequality and the Role of Government.” These courses, coupled with left-leaning professors, could potentially make for some politically skewed lectures. While these courses are only electives, they are certainly not geared towards conservative minded students.
But are professors at these universities actually detoured with their own, possibly liberal, political agendas? According to Fox News, 96% of Ivy League professors’ campaign donations in 2012 went to Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Even at Princeton, which is known to be more conservative than the other top universities, reported having only one faculty member and a janitor donate to Governor Romney’s 2012 campaign. Additionally, according to the Federal Election Committee, similar percentages, upwards of 98% of university professor’s campaign donations in the 2016 election were to democratic candidates Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Whether or not these donations have any bearing on a professor’s teaching is unknown. However, President Obama, who taught law at the University of Chicago before becoming a senator and eventually President, “tested his ideas in the classroom,” according to colleague Dennis Hutchinson.
Multiple articles and forums have surfaced where conservative students at top United States universities have reported feeling ostracized in regard to their political beliefs. In fact, conservatives have been complaining about under representation at top colleges since the 1950’s, and many Republicans have called on these schools to stop the discrimination and pay attention to faculty biases.
Of course, the best way to prove if these claims are true or not is to see for yourself. It is a possibility that university admission committees are looking to add more political diversity to their campuses. However, before you’re attracted to the prestige of high ranking universities, be aware that you may be politically ostracized once you arrive.