Diversity in hiring is the top priority of most colleges and universities. However, the effort to hire more women, minorities, and LGBT individuals notably lacks one group: ideological diversity. It is well-known that most faculty are composed of an overwhelming majority of liberal and democratic members. However, this view, while generally accepted, is largely anecdotal. Now a new study by Heterodox Academy Director of Research Sean Stevens and Brooklyn College Professor Mitchell Langbert claims to have put hard numbers on that lack of diversity. In reviewing records with the Federal Election Commission, they say that they found that professors gave to Democrats over Republicans by a 95:1 ratio.
The researchers looked at 2,301 political donations and found that 2,081 went to Democrats while just 22 went to Republicans. Only nine professors gave to both parties.
An earlier study found that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a 10:4 ratio. Business Management Associate Professor Mitchell Langbert reviewed the party affiliations of 8,688 professors at 51 of the top 60 liberal arts colleges listed in U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 rankings.
These studies magnify concerns for those of us who have objected to increasing speech regulation on campuses — restrictions that have seem to be more often applied to conservative students and speakers. Indeed, academics have at times been at the heart of such attacks on the free speech rights of conservatives on campus. In one incident at the California State University where assistant professor of public health professor Greg Thatcher is shown on a videotape wiping out the pro-life statements written in chalk by members of Fresno State Students for Life.
Perhaps the most unnerving controversy involved the confrontation of Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young with pro-life advocates on campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Miller-Young led her students in attacking the pro-life display, stealing their display, and then committing battery on one of the young women. She was convicted and sentenced for the crime. Despite the shocking conduct of Miller-Young and the clear violation of the most fundamental values for all academics in guaranteeing free speech and associational rights, the faculty overwhelmingly supported Miller-Young and the university decided not to impose any meaningful discipline. Faculty and student defenders attacked the pro-life advocates and one even referred to them as “terrorists” who did not deserve free speech. Miller-Young should have been fired but was instead lionized by faculty and students.
A recent study found at Harvard found that only 35 percent of conservative students felt free to share their views on campuses. That chilling effect is the result of not just open hostility to conservative voices on campus but a striking lack of diversity among academics in terms of ideology.