We have been discussing the virtual elimination of Republican and conservative scholars from many faculties despite the fact that roughly half of the country regularly votes for Republicans or conservative causes. Now a new survey by The College Fix of 65 departments in various states found that 33 do not have a single registered Republican. For these departments, the systemic elimination of Republican faculty has finally reached zero, but there is still little recognition of the crushing bias reflected in these numbers. Others, as discussed below, have defended the elimination of conservative or Republican faculty as entirely justified and commendable. Overall, registered Democrats outnumbered registered Republicans by a margin of over 10-1.
The survey found 61 Republican professors across 65 departments at seven universities while it also found 667 professors identified as Democrats based on their political party registration or voting history.
The survey covered The Ohio State University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Georgia, Cornell University, University of Oklahoma and the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
While there may be a couple professors missed on either side of this ideological divide, most faculty will privately admit that it is rare to find self-identified Republicans or conservatives on many faculties. Most faculties are overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal. Diversity generally runs from the left to the far left.
Another survey found that only nine percent of law professors identified as conservative.
The virtual absence of Republican or conservative members on many faculties are just shrugged off by many academics. It is the subject of my recent publication in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. The article entitled “Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States.”
Notably, a 2017 study found 15 percent of faculties were conservative. This is the result of years of faculty replicating their own ideological preferences and eradicating the diversity that once existed on faculties. When I began teaching in the 1980s, faculties were undeniably liberal but contained a significant number of conservative and libertarian professors. It made for a healthy and balanced intellectual environment. Today such voices are relatively rare and faculties have become political echo chambers, leaving conservatives and Republican students increasingly afraid to speak openly in class.
The trend is the result of hiring systems where conservative or libertarian scholars are often rejected as simply “insufficiently intellectually rigorous” or “not interesting” in their scholarship. This can clearly be true with individual candidates but the wholesale reduction of such scholars shows a more systemic problem. Faculty insist that there is no bias against conservatives, but the obviously falling number of conservative faculty speaks for itself.
The editors of the legal site Above the Law have repeatedly swatted down objections to the loss of free speech and viewpoint diversity in the media and academia. In a recent column, they mocked those of us who objected to the virtual absence of conservative or libertarian faculty members at law schools.
Senior editor Joe Patrice defended “predominantly liberal faculties” based on the fact that liberal views reflect real law as opposed to junk law. (Patrice regularly calls those with opposing views “racists,” including Chief Justice John Roberts because of his objection to race-based criteria in admissions as racial discrimination). He explained that hiring a conservative academic was akin to allowing a believer in geocentrism (or that the sun orbits the earth) to teach at a university.
It is that easy. You simply declare that conservative views shared by a majority of the Supreme Court and roughly half of the population are not acceptable to be taught.
I frankly do not understand why professors want to maintain this one-sided environment in hiring. I was drawn to academia by the diversity of viewpoints and intellectual challenges on campuses. School publications and conferences today often run from the left to the far left. We have discussed a long line of incidents on this blog of conservative faculties being targeted by cancel campaigns with tepid support from their colleagues or administrations. We have become the face of intellectual orthodoxy and it is reflected in these numbers.