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February 23, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Guest Opinion: Forget Stanford's cardinal red -- paint it (almost) as blue as Berkeley Guest Opinion: Forget Stanford's cardinal red -- paint it (almost) as blue as Berkeley (February 23, 2005)

by Daniel B. Klein and Andrew Western

The popular vote for President went 48 percent Democrat and 51 percent Republican. This nearly one-to-one national diversity is unlike colleges and universities, where a one-party system prevails.

We have conducted a scholarly study of voter registration and find that among Berkeley faculty the Republicans are outnumbered 10 to 1. At Stanford the ratio is 7.6 to 1. Lumping both together gives 9 to 1. Talk about a lack of diversity! If this were a gender, race or ethnic-background study it would be considered almost evidence of discrimination.

We analyzed gender, tenured rank and departments. What we found is more telling than the overall ratios. Consider the broad grouping of departments:
Distribution by Grouping:

These numbers show the skew especially extreme in the social sciences and humanities. Virtually all the professors in politics, sociology, history, philosophy, psychology and English are Democrats. Even in economics, a field supposedly friendly to free markets, the combined ratio of the schools 4.5 to 1.

The data by professor rank shows a strong pattern:
Distribution by Rank:

Among the younger ranks, assistant and associate, we find only six Republicans -- five of them are assistant professors, so if they do not make tenure they will be gone. The few Republicans are disproportionately full professors, meaning they are nearer to exiting. That means that in the coming years the skew must become even more extreme. It is no exaggeration to say in these schools, Republicans are an endangered species.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in the 2003-2004 election cycle the University of California and Stanford are among the top three educational campaign givers, their money going nine to one to Democrats over Republicans. UC employee money that went to the presidential candidates showed 95 percent to Kerry.

The Center for the Study of Popular Culture (CSPC) and The American Enterprise magazine have jointly conducted voter registration studies for six departments at 32 top schools, finding 10 to 1 overall. Among the 32 were Berkeley and Stanford. A raw-data check shows that CSPC was less thorough than we were, but honest. There is no bias in the discrepancies. Serving as a random "spot check" on the CSPC's integrity, our study lends credibility to CSPC's 10 to 1 result for the 32 schools.

Serious academic studies based on nationwide surveys also find that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the social sciences and humanities faculties is at least 8 to 1. The one-party system is an established fact.

It is often argued that a student would not develop fully if faculty were grossly lopsided by race or gender. A 9-to-1 ratio of males over females, for example, would seem to indicate a lack of diversity. Doesn't this apply to political orientation? Yet social democrats (small d) utterly dominate university teaching and research.

Equal representation is a tenet of democracy, yet academic Republicans are being eradicated by academic Democrats. The university campus is a place where young men and women develop ideas and conclusions on many topics. Thomas Jefferson noted that as people pass through life, few have occasion to revise the opinions they form in college. The Democratic domination of academia affects all Americans.

Neither of us has ever voted Republican. We are libertarians and think Bush and most of the Republicans in Washington, D.C., are catastrophic for liberty. The Iraq invasion was entirely wrong. But you don't have to be a Republican to see the problem.

At campuses across the country, the lopsided faculty steer political discussions in a predictable direction -- to the left.

Daniel B. Klein is associate professor of economics at Santa Clara University and serves on the Pacific Research Institute's Business and Economic Studies advisory board. Andrew Western is an undergraduate student at Santa Clara University. Their work on academic political culture will be published by the National Association of Scholars and may be accessed at www.nas.org.

 

 


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