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Old 07-14-2009, 06:26 PM
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Default Nearly All My Professors Are Democrats

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0713/p09s02-coop.html

Quote:
Eugene, Ore. - When I began examining the political affiliation of faculty at the University of Oregon, the lone conservative professor I spoke with cautioned that I would "make a lot of people unhappy."

Though I mostly brushed off his warning assuming that academia would be interested in such discourse I was careful to frame my research for a column for the school newspaper diplomatically.

The University of Oregon (UO), where I study journalism, invested millions annually in a diversity program that explicitly included "political affiliation" as a component. Yet, out of the 111 registered Oregon voters in the departments of journalism, law, political science, economics, and sociology, there were only two registered Republicans.

A number of conservative students told me they felt Republican ideas were frequently caricatured and rarely presented fairly. Did the dearth of conservative professors on campus and apparent marginalization of ideas on the right belie the university's commitment to providing a marketplace of ideas?

In my column, published in the campus newspaper The Oregon Daily Emerald June 1, I suggested that such a disparity hurt UO. I argued that the lifeblood of higher education was subjecting students to diverse viewpoints and the university needed to work on attracting more conservative professors.

I also suggested that students working on right-leaning ideas may have difficulty finding faculty mentors. I couldn't imagine, for instance, that journalism that supported the Iraq war or gun rights would be met with much enthusiasm.

What I didn't realize is that journalism that examined the dominance of liberal ideas on campus would be addressed with hostility.
Quote:
A professor who confronted me declared that he was "personally offended" by my column. He railed that his political viewpoints never affected his teaching and suggested that if I wanted a faculty with Republicans I should have attended a university in the South. "If you like conservatism you can certainly attend the University of Texas and you can walk past the statue of Jefferson Davis everyday on your way to class," he wrote in an e-mail.
Quote:
As we hammered away at the issue, one of his colleagues with whom he shared an office grew visibly agitated. Then, while I was in mid-sentence, she exploded.

"You think you're so [expletive] cute with your little column," she told me. "I read your piece and all you want is attention. You're just like Bill O'Reilly. You just want to get up on your [expletive] soapbox and have people look at you."

From the disgust with which she attacked me, you would have thought I had advocated Nazism. She quickly grew so emotional that she had to leave the room. But before she departed, she stood over me and screamed.
It has been quite a while since I was in a college classroom. I wish I could say that I stood up to my professors; however, I kept my mouth shut to get a good grade. You can't win. If you confront them on their bias, you will get a bad grade and it will hurt your future career.

What has been your experience of political bias on campus?
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