Democrats Outnumber Republicans 10:1 at Liberal Arts Colleges
by Raquel Okyay, TLB Contributing Writer and TLBTV Show Host
New research published in Academic Questions finds sharp lopsidedness in the political affiliations of 8,688 faculty at 51 of the top-66 liberal arts colleges, but it also finds that there are differences across colleges and across academic fields.
The paper, written by Professor Mitchell Langbert of Brooklyn College, finds that the military colleges, West Point and Annapolis, are different from the Northeastern, chichi liberal arts colleges like Williams and Vassar. If the two military colleges are excluded from the sample, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is 12.7:1. If the two military colleges are included, the ratio is 10.4:1.
The hard science fields like engineering, chemistry and math; the professional fields like business; and the hard social science fields of economics and political science have Democratic-to-Republican ratios closer to the baseline of a D:R ratio of 1.6:1 than do the soft social sciences and humanities. The interdisciplinary studies fields, such as women’s studies, Black studies, gender studies, etc. have a ratio of 108:0.
Approximately 78 percent of the academic departments in the liberal arts colleges have zero Republicans; specifically, only 21.8 percent of the academic departments among the top liberal arts colleges include one or more Republican. In 39.2 percent of the 51 colleges, there is no statistical difference between the proportion Republicans and zero. Bryn Mawr and Soka, a Buddhist college in California, have D:R ratios of 72:0 and 20:0. The military colleges have ratios of 2.3:1 and 1.3:1.
One of the important implications of the study is its falsification of an often-time claim by Democrats: there are few Republican professors because Republicans lack the ability. However, the fields that are the most difficult and least prone to ideology like engineering, math, and physics are among the fields with the most Republicans.
Democrats also make the claim that there are few Republican professors because of personal choice. Republicans aren’t interested in learning, some say. Yet, sharp organizational differences across colleges show the opposite. For example, conservative college, Thomas Aquinas, has no Democrats. Colleges like Kenyon, Claremont McKenna, and St. John’s College have higher proportions of Republicans. Where there are more supportive environments, as in the military colleges, there tend to be more Republicans, as well. Institutional effects matter.
Neil Gross, Professor of Sociology at Colby College, has claimed that demographic characteristics explain why there are few Republicans in higher education. Professor Langbert shows that Gross’s work, which received considerable attention in left media sources like the New York Times, is flawed by a statistical fallacy called endogeneity, which is an explanatory variable that is correlated with measurement error.
When cause and effect variables are intertwined, noted Langbert, one needs to be careful about asserting causal relationships, and Gross fails to be careful. In addition, the claim that personal or demographic characteristics explain the unevenness in Democratic-to-Republican ratios ignores history.
In University Scientism and American Economic Interests, Langbert said powerful institutional forces shaped American universities and intentionally encouraged their left-wing orientation. These forces included the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the General Education Board, which was funded by John D. Rockefeller. The foundations had influence in the Progressive era, and they were associated with Abraham Flexner’s report Bulletin Number Four, which created the modern medical school. Flexner, who had considerable influence, worked for both foundations at different times.
Later in the 20th century, the federal government became a critical force that shaped the left-wing political orientation of American universities. As Christopher Loss shows in Between Citizens and State, the New Deal directly funded ideological advocacy in agricultural science programs and funded brick and mortar improvements in a wide range of colleges in exchange for ideological compliance.
In other words, colleges are left oriented because they have been consciously shaped that way. That they exclude Republicans now, as Langbert’s new study shows, is the direct result of conscious design.
About Raquel Okyay
Raquel Okyay is a political columnist and commentator. She writes about Second Amendment rights, family rights, and government corruption. She is published at various locations including Human Events, Townhall, Ammoland, Rockland County Times, the Daily Surge and The Liberty Beacon.
Raquel is Director of Radio Programming at WINN World Integrity News Network. She also produces and hosts weekly blog talk radio programs: Rocky & The Gonz Podcast and Nightmare on CPS Street.
In addition, Raquel host her own weekly TV show “In The Crosshairs” on The Liberty Beacon network. (TLBTV)
Raquel hails from New York City and is a Criminal Justice graduate from St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens. She ran for NYC council in 2005 under the Conservative Party banner. She is founder and former organizer of Ulster/Orange Tea Party.
Currently, Raquel is Treasurer of the Reform Party of Florida. She is a volunteer with the statewide group “Why Dads Matter”, and resides in the Tampa Bay area with her husband and two children.
Raquel’s upcoming non-fiction book “The Progression of the New York SAFE Act” will be published soon.
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