Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Moderate Bias on Campus

Both Inside Higher Ed (free) and the Chronicle of Higher Education (sub. req.) highlight a study (PDF) by assistant professors at Harvard and George Mason universities. This study is slightly more valid than what's been thrown around in conservative circles by people like David Horowtiz in recent years. What the study shows is that while the numbers of self-identified conservative professors are low--under 10 percent--the number of moderate professors is growing and the number of liberal professors is declining.

So what does this all mean? Inside Higher Ed cited Larry Summers' analysis (yes, that one), "pointed to a problematic liberal domination at elite research universities."

What's confusing to me is why this is "problematic." No one surveys investment bankers, although they mostly all are likely to come out somewhere in the libertarian camp. No one surveys social workers for "liberal bias." To me, how a person identifies politically has very little to do with his or her job. But in the last couple of decades, both professors and journalists have come under fire for having political beliefs.

It's confusing to me, though. After all, the people who read newspapers are mainly grownups, and all the people taking classes at major universities and colleges are at least 18--legal adults. What this suggests is a kind of infantalization of grownups: They can't think for themselves, so we have to make sure there's no bias whatsoever in college classes or newspapers.

Cross-posted on campusprogress.org/blog.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...