Benjamin Zeisloft, Campus Reform
- A recent study across Britain, Canada, and the United States revealed that a sizable portion of the professoriate discriminates against conservatives.
- Right-leaning academics face disadvantages in hiring, research, promotion, teaching assignments, and several other aspects of their careers.
A study revealed that a sizable portion of professors discriminates against conservatives.
The Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology published a report entitled “Academic Freedom in Crisis: Punishment, Political Discrimination, and Self-Censorship,” which found that a “significant portion of academics” discriminate against conservatives in hiring, promotion, grants, and publications.
The study evaluated data in the United States, Britain, and Canada to determine the extent of anti-conservative bias in academia.
“Right-leaning academics experience a high level of institutional authoritarianism and peer pressure,” reads the report’s summary. “In the US, over a third of conservative academics and Ph.D. students have been threatened with disciplinary action for their views while 70% of conservative academics report a hostile departmental climate for their beliefs.”
Accordingly, in the social sciences and humanities “over 9 in 10 Trump-supporting academics and 8 in 10 Brexit-supporting academics say they would not feel comfortable expressing their views to a colleague.” The majority of North American and British conservative professors “admit self-censoring in research and teaching.”
The report delineates between “hard authoritarianism” — defined as open letters, social media mob attacks, dismissal campaigns, and similar activities — and “soft authoritarianism,” which involves more covert censorship such as discrimination in hiring, grant applications, and assignment of research and teaching tasks.
A small minority of academics supports the former; between 33 and 45 percent of academics in the English-speaking West support the latter.
The problem, though serious, is likely to get worse. Younger academics are “significantly more willing” to support decisions to dismiss controversial professors from their positions.
The report suggests that the government “proactively apply the law to universities, instituting sanctions for institutions that repeatedly breach individuals’ academic freedom while opening up a means for plaintiffs to appeal around their universities to a regulatory ombudsman.”
Campus Reform has frequently reported on a rising tide of skewed perspectives on American college campuses.
For instance, Campus Reform recently covered a Harvard poll showing that the number of self-identified Republicans entering Harvard halved in a single year. Only 7.4 percent of the school’s freshman class identifies as conservative.
Campus Reform reached out to the Center for the Study of Partnership and Ideology for more information; this article will be updated accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft