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Report: Liberal bias at Howard, AU, U-Md., GWU, Va.Tech

A conservative grass-roots organization that is profiling the politics of the nation's top 100 universities announced Tuesday that Howard University and its faculty are guilty of liberal political bias.

CampusReform.org has taken the concept of liberal academia a step further, compiling in-depth profiles of every university ranked in the top 100 by U.S. News & World Report. Howard is a new addition to the list.

According to CampusReform research, liberal student groups at Howard outnumber conservative groups five to one. Howard has chosen Democratic politicians as graduation speakers three times since 2005: Congressmen Harold Ford, Jr. and Elijah Cummings and former representative Kweisi Mfume.

Howard faculty gave 95 percent of their political donations ($100 million) to Democratic candidates in the 2008 presidential election, and 5 percent ($6 million) to Republicans.

"America's colleges and universities are dominated by liberals, and Howard University is no different," said Morton Blackwell, founder of the Web site, in a statement. "Too often, the campus left uses its power to indoctrinate the next generation."

Here is an excerpt from Howard's profile on the site:

"The campus atmosphere at Howard University is traditionally unfriendly to and unsupportive of conservatives. In 1989, for example, Lee Atwater, then chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), was appointed to the Board of Trustees. But Howard students resisted: they protested and then occupied the school's main administrative building. After a four-day standoff, Atwater resigned.

"Today Howard University has only one right-leaning organization, the College Republicans, and no campus groups for conservatives. In contrast, it offers five center-left political groups, including the College Democrats of America, Howard's Educational Revolution, Howard University Amnesty International, a campus NAACP chapter, National of Islam Student Association, and National Council of Negro Women."

Other local institutions don't fare much better.

American University: "traditionally unfriendly to and unsupportive of conservatives."

Virginia Tech: "82 percent of . . .faculty and staff donated to Democratic candidates in the 2008 election -- an astounding sign of political conformity on campus."

University of Maryland: "There are 25 political student groups on campus of which 20 are liberal and five are conservative."

George Washington University: "faculty can display bias in the classroom."

The current list of schools begins at the 100th-ranked school and ends at the 51st, which suggests that Georgetown, U-Va. and the College of William and Mary will get due consideration in coming months.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  August 10, 2010; 12:19 PM ET
Categories:  Administration , Pedagogy , Rankings , Students  | Tags: CampusReform, liberal bias AU, liberal bias GWU, liberal bias at Howard, liberal bias at colleges, liberal bias in academia  
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Comments

Don't these paranoid busy-bodies having something better to do, like work?

Oh, and since when are "Student's For Life" a conservative group? Why are they conflating economic conservatism with the religious right? Those two are orthogonal, and I know quite a few of the former (on and off campuses) that want nothing to do with the later.

Do these same folks conflate creationism with conservatism? If anything, evolution (mano-a-mano fight for the best ideas, or genes in this case) fits with the logic behind economic conservatism (bottom-up optimization of a complex system), whereas creationism, with it's top-down nature, would seem to argue against evolution and economic conservatism.

Posted by: steve1231 | August 10, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Don't these paranoid busy-bodies having something better to do, like work?

Oh, and since when are "Student's For Life" a conservative group? Why are they conflating economic conservatism with the religious right? Those two are orthogonal, and I know quite a few of the former (on and off campuses) that want nothing to do with the later.

Do these same folks conflate creationism with conservatism? If anything, evolution (mano-a-mano fight for the best ideas, or genes in this case) fits with the logic behind economic conservatism (bottom-up optimization of a complex system), whereas creationism, with it's top-down nature, would seem to argue against evolution and economic conservatism.

Posted by: steve1231 | August 10, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I am a graduate of Howard University. It's clear that the University reflects the political opinions of the majority of its students. I don't understand why CampusReform.org would expect anything different. There aren't more conservative groups because there aren't more conservative students who have decided to start them. As noted, it was the students who objected to Atwater being a Board member.

What political role does CampusReform think a university should play? They should promote conservatism to their students? I am sure if you look at universities in conservative ares the "bias" would be exactly reversed.

Posted by: SweetieJ | August 10, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Uhhhh, other than Liberty U and Regent U, all colleges are GAY/Anti-Life/Hate America.

Man bites dog? No.
Dog bites man? No.

Man bite Man? Shocker.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | August 10, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I am not surprized at this at all.
Of course Universities have a liberal bias. they have access to books and computers. Their professors have degree's and Phds.

If you want Universities with a conservative bias, have joe the plumber teach and take away everyones library cards.

Posted by: MarilynManson | August 10, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

In other news, grass is green.

Posted by: HughJassPhD | August 10, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Tell us what we don't know already....

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | August 10, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

CampusReform.org also went after Michael Mann at Penn State, which to me means that they have no integrity. Science is not a left-right issue. Policy is. If they were serious, they would be discussing left/right policy of global warming. The fact that they took the low (and cowardly) road of attacking the scientists suggests that they are little more than a puppet group for industries that would benefit (e.g. Koch).

CampusReform.org and Young Americans for Freedom: you are no Bill Buckley (who was an honorable man).

http://psu.campusreform.org/group/events/2010-02-08/rally-for-academic-integrity

Posted by: steve1231 | August 10, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

So, what do they want to do about it? Have conservatives boycott college? Oh, that will work well.

Ask for reform legislation that affirmative-action-style requires a conservative group be formed for every liberal one? Campus groups are formed and maintained by students at most universities. It's conservative-style economics at its best: what students demand is what is supplied, because students supply it. Oh, and wouldn't such regulation be contrary to the conservative de-regulation spirit? It's like asking anarchists to form an organized party and name a leader.

I really don't see what the purpose of this research is other than to find one more thing to complain about--which isn't limited to conservative groups, of course. Complaining, blaming, and whining is one thing that all political allegiances hold in common.

Posted by: whiteflame128 | August 11, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Have I misread this report or does it say members of Howard's faculty donated $106 million to Democratic and Republican candidates in the 2008 presidential election cycle? If it really does say that, I think I'd like to have a faculty job at Howard. I presume the pay is stunningly good.

Posted by: gilbertbdunkley | August 11, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

In other breaking campusreform news, the sun rises in the east.

Posted by: mamaspearl | August 11, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

I get so tired of this. If conservatives want influence in education, then GO into education. But no, they prefer to go into business and politics. So, shut up, or go into education.

Posted by: jckdoors | August 11, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

This is the hypocricy of universities. They spend all their time yapping about diversity, but then only hire lefty professors.

Studies have shown that university administrators (deans, presidents) are simply less likely to hire conservatives.

The usual reply is, "well, there aren't many conservatives in academia for us to choose from".

OK, but the number of whites with PhDs far exceeds the number of blacks with PhDs. Has that stopped universities from doing their best to hire blacks as professors and make them part of the diverse experience for students? Of course not.

So why aren't universities doing the same in tring to recruit conservative professors?

Posted by: Hk45 | August 11, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Hitler also complained about the Liberals and Jews who filled Germany's Universities. Then he had his brownshirts go and physically attack them and kill them. There is a memorable scene in the film Sophies Choice where that happens.

Is campusreform trying to stir up the same kind of hate and division that Hitler did?

Posted by: MarilynManson | August 11, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

of course not mentioned are every other college and university in the area - as well as the countless "bible colleges" around. if someone wants to receive a conservative education, he/she has plenty of choices that these activists just can't be bothered to talk about - it's just way too much fun and profitable or something to point a finger and stir up emotions.

do you see liberal groups going around and spreading this stuff about the likes of Falwell and Robinson and their universities?

Posted by: hohandy1 | August 11, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm shocked - SHOCKED! - that a historically Black college like Howard would have an overwhelming majority of its faculty support Democrats. It's not like blacks traditionally vote for Democrats and it's also not like the very first Black presidential candidate with a legitimate chance of winning the election ran in 2008.

Speaking seriously now, it's generally been found that the more degrees one has, the more likely a person is to vote Democrat/be liberal. I believe that the most liberal party in the US that gets votes in any real numbers - the Green Party - has a higher percentage of people voting for it with PhDs than any of the other parties (Repub, Dem, Libertarian, etc...) and since most professors have PhDs, it's not at all a shock that they tend to be more liberal.

Posted by: rj2835a | August 11, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Coming into a progressive college as an apolitical ignoramus, I came to believe that I liked being considered a liberal-minded person and that liberal thinking tends toward constructive thinking. Liberals often have positive and reasonable ideas for dealing with problems, whereas conservatives often are without solutions, feel no need for solutions beyond holding the present line or going back to some imagined "better" time. Somehow, for me, the idea of stand-pat conservatism and inaction is contrary to the positive can-do spirit which made for so much progress in this country.

Posted by: paulco | August 11, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

The statement that 82% of faculty at any university donated to Democrats is surely false, and the WaPo reporter surely knows enough to correct it. The vast majority of faculty do not donate to anyone and will not be listed in databases.


Posted by: Hopeful9 | August 12, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

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