Professors’ political partisanship part of reality
Spring semester has come and gone, leaving us a year stronger and a year wiser as shaped by our social and classroom interactions.
We stand now before a great cave, our shields raised and swords at ready, preparing to do battle with whatever final demons that may lurk within.
Our mentors have trained us well for this day — shaping our minds like hardening clay and strengthening our grasp on the world around us through trial and tribulation.
But as we reflect on the path that has brought us to this grand moment, it is important to consider not only the academic knowledge gleaned from the words of our professors, but what biased influences they may have shared as well.
As noted neo-conservative author David Horowitz said, many college professors practice “politically radical” teaching methods, preaching ideology as fact in order to recruit students as activists in particular causes.
Horowitz spoke to ASU students last year about this phenomenon, promoting his new book, “One-Party Classroom,” that asserts there is a strong liberal bias among university professors as evidenced by a multi-year study performed on several universities, including ASU.
“Whole sections of the universities have been taken over by political parties,” Horowitz said. “Women’s studies is not the study of women. It’s an attempt to indoctrinate students into a radical ideology.”
Professors are four times more likely to be liberal than conservative, according to an analysis of General Social Survey data from 1996 to 2008 by researcher Neil Gross and Ethan Fosse, with 43 percent identifying themselves as fully liberal.
In evaluating why so many professors are left-leaning, we can look at the liberally favored Prop. 100, which if passed could spare Arizona’s universities an additional $48 million in funding cuts.
The bill has been heavily endorsed by both teachers and faculty, sharing concern for both ASU and the future of Arizona’s education system.
It is these shared values, such as the importance of education, that lead individuals to aspire to become professors in the first place.
Such political biases are inherently bound within the profession itself and are an unavoidable reality of our society.
Mark Twain once said, “All schools, all colleges, have two great functions: to confer, and to conceal, valuable knowledge. The theological knowledge which they conceal cannot justly be regarded as less valuable than that which they reveal. That is, when a man is buying a basket of strawberries it can profit him to know that the bottom half of it is rotten.”
Everyone has an opinion, professors included.
While it is ultimately a teacher’s responsibility to assure a sensible separation of fact from opinion within the classroom setting, we know that this task often falls within the student’s lap.
Send Hal your own personal fact and fiction at email@example.com