Opinion: ASU needs to be cautious about becoming a political echo chamber

Overwhelmingly liberal faculty hurt liberal and left-wing students

When students are only exposed to one side of the political aisle, it can harm their learning experience because they are not given the opportunity to strengthen their arguments or explore opposing views.

Despite the preconceived notion that the majority of college students and youth today are liberal, a Gallup poll showed that only 30% of young adults identify themselves as liberal, while 26% identified as "conservative." 

A survey conducted by the Higher Education on Research Institute polled incoming freshmen on their political views. 

The research showed that in 2014, college faculty members were 28 percentage points more likely than freshman students to identify as liberal.

Colleges are meant to challenge students and allow them to question their previously held beliefs. Many liberal students at ASU and other universities may never have the chance to challenge their beliefs due to a lack of diverse political identity within the faculty.

According to a study published by the National Association of Scholars, the ratio of liberal to conservative professors at 51 of the top 66 liberal arts colleges is 10.4-to-1. 

“I definitely think there’s a challenging of the conservative mindset, a sort of treatment of conservative ideas as if they’re ridiculous and not worthy of discussing," President of ASU College Republicans and senior political science major Jeremiah Willett said. 

Number of Democratic Faculty Members for Every Republican in 25 Academic Fields

Post with 0 votes and 655 views. Number of Democratic Faculty Members for Every Republican in 25 Academic Fields

These overwhelmingly liberal institutions can be detrimental to the student body as a whole, and most harmful to liberal and far left students themselves, because these students are rarely exposed to viewpoints other than their own.

“I had an economics professor (who) quite vehemently talked about how Trump and his economic policies are destroying America," Willett said.

On the other hand, conservative students have the advantage of hearing arguments and perspectives opposing their own and can prepare themselves for when their ideas are challenged.

College should never be an echo chamber for students. It should be an environment that fosters a healthy exchange of ideas and opportunities for students to learn about the different perspectives of situations.  

The issue isn’t that professors are indoctrinating Republicans and turning them into Democrats. Rather, the issue is that liberal students are usually missing out on an essential part of education which is to have their preconceived notions properly challenged. 

In one of my courses at ASU, a professor had us sign an agreement saying that we had to acknowledge controversial leftist beliefs about race and gender, including the social construct of gender and institutional racism, before we were able to discuss our opinion in class. 

The issue I had with this was that these beliefs were never actually brought to discussion but rather stated as fact. 

ASU administrators have the obligation to ensure that there are diverse thoughts and affiliations represented throughout the professors and faculty members across all departments instead of perpetuating an overwhelmingly leftist system that leaves conservative ideologies almost inexistent. 


Reach the columnist at knmoore6@asu.edu or follow @Kellenmoore23 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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