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Jewish World Review Jan. 30, 2003/ 27 Shevat, 5763

Larry Elder

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Leftist bias in college -- the denial continues | "Buck Fush."

Thus said the bumper sticker placed on the classroom wall by a teacher in a public high school. At another public high school also in Los Angeles, with the principal's permission, 600 Fairfax High School students walked out of the school at noon and took to the streets to protest America's possible war on Iraq. The students clearly considered the upcoming United Nations report by Hans Blix irrelevant, as the students planned the protest days in advance. According to a police spokesperson, the walkout caught the force flat-footed, with some student protestors throwing rocks and other debris.

Wait 'til they get to college.

On college campuses across America, teachers influence students by running down America, demeaning capitalism, exaggerating "oppression" against minorities and women, and denouncing Republicans in general and George W. Bush in particular. In "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America," my new book, I argue that leftists dominate campus teaching. University of California Los Angeles education Professor Peter McLaren, in a recent UCLA Daily Bruin article, attacks my "right-wing libertarianism" and denies the charge of liberal bias, asserting, "The claim that leftist professors and teachers have taken over universities is palpably misguided." Really?

American Enterprise magazine examined the political registrations of professors in 20 colleges and universities. The study divided the registrations into those belonging to a "party of the left" -- either Democrats, Greens, or some other liberal political party; and a "party of the right" -- either Republican or Libertarian. Take, for example, Professor McLaren's UCLA. Of the 31 English professors with a registered political affiliation, 29 belong to a party of the left. Of the 56 history professors, 53 belong to the party of the left. Of 13 journalism professors with an affiliation, 12 belong to a party of the left. Of 17 political science professors with a registration, 16 belong to a party of the left. And of the 33 women's studies professors, 31 belong to a party of the left.

What about Cornell University? Of the 12 anthropology professors, 11 are registered to a party of the left. Of 13 economics professors, 10 are with a party of the left. Also on the left, 35 out of 36 English professors. All 29 out of 29 history teachers are registered with a party of the left. Of the 17 political science teachers, 16 registered to the left. Psychology professors totaled 25 to the left out of 26. Sociology managed a 7 registered to the left out of 7. Women's studies was 33 to 0 to the left.

Stanford University? Anthropology, 15 of 16 to the left. Economics, 21 of 28. English, 31 of 33. History, 22 of 24. Political science, 26 of 30. Psychology, 20 of 20. Sociology, 11 of 12. Women's studies, 5 of 5.

Pollster Frank Luntz, last year, surveyed the political affiliations of Ivy League humanities professors. Fifty-seven percent called themselves Democrat, and only 3 percent Republican. When asked to identify the best United States president in the last 40 years, they named, by the largest plurality, Bill Clinton. And while only 11 percent of Americans support reparations, 40 percent of professors approved.

This tracks the leftward tilt in journalism. A 1995 poll by the Roper Center for the Freedom Forum showed that 89 percent of Washington reporters polled voted for Bill Clinton, versus 43 percent for the general public. And only 9 percent described themselves as right of center. But at least most journalists profess a goal of nonpartisanship. Elaine Povich, former Capitol Hill reporter with the Chicago Tribune, insisted, "One of the things about being a professional is that you attempt to leave your personal feelings aside as you do your work."

Do college professors teach their politics without providing alternative points of view? Must they?

The American Association of University Professors' general secretary, Mary Burgan, insists that professors labor under no such obligation. "It would be impossible to do that," said Burgan, "given how many opposing viewpoints there are. It is the job of the faculty to decide which critical, relevant and commanding ones to concentrate on in the classroom." University of California San Diego Provost David Jordan agrees, "Why should I teach a point of view I don't agree with? I should teach what is useful to the student. I don't know that I have a responsibility to teach somebody's view that is benighted or irrelevant." Don't tell that to UCLA Professor Robert Hennig, who says, "If you just present your views, you are doing a disservice to your students."

Question: To what extent do professors' leftist views affect their students' worldview, ideology and voting patterns? UCLA political science Professor Thomas Schwartz, a Republican, says, "It has to."

In other words, if teachers teach ineffectually, why bother going to class?

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate