According to a new poll by College Pulse, a majority of conservative students are hiding their political views in the classroom. The survey asked students to respond to the following question: “Have you ever withheld your political views in class for fear that your grades would suffer?”
Seventy-three percent of students who identify as “strong Republican” reported that they had, while 71 percent of students who identify as “weak Republican” said yes.
Even students who identify as Republican-leaning independents indicated they’ve kept quiet: 70 percent reported they have withheld their political views to protect their grades.
Most surveys over the years have found that academia is dominated by professors who identify as liberal or who are registered Democrats.
With that, The College Fix’s new poll results indicate that, under this atmosphere, a large majority of right-of-center students are concerned that openly disagreeing with their educators will have negative repercussions, with only about 30 percent responding they do not withhold their views.
The survey offered student respondents a chance to elaborate on their experience with political discrimination in the classroom. Here are a few of the responses:
• Notre Dame: I actually got yelled at by a professor for my views on gun control. It wasn’t an argument or anything, just plain one-sided insulting.
• Clemson: When writing papers for gen ed classes? Absolutely. I know a guy who chose to write a pro-border wall argumentative essay for our super liberal professor and the prof just wrote “this whole paper is one big fallacy” and bombed him. Me? I wrote about the evils of horse racing. Perfectly safe topic.
• UCSD: Not for fear of a bad grade. But fear of being a social outcast.
• Penn State: “Well I actually have some different thoughts on that.” “Shut up you racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic piece of human garbage!”
• UMass Amherst: Weird how being forced to hide my libertarian views in class for years just sorta drove me underground and now I’m a hyper-authoritarian. Funny how that works.
• NC State: Why would I get myself killed to say I’m a libertarian in a philosophy class.
• Auburn: I have had grades affected when I didn’t withhold my views.
• University of Louisville: I am conservative. I would be crucified. I heard enough horror stories from friends and family to keep my mouth shut and avoid politics in class if at all possible.
Some right-of-center activist groups on campuses across the nation attempt to connect like-minded students for support, networking, education and camaraderie outside the classroom. Among them: Young America’s Foundation, Turning Point USA, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Network of enlightened Women, known as NeW.
Asked to weigh in on the survey, Karin Agness Lips, president of NeW, told The College Fix the results are sad but not surprising.
“We hear from students regularly that their campuses don’t foster intellectual diversity,” Lips said. “Professors and administrators should be encouraging an environment of free intellectual exchange, challenging students, not silencing them. This makes groups that provide an intellectual home for conservatives all the more important.”
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