Balance At Duke, Sort Of

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Although the reports that we get from across the country show that professors are doing their level best to turn their student bodies into voting blocs, in at least one bastion of political liberalism, students are resisting the indoctrination.

“At Duke, there has been an enormous drop in students taking Humanities courses, so students are voting with their feet,” Dr. Michael Gillespie said at a conference in Raleigh, N. C. last month. Dr. Gillespie teaches political philosophy at Duke University in Durham, which is near Raleigh.

Duke’s undergrads can take English courses such as Introduction to Cultural Studies, Spiritual Autobiography, Sexualities in Film and Video, Feminist Studies and Poetry and the Healing Arts. The History offerings also feature at least one course in Gender and Feminist Theory.

By way of contrast, Dr. Gillespie notes, “Two political science professors taught more students in two courses than the entire English department did in all courses.” One of those professors was the identifiably conservative Michael Munger.

At a conference in the Research Triangle earlier this year, Munger noted that his department’s 25% Republican ratio represents the greatest political balance he has known in more than a decade of teaching at the college level. Munger previously taught at Dartmouth, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Certainly, the political science department’s three-to-one Democrat to Republican split gives that division more balance than students at Duke have found in the Humanities there. Earlier this year, the Duke Conservative Union crosschecked the school’s faculty listings against voter registration rolls.

Here are the ratios of Democrats to Republicans in the Humanities at Duke:

History: 32-0


English: 18-1

To come back to the students left behind in left-leaning classrooms, Dr. Gillespie indicates the effects of their re-education may not be long-term:

“Most students come to college sharing their parents’ political beliefs but after four years of college they are 40% more liberal than their parents. Ten years out of college, they are 5 % more conservative than their parents.”