Blue law

, Rosemarie Capozzi, Leave a comment

A recent study by David Horowitz found that of 18 elite law and journalism schools, Republicans made up only a small minority of professors. These findings are representative of similar studies dealing with the political affiliations of professors, including a recently released study by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. According to Horowitz’s research, the findings are stark and straightforward, “America’s professional schools of journalism and law have collectively become a one party state.”

Horowitz looked at the party affiliations of 568 faculty members from schools including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, University of California (Berkley) and New York University. The study relied upon self selection, marking individuals registered as Republicans as Republican and those registered as Democrats to be Democrats. Those faculty members who registered as third party members, including the Green Party, were not counted in this study. Where political party affiliation was unavailable, the study relied on primary voting behavior to identify the individual as Republican or Democrat. Only individuals who voted consistently in the primaries were taken into account in the study.

The findings of this study suggested that of the 18 professional schools examined, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans ranged from 2:1 at the University of Kansas to 28:1 at Stanford University. The average ratio in law schools was 10:1 and it was 7:1 at journalism schools. According to Horowitz, this is not representative of the Blue State/Red State parity in this nation, and is therefore problematic. Horowitz noted, “…when it comes to interpreting the law or reporting on public affairs, everyone will agree that ideology and political pre-disposition matter…this has far-ranging implications for the training of future lawyers and judges…[and] members of the nation’s press corps.”

Horowitz also discounts previous assumptions that political views on these campuses roughly mirror the political landscape of the United States. According to his report, with only a handful of Republicans teaching on campuses, intellectual diversity is limited. Of this, he says, “When the training institutions of entire professions…fail to honor their commitment to academic freedom and intellectual pluralism, they and the nation at large have a serious problem.” He further criticizes these schools for not making a commitment to embrace academic freedom and provide diverse points of views but instead conforming to the ideas on one end of the political spectrum. Horowitz concludes that, “When a school promises a diverse and inclusive education, it has an obligation to provide it.” This obligation extends to ensuring that schools have a variety of members on their faculty that represent various intellectual and academic approaches.

Rosemarie Capozzi is a senior political science major at the University of Maryland.