Contrary to the news media coverage, two professors claimed that their research said that left-wing indoctrination and bias on college campuses are not as dangerous as it is perceived to be by the American public. Matthew Woessner, associate professor political science at Penn State University-Harrisburg, and Robert Maranto, a University of Arkansas professor, co-authored the piece onNBC News.
However, interestingly enough, the professors acknowledged that conservative students are often challenged in in-class settings while liberal students are not. They also said they were “particularly concerned about how a one-sided worldview might arrest the intellectual development of America’s best students.” Their other concern was that liberal academic institutions overlook conservative interests such as economic inequality, class mobility, and how the Reagan doctrine helped end the Cold War.
The authors also said that their article was rejected by eight journals because the other journals thought their data was incomplete. They said that they usually “encounter stiff resistance in the peer review process.”
Both professors noted that the leftist takeover of college campuses started “[a]s far back as 1958. Also, they pointed out that the “warring factions” in American society, where conservatives “are convinced that higher education is a hotbed of leftist ideological indoctrination and intimidation” and progressives think “faculty strive for objectivity.” According to their research, “[b]oth sides have missed the mark…by oversimplifying the impact that the left’s dominance has on college campuses.”
Professors Woessner and Maranto admitted they’re both “lifelong Republicans” and attempted to conduct their research without bias and focused on empirical evidence (i.e. numbers and data). Early 2000s surveys showed that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by about three-to-one ratio in conservative fields like economics, six-to-one in political science and STEM majors, and an overwhelming ten-to-one ratio in liberal arts and social sciences.
They pointed out that this, in stark contrast, the general public, is “split fairly equally between the parties.” They added, “No one thinks academia has grown more centrist since.”
However, their research contradicted the conservative narrative that conservative students are “routinely under siege on college campuses.” They do not deny that incidents of political correctness occur on campuses, but they contended that those instances “don’t impact typical students at nonelite campuses.” Meaning, in non-Ivy League or elitist private (or public) universities, most college students do not have to deal with political or ideological conflicts. The professors cited a 2018 study that found 22% of college freshmen consider themselves conservative or far-right and 36% are liberal or far-left ideologues. Most students do not find issues with their mostly-liberal professors, at least that is the opinion of professors Woessner and Maranto.
In short, the professors do not agree with the narrative that conservative students are being widely persecuted. But they pointed out how ideological bias may have prevented this article from being published in four different academic journals and that one-sided liberal indoctrination could hurt America’s college students when they go into the real world.