Recently, Teen Vogue published an op-ed that attempted to debunk the myth that universities are left-wing institutions. Instead, as Asheesh Kapur Siddique–an assistant professor of history at UMass Amherst and the author of the piece–insists, they’re institutions where the right dominates academia.
While there are right-wing higher education institutions like Hillsdale, Liberty, and Grove City College, I respectfully disagree with Professor Siddique that most universities are right-wing institutions.
Take a look at Campus Reform and the College Fix, and sometimes the National Review or the Daily Wire if you want a plethora of examples of left-wing bias on college campuses. Sure, those are all right-wing sites but unless it’s a Her Campus contributor complaining about white privilege at her predominantly white institution, you won’t see official left-wing sites covering stories about right-wing campus bias.
Professor Siddique argues that despite statistics showing that professors tend to lean left, you can’t discern a university’s modern zeitgeist by surveying professors’ political leaning. Sure, professors’ overall political leanings don’t tell the whole story; it’s only one piece of the story. However, conservatives don’t argue solely on political leanings. They point to the overall culture, which consists of the students, professors, and administrators’ biases.
From my own experience, I can cite plenty of examples that show a dominant left-leaning culture on my own college campus. For instance, stating pronouns in an introduction is a familiar ritual. Faculty and staff are discouraged from calling students “women”, despite the college being a women’s college. To kick off Pride Month and Juneteeth in 2020, my college encouraged the community to donate to LGBT organizations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and they would match that donation. I was assigned a reading that talked about how interracial lesbian sex positions between Barbie dolls demonstrated different power levels.
There are countless groups for Black and LGBT students. Banners stating “Love is Love” and “Black Lives Matter” were flown under light posts. When Argentina legalized abortion until the 14th week of pregnancy, a professor at my school weighed in on it in an interview before my college published an article titled “Expanding women’s rights around the world.” When the campus left discovered I was a Republican and harassed me about it, the school didn’t do anything about it. Meanwhile, when a right-wing blogger roasted some students for harassing white locals that walked around or near campus without a mask, the school issued a statement via email accusing the blogger of being racist, homophobic, and anti-semitic and encouraging gender-based violence and offered self-defense classes. No way these kinds of things would happen at a right-wing institution.
Granted, I go to Mount Holyoke College, one of the most left-leaning colleges in America. Regardless, I’ve talked to students from across the country who go to more mainstream or relatively conservative schools, and they would tell you about similar experiences.
Professor Siddique argues that there aren’t partisan teaching methods, like calculus or medieval literature. I agree that there isn’t a “Republican” or “Democrat” way of teaching Shakespeare or supply and demand curves. However, pedagogy isn’t the problem. It’s the books and readings assigned and the theories and ideas eulogized, which happen to be more left-leaning than right-leaning.
The article also suggests that universities are right-wing institutions because university boards are controlled by “the corporate capitalist regime.” They consist of “business executives, bankers,” and “white-collar lawyers” who work at prestigious businesses. While university boards have a lot of power over a school, boards of trustees do not determine what kind of culture that is being promoted. Boards of trustees have no control over what kinds of conversations happen in a seminar, or what professors teach and promote in the classroom.
The jobs of a board of trustees or professor’s pedagogies are not the problem when it comes to left-wing bias on college campuses. The problem is the overall culture: from the ideas promoted by left-leaning teachers, the assigned readings, to the students’ own biases, and so on.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.