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  • Writer's pictureCorey Lee Wilson

Who is more liberal: Faculty or Administrators?

This is a quick test, much of it based on a study by Dr. Samuel J. Abrams, professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College, that will challenge students, faculty (teachers, staff and professors), and administrators as to: “Who is more liberal: Faculty or Administrators?”

Dr. Abrams received a disconcerting email in 2019 from a senior staff member in the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement soliciting ideas from the Sarah Lawrence community for a conference, open to all, titled “Our Liberation Summit.”

The conference would touch on such progressive topics as liberation spaces on campus, Black Lives Matter, and justice for women as well as for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and allied people.

As a conservative-leaning professor who has long promoted a diversity of viewpoints among his very liberal faculty colleagues and in his classes, Dr. Abrams was taken aback by the college’s sponsorship of such a politically lopsided event. The email piqued his interest in what sorts of other nonacademic events were being organized by the school’s administrative staff members.

He soon learned that the Office of Student Affairs, which oversees a wide array of issues including student diversity and residence life, was organizing many overtly progressive events—programs with names like “Stay Healthy, Stay Woke,” “Microaggressions” and “Understanding White Privilege”—without offering any programming that offered a meaningful ideological alternative. These events were conducted outside the classroom, in the students’ social and recreational spaces.

The problem is not limited to Sarah Lawrence College. While considerable focus has been placed in recent decades on the impact of the ideological bent of college professors, when it comes to collegiate life—living in dorms, participating in extracurricular organizations—the ever growing ranks of administrators have the biggest influence on students and campus life across the country.

For students, asking faculty to answer the question "Who is more liberal: Faculty or Administrators?" with the below survey questions is a great way to get to know your faculty and administrators and helps makes them aware that the ideological bent of administrators overseeing collegiate life are having the biggest impact on campus culture.

The sampling of 7 true/false type questions on the test can be as follows:

1. Do liberal staff members outnumber their conservative counterparts by the astonishing ratio of 12-to-1?

2. Do only 6 percent of campus administrators identify as conservative to some degree?

3. Do 71 percent of staff members classify themselves as liberal or very liberal?

4. Would you agree that it’s true that incoming first-year students, reported less than a two-to-one ratio of liberals to conservatives, according to a 2016 finding by the Higher Education Research Institute?

5. True or False: In 1994, 7 percent of post-grads were "consistently liberal." Today, the gap is 25 points wide — 31 percent of people with post-grad educations are consistently liberal.

6. True or False: Among the post-grad set, more than half of Democrats and Democratic-leaners today are "consistently liberal," up from fewer than one-in-five in 1994. Likewise, among college grads, it jumped from 12 to 47 percent.

7. True or False: A recent survey of 1,000 Republican and Republican-leaning college students has found that 73 percent of them have hidden their political views in the classroom — because they’re worried that exposing them could negatively impact their grades.

The answers are: Yes, Yes, Yes, True, True, True and True.

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