The Magazine

Do Campuses Tilt Left?

Yes, Virginia, faculty bias does exist.

Apr 9, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 29 • By MARY EBERSTADT
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Let's try instead Dr. Johnson's famous method of critiquing Bishop Berkeley's "idealism" (he kicked a stone and said, "I refute it thus"). A high school senior of my acquaintance recently was interviewed for admission to an Ivy League school. Because he is interested in government, he asked about the political scene on campus--specifically, whether there was any variation of opinion among professors there. The response was immediately reassuring. Despite what the young man may have heard, this alumnus of the institution told him, there was real diversity on this campus. Such diversity! In fact, this alumnus could actually name a professor in the arts college as a known man of the right.

As it happens, I know that professor. He is the same faculty member who was the only non-liberal/left member of that same faculty two decades ago, when I happened to attend that university myself. That's what is meant by "diversity" on campus. And there, with all due respect to the social scientists and the methodological nitpicking of their "faculty bias" study, is just one among many stones one could kick to refute anyone who suggests otherwise.

Mary Eberstadt is a Taube Family Foundation fellow at the Hoover Institution, author of Home-Alone America, and editor of the recently released Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys (Simon and Schuster/Threshold).