"I don't know any polite way of putting this -- but he's lying," said professor John Ellis, president of the National Association of Scholars' California division. Ellis was reacting to a critic's characterization of the NAS's damning report, "A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California."
California taxpayers spend $2.8 billion to educate the more than 230,000 students at the 10 campuses that comprise the UC system. But the report says the UC system does not help students learn how to think, but rather teaches them what to think. And what they "learn" is that they are victims -- whether of racism, sexism, classism or discrimination because of sexual orientation. Liberal profs, says the report, turn the UC campuses into "a sanctuary for a narrow ideological segment of the spectrum of social and political ideas."
Nationwide, left-wing professors vastly outnumber conservative professors in the humanities. It isn't even close.
The report cites several studies, including political scientist Stanley Rothman's 1999 study: "Whether the question was posed in terms of liberals versus conservatives or Democrats versus Republicans, the margins favored the former by nearly 5-to-1 in each case, and in some departments the results were overwhelming. For example, in English departments the margin was 88-to-3, and in politics 81-to-2."
A different 2007 study, says the report, found the 5-to-1 margin between liberal versus conservative professors had become 8-to-1. Almost 20 percent of professors in social sciences and 25 percent of sociology professors self-identifies as "Marxist."
And things are getting worse. Younger professors tend to be even more liberal than older ones. Among UC Berkeley's associate and assistant professors, according to one study, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by 49-to-1 in all departments -- including sciences. When Berkeley associates and assistants replace the older professors as they retire, the extreme 8-to-1 tilt in favor of liberal profession could reach 50-to-1.
UC Berkeley professor Robert Anderson, the critic whom Ellis accuses of "lying," called the report "short on facts, but long on innuendo and anecdotes." Is it? The 87-page report looked at course descriptions, books assigned, faculty's political party registration and self-identification of ideology, and student feedback.
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