According to a recent analysis, liberal student-facing college administrators outnumber conservative ones by an overwhelming ratio of 12-1.
The study comes from Samuel J. Abrams, a professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Abrams partnered with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago to develop his survey sample of 900 student affairs professionals across the country.
Aside from the day-to-day social justice nonsense that plagues campus life, the most visible symptom of this imbalance is the scarcity of conservative speakers that colleges host on campus.
An analysis from Campus Reform found that liberal commencement speakers outnumbered conservatives by nearly four-to-one at 50 of our country’s largest public and private universities last spring. A similar report revealed that in 2016-17, liberal speakers outnumbered their conservative counterparts by 44-4 at the University of Indiana, 30-9 at George Washington University, 9-2 at Alabama, and 44-2 at Vermont.
For this to be the case, student affairs administrators must see no issue with it. But why have these officials, who are supposed to enhance the student experience and support the educational growth of their student body, all but banished conservative speakers from campus?
One explanation could be that the candidates who are drawn to student affairs are part of a marginalized demographic, or are simply weak and playing it safe among their leftist peers. As Abrams points out in his op-ed for the Washington Examiner last week, “86 percent of administrators see ‘personal values’ as important when educating.”
They also may be the type who have learned the lingo well enough to play the part and get a fat check at the end of the month.
Whatever the case may be, these people have found their “safe space” in student affairs, where they can advance their social and political agendas with the most moldable and curious minds. Because they’ve surrounded themselves with other like-minded social justice warriors, they assume that conservative ideas and the students or faculty who espouse them are fringe and alt-right, and they have done their best to squash them, not only through their social justice-focused programs, but through the “progressive” speakers they invite to campus.
When President Trump was elected, their minds were blown. Many campuses pre-emptively doubled down on protecting illegal immigrant students and facilitated “sanctuary campus” protests. Northwestern University offered “healing spaces” for those who didn’t support Trump. Hampshire College lowered the flag to half-mast, at which time the students burned the flag to express their “hurt, distress and insult,” and the university president ordered all flags removed.
Despite all of these and other theatrics, administrators have been forced to realize that conservatism was more than just a fringe philosophy, and, shockingly, a large percentage of the campus community might actually share President Trump’s policy views.
Whether or not this changes their approach remains to be seen. Conservative and independent students are more empowered than ever, and aren’t afraid to hear from conservative speakers, as demonstrated by the growing attendance of Young America’s Foundation events at USC, University of Buffalo, and other notably liberal schools.
The number of conservative speakers that college departments host on campus hasn’t noticeably increased, but denial of reality is no longer an option for them.
Brendan Pringle (@BrendanPringle) is writer from California. He is a National Journalism Center graduate and formerly served as a development officer for Young America's Foundation at the Reagan Ranch.