It’s been evident for a long time that the intellectual climate on many of our college campuses is hostile to those (students, faculty, administrators) who are not “progressive” in their opinions. Unless you’re gung-ho for redistribution of wealth, radical environmental policy, diversity, and other leftist crusades, you’ll suffer many slings and arrows.
But that’s a general impression. We ought to look deeper.
In today’s Martin Center article, Pete Peterson, dean of Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, writes about the value of campus climate surveys that seek to find out exactly how lopsided things are. He writes:
The use of “climate surveys” has become standard for colleges to evaluate the social and academic environments on campus. In most cases, questions do not engage political topics, but the time for change has come: It’s necessary to comprehensively understand the “climate” for America’s conservative students and faculties on campus.
In particular, Peterson applauds the survey done at Pomona College, where president Gabrielle Starr created a “Public Dialogue Task Force.” A key finding:
Pomona learned that while 72 percent of “very liberal” students felt “comfortable expressing my political views with my professors,” only 35 percent of “very conservative, conservative, moderate” students could say the same.
Peterson would like to see more such surveys, which would be important steps toward rebuilding confidence in our institutions of higher education.