There is a liberal bias at Cal Poly, and it permeates into the classroom and onto our campus. It wraps itself in the authoritative voice of our teachers and administrators, who proclaim that they want to “educate” us. However, this liberal bias does not educate, but rather, stifles relevant debate and undermines the fundamentals of an open and “liberal” education, one that should freely support multiple points of view.
While there is a definite liberal bias present at Cal Poly, proving it exists and to what extent, is difficult to do. However, in an attempt to quantify the liberal bias at our school, several Cal Poly College Republicans using a list of the names of professors and documents open to the public at the county clerk’s office were able to compile a list of the party identification of the professors, who are registered to vote here in San Luis Obispo County.
By college (excluding those professors who put declined to state, third parties, or those not registered in San Luis Obispo), Liberal Arts had 98 Democrats to 11 Republicans; Science and Math, 72 Democrats to 19 Republicans; Engineering, 45 Democrats to 25 Republicans; Architecture, 23 Democrats to 3 Republicans; Education, 8 Democrats to 2 Republicans; Business, 15 Democrats to 12 Republicans; Agriculture, 31 Democrats to 39 Republicans (go Aggies!).
Overall, 90 professors declined to state, while there were a total of 13 professors registered Green, 5 registered Libertarian, and 1 registered Socialist Working Party. While looking through the public records of my professors and their party affiliation, I wasn’t really surprised by what I saw. However, the experience was worthwhile, because it was interesting to confirm my thoughts about certain professors. (It was also interesting to find out the middle names of some of my professors.)
While the numbers suggest a liberal bias, especially in the Liberal Arts College, it’s debatable whether professors act on their party affiliation. For instance, being a registered Democrat does not necessarily mean the professor injects a liberal bias within the classroom.
Likewise, many would argue that having a liberal bias isn’t even a bad thing.
Liberal bias or any other bias is actually tolerable, to an extent. I will admit some of my professors actually have really good Bush jokes. Likewise, it didn’t really bother me (or affect my grade), when one of my professors laughed at me in class for believing in the “free market.” Personally, I think opinionated professors spice the classroom up a bit.
However, it is unfortunate that there are professors who will nudge a paper down a few grades if a person takes a position contrary to their own beliefs (this really happens). Many professors give extra-credit or free leaves of absence to attend certain propaganda-filled events, speeches or rallies. Other professors distort content or choose lecture material and books that promote a liberal agenda and speak negatively of conservatives.
For instance, while browsing the campus bookstore I saw copies of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” as required reading for a course, but I didn’t see Bjorn Lomborg’s “The Skeptical Environmentalist” (a must read!) or any similar book required.
In other cases, some professors will resort to ad hominem attacks in classroom discussion to intimidate conservative students. Sometimes, the particular assignments, tests or essays are asked in such, which give students few options to validly disagree with the opinions of the professor.
Along with this, most of our administration openly supports a liberal agenda. Just look at the clubs that have a permanent residence in the University Union: the LGBT, Multicultural Center, and Women’s Center. Similarly, the administration only invites certain speakers, specifically ones who support their narrow view on the environment. It also supports and funds a Sustainability Week along with other bogus “weeks,” and actively promotes movies such as “An Inconvenient Truth” in Chumash.
All of this, despite considerable scientific evidence that runs contrary to the doom and gloom, we only have 100 years left to live, save the polar bears, and don’t eat red meat, opinion promoted by our school. In fact, the school hardly acknowledges that such an opinion exists.
While I have experienced liberal bias in the classroom and by our administration, I have learned, like many others, to tolerate and adapt my oral comments and writing content within class to accommodate this atmosphere. It’s unfortunate that an institution which claims to celebrate “diversity” at all costs has hypocritically and blatantly ignored ideological diversity and mainstream conservative thought that much of America holds.
Brian Eller is a materials engineering junior and Mustang Daily political columnist.