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The One-Sided University (Part Two)
UCLA Professor Political Party Affiliation


          In determining whether UCLA or any other institution is politically one-sided, the primary challenge lies in quantifying the alleged bias.  For the purposes of this survey, we have chosen Democrat or Republican affiliation as a natural (and above all, clear) representation of where a professor stands politically.  While party registration is certainly not a perfect proxy for a given person's exact politics, it provides a reasonable facsimile.  A Democrat-affiliated professor is unlikely to be pro-life, pro-gun, and strongly in favor of tax cuts, just as a Republican-affiliated faculty member is unlikely to favor a welfare state, affirmative action, or a reduction in American military forces.

             Our study focused on English, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology,  the five largest departments in the social science and humanities divisions, with the Economics faculty serving as a "baseline."  While the results were hardly a surprise given our findings in the political donation survey, the results were still stark.  With 58.7% of the faculty conclusively identified, the Democrat to Republican count stands at 136 to 11, a ratio in excess of 12 to 1.  Even the Economics department, supposedly a refuge of conservatism, still tallies 10 Democrats to only 2 Republicans.

            The incredible imbalance represented in these numbers strongly suggests, as does the survey of political contributions, that at UCLA, students are only hearing one side of the story.  This same imbalance leads to the biased teaching noted in many of our professor profiles.  Not because every Democrat-affiliated professor uses his classroom for indoctrination, but because a 12-to-1 ratio represents a faculty that falls along the entire Democrat spectrum of scholarship and ideology, from mainstream to radical.  UCLA students in these Social Science and Humanities divisions of the College of Letters and Science will thus encounter a full range of ideas from one side of the aisle.  But a Sociology student studying in his major will never once have a Republican professor.  Even in the other four departments studied, the one to three Republicans professors will only present to their students a haphazard sampling of Republican- and conservative-oriented thought and research.

          This abject failure to preserve intellectual diversity (compounded by the documented political abuses by more extreme UCLA professors) undoubtedly has an effect on student political formation.  Just as ominously, this conservative blackout affects students' likelihood to move into graduate study in the field, including Ph.D. programs.  Moreover, because doctoral dissertations are done under the direct supervision of a professor, students pursuing conservative scholarship must find a mentor willing to guide study on an idea that the professor considers personally distasteful.  And even with that barrier behind him, our hypothetical conservative professor candidate must still win the favor of a faculty hiring committee.  Based simply on the ratios discovered in this survey, a typical department's 10-member hiring committee might in any year not have any conservative or Republican members, or at most, a single one.  As with doctoral mentoring, the professors on the hiring committee would again have to swallow their (presumed) distaste for the content and message of the candidate's scholarship.  And, as with doctoral mentoring, the likelihood of this is remote given that the 10-member hiring committee quite likely contains several hard-core radicals who would view conservative ideas as nothing short of ideological fascism.

          Methodology:

          This survey of the political affiliations of tenure or tenure-track UCLA faculty was conducted in January 2003 at the Norwalk, California Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters.  The list of tenure- and tenure-track professors was compiled from the respective department websites, omitting lecturers, visiting and adjunct professors, and joint appointments.

Department
Democrat
Republican
American Independent
Decline to State
Green
IR
Multiple
NP
RM
No Record
Economics
10
2
1
5
0
0
7
0
0
20
English
37
2*
0
4
0
1
8
1
0
13
History
36
3
0
4
0
0
18
0
1
15
Philosophy
6
3
0
2
0
0
2
0
0
2
Political Science
24
1
0
4
0
0
12
0
1
8
Sociology
23
0
0
3
1
0
8
0
0
10
TOTAL
136
11
1
22
1
1
55
1
2
68

KEY:
"Decline to State" is a California voter designation that indicates no public party affiliation. 
"Multiple" indicates the professor has a common name which returned multiple results.  For consistency, no attempt was made to guess which of the voters was the professor, even when geographic location suggested a strong choice.
"No Record" indicates that no voter exists in the Registrar's rolls under that name, or a formal derivation thereof.
"IR," "NP," and "RM" were all Registrar codes reported as the party affiliation.