The regents of the University of Colorado voted to initiate a survey of political bias that will study whether conservatives suffer discrimination at the hands of the liberal majority on campus.
Republican regents Sue Sharkey and Jim Geddes sponsored the motion, which was approved by the full board last week, The Denver Post reported. Geddes read statements from conservative professors who said their colleagues treated them with contempt and hostility.
“Those who don’t have a liberal viewpoint don’t share their viewpoints — they’re in hiding because their views are made fun of by their peers,” said Geddes, reading an anonymous statement from a conservative professor. “They’re called stupid.”
Regent Stephen Ludwig, a Democrat, called the anonymous testimony “hearsay.”
“We’re a board trying to make policy decisions, and accepting anonymous information is challenging to me,” he said.
Still, the board passed the motion unanimously, though chairman Michael Carrigan, a Democrat, did not vote, according to The Daily Camera.
Several professors offered testimony regarding the campus political climate. Their accounts differed on whether political bias was a recurring trend at the university. An engineering professor, Paul Chinowsky, said that he had never witnessed any discrimination against conservatives. But Paul Nagel, a law professor, said that some academic departments — including the law school — were overwhelmingly liberal, and hostile to other views.
The study will also survey campus bias as it relates to race, gender and sexual orientation.
The board postponed a vote on a second resolution, which would explicitly prohibit political bias on campus, until the survey was completed.
Chris Schaefbauer, a leader of the student government, testified against the second resolution, saying that only historically oppressed and underrepresented minority — such as racial and sexual minorities — need legal protection.
“I’m just not sure the resolution is the right place to put that protection,” he said in a statement. “There are underrepresented groups who have a need for that protection — I’m not sure that political identities fall under that category.”
The study will cost between $40,000 and $100,000.
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