While liberals outnumber conservatives six-to-one on America’s college and university faculties, the liberal-to-conservative ratio on campuses in New England is a mind-blowing 28 to one.
Politics professor Samuel J. Abrams, a lone voice of conservatism — perhaps even the lone voice — at notably liberal Sarah Lawrence College, crunched the numbers, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Abrams conducted his research by using data from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. The UCLA institute surveys professors around the country periodically. They surveys include questions about political views.
Moving beyond the obvious fact that college professors are liberals, Abrams looked for patterns. Geographic location was the single-strongest factor accounting for political view, Abrams concluded.
The fact that New England — typically the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont — is a liberal place accounts for some chunk of the monolithic leftism on campus. However, Abrams notes, the Pacific Northwest also tends to be liberal and professors on campuses there are nowhere near as consistently liberal.
Compared to New England’s colleges, Abrams told Inside Higher Ed, the land-grant universities that dot the rest of America tend to focus less on academic theory and much more on real-world applications. Also, public and private colleges and universities outside of New England tend to focus far more heavily on technological advancement. The practical focus tends to be create more politically diverse faculties.
Thus, somewhat ironically, colleges in New England have tended to collect ultra-liberal faculties because they are stifled by a lack of emphasis on innovation and by ideologically rigidity.
To the everlasting credit of Sarah Lawrence College — a tiny, hipster-filled campus just north of New York City where a year of tuition, fees and room and board costs $64,788 — Abrams has gained tenure there.
Abrams is also a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
“I cannot say for certain why New England is so far to the left,” Abrams wrote in The New York Times concerning his findings. “But what I can say, based on the evidence, is that if you are looking for an ideologically balanced education, don’t put New England at the top of your list.”