College campuses are the training ground for class warfare and conservatives have long complained of a strong liberal bias in college classrooms.
Now left-leaning academics confirm that they would discriminate against conservatives, according to a new study which will be published in the September edition of the journal of Perspectives on Psychological Science.
"In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues," say psychologists Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers, after their survey of a representative sample of academics and scholars in social psychology.
Researchers asked "whether in choosing between two equally qualified candidates for one job opening, they would be inclined to vote for the more liberal candidate over the conservative."
One respondent wrote, if department members "could figure out who was conservative, they would be sure not to hire them," and at least a third of the respondents said they would discriminate against the conservative candidate.
The more liberal the respondent was the more willing they are to discriminate and ironically the higher their assumption that conservatives do not face a hostile climate in the academy.
The survey questions "were so blatant that I thought we'd get a much lower rate of agreement," Mr. Inbar said. "Usually you have to be pretty tricky to get people to say they'd discriminate against minorities."
The finding reflects only what respondents said they would do, not necessarily what they actually would do in real life, cautioned Mr. Inbar, a previous volunteer for the Obama campaign.
Mr. Inbar and Mr. Lammers found that conservatives fear that revealing their political identity will have negative consequences.
Harvey Mansfield, a conservative professor of government at Harvard University contends that the anti-conservative bias is significantly pronounced and unsubtle. Conservatism is “just not a respectable position to hold” in the academy, where Republicans are caricatured as Fox News enthusiasts who listen to Rush Limbaugh," says Mansfield.
Conservatives represent a distinct minority on college and university campuses.
Survey responses from faculty members at 183 American colleges across American colleges and universities show that liberals and Democrats outnumber conservatives and Republicans by large margins and that liberals generally teach at the so called better institutions.
A 2007 report by sociologists Neil Gross and Solon Simmons found that 80 percent of psychology professors at elite and non-elite universities are Democrats. Other studies reveal that 5 percent to 7 percent of faculty openly identify as Republicans.
Seventy-two percent of professors describe themselves as liberal and among elite universities that number was 87 percent, according to a 2005 study by Stanley Rothman, S. Robert Lichter and Neil Nevitte.That is about four times as liberal as the general public.
Roughly 20 percent of the general population is liberal and 40 percent is conservative.
Conservatives are in an uphill battle for the hearts and mind of a generation--most students probably graduate without ever having a class taught by a professor with a conservative view point.