Opinion: Why have Republicans soured on America’s colleges?

All of a sudden, Republicans have turned against America’s colleges and universities. This shouldn’t come as a shock.

The finding comes from a new poll by Pew Research Center, which asked whether “colleges and universities have a positive (or negative) effect on the way things are going in the country.” In 2015, 54 percent of Republicans said colleges’ impact was positive, compared to 37 percent who said negative — similar to past years. This year they were nearly reversed: 36 percent positive vs. 58 percent negative.

Democrats continue to look favorably on colleges: 72 percent positive, just 19 percent negative. As with many other American institutions, then, public opinion is split along partisan lines. But this is a fairly new development concerning colleges. What gives?

Again, this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention. Although colleges have for decades been viewed as liberal bastions, the ideological imbalance has gotten out of hand more recently.

(An aside: Is that a broad characterization? Yes. So is asking how “colleges and universities” affect “the way things are going.” I suspect many Republicans still hold State U in high esteem. But if it’s worth asking how a broad category of people view colleges broadly, it’s also worth looking at the landscape of higher education equally broadly.)

What has changed is our awareness of just how radical the new ideologues are, and how impotent — or complicit — college administrators are when faced with their activism.

Recall the fall 2015 protests at the University of Missouri, sparked by a handful of gauzy allegations of racism committed by students, not faculty or administrators, which nonetheless ended with the school president’s resignation. The blow-back to that incident has been more severe than declining public opinion. Freshman enrollment at Mizzou this fall is expected to be 35 percent lower than two years earlier, before the protests.

Recall the numerous incidents this year, from California to Vermont, in which students have shouted down or even physically blocked conservatives invited to speak on campus. In most of these cases, the response from campus administrators has been tepid.

But overzealous students and timid administrators are not the only problems. Consider what Fredrik deBoer, an academic in Brooklyn and self-described man of the “radical left,” wrote about the academy’s traditional ethos of “non-coercion and intellectual pluralism” in reaction to the Pew results:

“I grew up believing that most professors lived by that ethos. I don’t, anymore. It really has changed. For years we fought tooth and nail to oppose the David Horowitz’s of the world, insisting that their narratives of anti-conservative bias on campus were without proof. Now, when I try to sound the alarm bells to others within the academy that mainstream conservatism is being pushed out of our institutions, I get astonished reactions — you actually think conservatives should feel welcomed on campus? From arguments of denial to arguments of justification, overnight, with no one seeming to grapple with just how profound the consequences must be.” (emphasis original)

Republicans read the stories about protesters and witness the bias for themselves; it’s worth noting that Republicans who have college degrees were slightly more likely to view colleges negatively than those who don’t. It was inevitable that these trends, along with our greater polarization more generally, would have an effect on public opinion. The burden is on colleges to show they know how far out of kilter things have gotten, and how they plan to move back toward the center.

Reader Comments 0

409 comments
None
None

So...how much more sour do you think a lot of Americans are going to be when they find out a little something about who our "elite" colleges think is worthy of admission, and who isn't? Maybe something for the Board of Regents to consider. 


I wish Georgia well. 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

There was that guy that people said was addicted to brake fluid.  He said he could stop whenever he wanted.

breckenridge
breckenridge

About 15 years ago the gf and I went out to dinner with a couple and their kid.  The wife and the gf were attorneys at the same firm.  Her hubby and their son, who was a student at The Ohio State University, was home on break and he joined us.


So Junior had gone to hear a speaker at OSU a couple months earlier.  It was the crackpot Hutton Gibson, who is Mel Gibson's old man.  Among other things Crackpot Gibson is a holocaust denier, and when he went on that tirade the kid said it made him a bit uncomfortable since his family is Jewish.

I don't believe there were any protests and, surprisingly, no hecklers in the crowd. There should have been at least a few hecklers yelling "you bleeping dumb-bleep."

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

I'm sure most on here can remember the catchphrase "jobs that Americans won't do". Of course that was used to justify the flow of immigrants many illegal who took those jobs. Then it became the false thinking that all kids should go on to college even if as high school graduates they couldn't even demonstrate proficiency in basic math, reading comprehension etc. So we have them coming out of college with worthless degrees along with tattoos and piercings unable to get a job. Meanwhile if you're close enough to a construction site you won't hear any of the skilled workers speaking English. Walk near a landscape crew and none of them speak English. Yep, jobs that Americans won't take.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@SGTGrit 

You forgot to mention those ear things they put in their ear lobes to stretch them out.  I have no idea what that's all about.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@SGTGrit 

College degrees are a gateway drug to tats and piercings!  You read it here first, folks! 

Also, people who don't speak English are bad for some reason!

Starik
Starik

@breckenridge @SGTGrit Good post, Sarge. We need to quit deporting a huge part of our labor force. Not only do "illegal" immigrants work hard, their kids learn well. They have generally conservative values as well; family, church, work ethic...

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Doomy 

About our voter rolls?

Maybe if they read it from Pew.

According to a recent report by the Pew Center the American voter registration system is in dire need of an upgrade.

** Approximately 24 million—one of every eight—voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate.

** More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters.

** Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.

http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/pcs_assets/2012/pewupgradingvoterregistrationpdf.pdf 

But ^^^ that will require purging the rolls. Progressives are highly sensitive to the word "PURGE".

breckenridge
breckenridge

Opioids are mainly an addiction of the old.  And its to painkillers, not hallucinogens.

And that is what we call clueless.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

<Of the 20.5million Americans12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 591,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.

From 1999 to 2008, overdose death rates, sales and substance use disorder treatment admissions related to prescription pain relievers increased in parallel. The overdose death rate in 2008 was nearly four times the 1999 rate; sales of prescription pain relievers

2010 were four times those in 1999; and the substance use disorder treatment admission rate in 2009 was six times the 1999 rate.

In 2015, 276,000 adolescents were current nonmedical users of pain reliever, with 122,000 having an addiction to prescription pain reliever.>

 https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf

breckenridge
breckenridge

@bu22 @breckenridge 

There is a terrible damn heroin problem in America, especially small town America that offer few job prospects for youngsters.  Do a little reading on the subject, relieve you ignorance.

bu22
bu22

@breckenridge @bu22 When you call someone ignorant, using improper grammar doesn't help your case.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

When we have federal judges passing legislation from the bench and news media organization misusing the freedoms we have for the press and becoming an arm for a political party we are in serious need for reforms. When we have colleges and universities becoming politicized and focusing ideology rather than higher education we are in serious need of reforms for academia. Unfortunately, we've reached that point.

DeepStateDawg
DeepStateDawg

@SGTGrit Which colleges and universities are you referring to, and what actions, specifically, are they taking? 


Which federal judges are passing legislation? I haven't heard of that capability of the judicial branch. 


Which news organizations, specifically, are misusing their freedoms, and how? 

breckenridge
breckenridge

@SGTGrit 

I assume you're calling the ruling on gay marriage legislation from the bench. If two gay people get married why would it possibly matter to you? What does it have to do with the way you live your life every single day? 

And no, what the Bible may or may not say about this topic has no relevance to American law whatsoever.


Next.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@breckenridge @SGTGrit 

Well you did bring up an example of many but to your example federal judges did overturn state referendum results even in the blue state of California that banned homosexual marriage. Next

DeepStateDawg
DeepStateDawg

@Doomy @DeepStateDawg @SGTGrit


There are approx 1,800 four year institutions in the country enrolling approximately 4,000,000 students. 


Riots at Berkeley is your answer? 


Riots at Berkeley is evidence of indoctrination at a level that would constitute massive reforms in academia? 


Sad. 


How about an example right here in good ole' Georgia? Let's keep this exercise local. 

Doomy
Doomy

@DeepStateDawg @Doomy @SGTGrit


Oh. And here is a different example from UGA? Need more?


In November, the University of Ottawa in Canada abruptly canceled its free yoga classes because they were “cultural appropriation” and yoga was connected to “cultural genocide.” Geez. The only thing more ridiculous would be if a university banned like, hoop skirts for being racist or something! Oh wait — the University of Georgia did do that.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/429102/most-pc-moments-college-campuses-2015



FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

@SGTGrit @breckenridge Overturning legislation (i.e. finding unconstitutional) is not writing legislation. It is the court's function to restrain the government from exceeding its Constitutional power. Just because you don't like the ruling doesn't mean the court exceeded its authority or mandate. I can disagree with Citizens United or Heller in terms of the court's interpretation, but they exercised its authority appropriately in each case.


Next?

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Doomy @DeepStateDawg @SGTGrit 

Cancelling a yoga class is a reason to hate colleges?  Y'all need to watch less cable TV, seriously.  It's not good for anybody of any political persuasion, IMO.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Nick_Danger 

I'm not bothered by what others think. But it doesn't serve activists to seek public attention only to withdraw into their safe spaces after doing so.

But there is also a serious danger, which is that people will move to positions that lack merit but are predictable consequences of the particular circumstances of their self-sorting. And it is impossible to say whether those who sort themselves into enclaves of like-minded people will move in a direction that is desirable for society at large, or even for the members of each enclave. It is easy to think of examples to the contrary — the rise of Nazism, terrorism, and cults of various sorts. There is a general risk that those who flock together, on the Internet or elsewhere, will end up both confident and wrong, simply because they have not been sufficiently exposed to counterarguments. They may even think of their fellow citizens as opponents or adversaries in some kind of "war."  --- Cass Sunstein

Cass Sunstein? 

I could speculate that he was assigning that little lesson to the other side (right), but maybe...JUST MAYBE...he intended it for both left and right.

Self-sorting?

LUV IT!

Jamesr1991
Jamesr1991

The facts are clear - the right actually deplores education.

Tealiban_Party
Tealiban_Party

Poor conservatives.  Guess they need their safe spaces like Liberty University.

Doomy
Doomy

@Tealiban_Party


Nah. We're not the ones offended by chalk like the proggy weenies at Emory. LOL!

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Doomy @Tealiban_Party Oh and the "war on religion" isn't all paranoia? maybe if politicians and people would not hide behind their religion and justify their transgressions....

Doomy
Doomy

@RoadScholar @Doomy @Tealiban_Party


I don't know about a "war on religion" but if you don't recognize the left's hostility towards Christians in this country then you're like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand. 

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

@Doomy @Tealiban_Party You know who wasn't offended by the chalk at Emory? The vast majority of students at Emory. Small groups of idiots within these institutions, who can't deal with harsh reality, created "safe spaces," protest, and pitch fits. Meanwhile, college administrations are forced to acquiesce to the idiot few in order to avoid law suits. Then the media blows these nothing controversies out of all proportion. Thus this poll and this "hot take" by Wingfield.


Keep painting everything with a broad brush though. It's entertaining. 

Doomy
Doomy

"DeVos would prefer to place many in 'Trade Schools' to be made into 'slaves' serving the monarchy and not questioning their subordination"- Ralph 43


Yeah. Right. Because learning a skilled trade like being an auto mechanic is "slavery" and because spending 100k on a college education for a poly science degree is so much more useful and productive.  

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Doomy

So, too, spending 100k on a liberal arts degree just to become a bloodsucking leech health insurance salesman!

Doomy
Doomy

@Eye wonder @Doomy


Personal attack right on cue! LOL!


Come on, eyesore. I knows ya got something better than that. Or do ya? LOL!

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Doomy @Eye wonder

Personal attack on whom? You a health insurance salesman?  If so, then, sir, with respect, please accept my apology!

Doomy
Doomy

@Eye wonder @Doomy


Aaaah. Interesting that you left out the "bloodsucking leech" part as if you never even wrote it. LOL! I never seen someone with a 2 second memory unless they had dementia or alzheimers. You been to a Doc lately?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Eye wonder @Doomy

bloodsucking leech 

Such creatures are actually called upon to perform useful services of tangible value

Don't be dissing them like that.


Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Doomy @Eye wonder

"Interesting" how, Doomy? The question was whether you are a health insurance salesman. I stand by the "bloodsucking leech" bit, even if you are one.

Doomy
Doomy

@Eye wonder @Doomy


Interesting that you left out "bloodsucking leech" in your faux apology- glossing over the personal attack as if it never even happened. LOL! 


You crack me up, dude. I think Bruno pegged you right from the beginning. LOL!

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Doomy @Eye wonder

My, my, Doomy.  Are you in a sour mood today or what??

The apology was genuine even though you still haven't explaind the "personal attack."  Do you sell health insurance policies for a living?

As for Brun, he's such a quack, I wouldn't be surprised if he was also a chiropractor! LOL x2!

Doomy
Doomy

@Eye wonder @Doomy


The "personal attack" was in calling someone a "bloodsucking leech". If you don't understand that then I'm afraid I can't help you. I can't dumb it down any further for you. 


And your apology, no matter if it was genuine, is not accepted. You might as well just stick with your original purpose which was to make a personal attack. And don't worry about my fee fees. They aint hurt. I only mentioned that you made a personal attack for the purpose of pointing out that you simply lack the intellect to make a cogent debate point- hence the immediate pivot to personal attacks. 


Bruno? The dude has forgotten more high level mathematics and science than you've ever known by a thousand fold. In terms of brainpower he is the elephant and you are the gnat trying to bite him on the tail. Even you know that. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Doomy @Eye wonder

Hopefully Brun appreciates you worshipping at his feet! LOL

As for the rest of your drivel, your reading comprehension leaves much to be desired. I called health insurance salespeople "bloodsucking leeches." And I stand by that. If you are a health insurance salesperson who has been unfairly swept up in that aspersion, I offered an apology. I think you're a swell guy. Really, I do. ;)

Doomy
Doomy

@Eye wonder @Doomy


Like I said, I can't make it any simpler for you. 


As for Bruno I've read plenty of his conversations regarding high level math and science concepts. You, sir, are simply not in his intellectual league. Not by a mile. And no one needs to "worship at Bruno's feet" to understand something so obvious. 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Doomy We need both. It isn't an either or. Just met a garage/mechanic and he was going to Spain for two weeks. Plumbers make a good living also. But they also have to study, LEARN, and continue to have some sort of ethics. Maybe our lawyer politicians should have gone to trade schools.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@RoadScholar @Doomy @Eye wonder

Apparently Doomy is hearing voices emanating out of Bruno's derriere.  Why Doomy has his head planted beneath Bruno's derriere is beyond me, but there it is, folks. Too funny!  Doomy and Bruno sittin' in a tree...

Doomy
Doomy

@Eye wonder @RoadScholar @Doomy


You can drone on all you want with your gay implications and such. You're just not in his intellectual league. Period. Even you know that. 


I suspect you're simply angry that he pegged you as an upset gay man. It certainly splains your pivot above.