by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
One in three conservative academics has been threatened with disciplinary action for expressing their beliefs, according to a new study that quantifies academia’s liberal bias.
Research from the Center for the Study of Partnership and Ideology released Monday shows that conservative professors and graduate students are “guaranteed” to face discrimination in academia. University of London politics professor Eric Kaufmann conducted the study, which he says is the first to focus on how academic authoritarianism threatens conservatives on campus.
Kaufmann analyzed eight surveys of graduate-level professors and doctoral students, the majority of whom said they would not oppose discriminating against their right-leaning peers in some form. Ten percent of academics support outright cancelling or firing conservative professors who express their views.
The study adds a new dimension to recent stories of harassment and intimidation of conservative voices in academia. Conservatives have long been a minority in American universities, but only recently has so-called cancel culture led to a rise in what Kaufmann calls the “chilling” effect of self-censorship.
“The discriminatory impact is huge,” Kaufmann told the Washington Free Beacon.
Even without “punishment mechanisms,” widespread opposition to conservative views leads to “powerful conformist pressures that make people keep their mouths shut.”
Those pressures are clearly effective. Seventy percent of conservative academics reported that their department created a hostile environment for conservative ideas, according to the study. Nine in 10 Trump-supporting academics reported that they would not feel comfortable expressing their views to a colleague. And more than half of conservative academics surveyed admitted to self-censoring their research and teaching.
Kaufmann told the Free Beacon that the trend is likely to get worse. Twenty percent of academics under 30 support “dismissing” peers deemed controversial, Kaufmann said.