Report: Conservatives Giving Up on Leftwing Colleges

"Parents are now looking elsewhere.”

The Washington Times reports on a Pew Research Center survey released this week reveals that Republicans are steering their children away from colleges that notoriously indoctrinate students rather than educate them.

David M. Whalen, provost of conservative Hillsdale College, said he has noticed an increase in the number of parents sending their kids to Hillsdale to avoid leftwing colleges where conservative opinions are met with ridicule, suppression and violence.

“The educational environment has become so distempered that, in many cases, parents are now looking elsewhere,” said Whalen.

Just 36 percent polled say that higher education is a positive thing for the nation, in contrast with 58 percent who say it has a negative effect. That is almost the reverse of the numbers from two years ago, when 54 percent of Republicans said it had a beneficial effect, and 37 percent described it as harmful.

But since that previous poll, massive student demonstrations shut down the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College in Washington, not to mention the totalitarian anger directed by the students and faculty at high-profile conservative speakers who were disinvited, protested or shut down on nearly every campus.

“Higher education has been progressively radicalizing for a long time, but recent events have brought the extent of it into high relief,” Whalen said. “It’s virtually beyond parody. Campus violence, suppression of speech and intellectual inquiry, and the rather haughty presumption of moral superiority undercut confidence that much of real value is going on there.”

The Times has more details from the poll:

The Pew study, which surveyed 2,504 adults from June 8 to 18 and has an error margin of 2.3 percentage points, also showed Republican opinion of higher education nose-diving among the party’s more conservative members.

Sixty-five percent of self-identified conservatives say the institution has a negative effect on the nation, compared with 29 percent who say it has a positive effect.

Of the five major institutions measured by Pew — churches, banks and financial institutions, labor unions, the national news media, and institutions of higher education — only the media were viewed more negatively by Republicans than academia.

Younger Republicans tend to view universities more favorably, but opinion about higher education is down dramatically among all age groups.

Forty-four percent of Republicans ages 18 to 49 said higher education has a positive effect on the nation, down 21 points since 2015. Just 28 percent of Republicans older than 50 said academia is beneficial to society, down 15 points since 2015.

Seventy-two percent of Democrats said colleges and universities have a positive effect on the nation, up from 65 percent in 2010.

If Republican views toward higher education continue to go south, said Hillsdale provost Whalen, then “the consequences of all this will be many and far-reaching. Legislatures will restrict funding, endowments will be regulated, disciplines known for being radicalized will be taken less and less seriously while the flight to nonideological fields of study will increase, the attention paid to so-called experts in academia will continue to slide and the academic bubble will grow increasingly unreal.”

"This is all tragic, really,” Whalen said, “as a genuinely noble activity is making itself an object of disdain.”