A recent Pew Research Center study shows a dramatic shift in public opinion about higher education, with a split along party lines. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, whereas 72 percent of Democrats have a positive attitude toward the institutions. This is a significant shift from just two years ago.
With protests shutting down speakers and discussions on our college campuses, is it any surprise that Republicans have issues with the current state of higher education? Research shows that college faculties skew sharply to the left of the political spectrum, meaning that students are increasingly hearing only one perspective in the classroom and it is a perspective that accepts an expansive role for government in the economy and rejects many of the constitutional limitations that are the bedrock of the American political system. This jeopardizes intellectual diversity and the search for truth in higher education, to our country’s detriment. Students should be encouraged to debate and engage on issues with people they may not agree with. College administrators and faculty should secure a campus environment that protects the First Amendment rights of all students and rejects censorship.
With the price of a college education skyrocketing and the landscape of the American economy rapidly changing, we must make sure that students are graduating with the ability to think critically and form nuanced opinions. That can’t happen if they only encounter one point of view. Students deserve to receive a balanced educational foundation and it’s the job of college administrators to ensure they do so.