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Political study says the university has a liberal bias

first_imgA study by Campusreform.org shows that USC as an institution has a liberal bias, according to its assessment of administrative policies, campus groups and faculty members.The website determined that the liberal political bias of campus life is in part because of the disproportionate number of liberal clubs on campus. Of the 17 political clubs at USC, 11 are liberally oriented.Micah Scheindlin, political director of USC College Democrats, said that the number of political clubs is a reflection of the political composition of the student body.“If students are liberal these are their personal views and the number of clubs shows their excitement and beliefs,” Scheindlin said.Campusreform.org stated that the USC faculty is also has an overwhelmingly liberal bias.It cites that of the USC faculty and staff who donated to the 2008 presidential campaigns, 91 percent contributed to Democratic candidates — amounting to $80,548, according to Campusreform.org.Marissa Lorion | Daily TrojanUSC faculty and staff donated only $7,933 to Republican candidates in 2008.But Ann Crigler, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute for Politics, says that there is a difference between contributions to a party and a political candidate.“It is not safe to necessarily draw parallels between candidates and political parties,” Crigler said.Campusreform.org is a social networking site “to provide conservative activists with the resources,” according to its mission statement.It has more than 14,000 affiliates on college campuses across the country, according to Abby Alger, new media manager for CampusReform.org.“We are an online hub for conservative and libertarian organizations and offer support and outreach to student groups on college campuses,” Alger said.Campusreform.org has eight permanent field reps, who help to start conservative and libertarian clubs on college campuses.“We hope to restore the balance and fix the playing field, which is tilted too far to the left at the moment,“ Alger said.Crigler cautions such evaluations of political biases on campus.“Equating partisanship with bias is not a 100-percent foolproof way of doing it,” Crigler said. “Republicans and Democrats are not entirely different.”Alger said, however, that such a disproportionate faculty has a negative effect on the classroom atmosphere.“[Faculty and staff] partially skew what goes on in the classroom and there is an imbalance in political outlets and allies for conservative students on campus,” Alger said.Crigler, however, said that universities typically tend to appear more liberal than conservative.“If they define liberals and conservatives as ends of the spectrum and liberals as critical thinkers and developers of new ideas, then any university fits a leftist political bias,” Crigler said.The university’s administration also expresses political bias, according to Campusreform.org, by offering courses such as Politics of Global Environment (IR 323), which emphasizes “biodiversity and global governance” and Critical Studies in Whiteness (AMST 543), which focuses on how “whiteness operates within specific racial regimes to perpetuate inequality.”The website also said that the administration expresses a leftist political bias because it received a “red light” for violating students’ freedom of speech when controversial activist David Horowitz visited campus.According to Crigler, such institutes as the Unruh Institute demonstrate USC’s active stance to create bipartisan discourse on campus.“Unruh regularly hosts political discussions on campus, where political clubs conduct analyses of campaigns and policies,” Crigler said.last_img

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