As a college professor, hardly a week goes by that I hear from frustrated students who feel they can’t speak freely. It’s not just my students, of course; a 2021 survey found that more than 80% of American students censor themselves. But it is not only their fellow students that make students ashamed of expressing their point of view; data shows that Gen Zers – those born after 1996 – are less censorious than their millennial elders. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that some of the pressure for ideological compliance comes from much higher up, especially from university administrators.
Long before meeting their teachers, students talk to college administrators. They are ubiquitous in residences and social spaces where they play the role of informal counselors. But these administrators also set the terms of engagement and the rules of student discourse, including what can be said and done, what subjects are sacrosanct, and what should never be questioned.
And they’re very, very liberal.
In fact, college administrators are the most left-wing group on campus, according to polls. There are 12 times more Liberal administrators than the Conservatives. Just 6% of campus administrators identify as conservative to some extent, while 71 identify as liberal or very liberal. And 86 percent of administrators think their schools should be as concerned about students’ “personal values” as they are about their intellectual development.
If you want to know why over 80% of students censor themselves in class, on campus, and online, start with their administrators.
That’s exactly what I did, interviewing 1,500 administrators in contact with students in nearly three dozen schools. What I discovered is that these admins have incredibly narrow views. They are surprisingly monolithic, although they come from a variety of educational institutions, ranging from large public research universities like the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Florida, to small colleges like Rhodes. and Lafayette, and private schools like Boston and Rice. The universities.
How did the directors become so uniform in their views? What I discovered while researching college staff is that the majority of administrators – 54% – have degrees in education. And reports have shown that graduates of education programs are obsessed with narrow progressive views of demographics, identity, diversity and capitalism, as well as ideas about the oppression they believe permeates American society. These views are also supported by dozens of centers, which publish academic statements and initiatives to promote them.
The truth is not to be sugar coated: America’s education programs are dangerous for higher education because they adhere to a pedagogy that turns their graduates into activists. Their training teaches future administrators to deconstruct the society in which they live, then to promote their views at work, in dining halls, dormitories and across campus.
It should come as no surprise, then, that college administrators today try to dictate the very language their students are allowed to use, which they see as “a powerful tool that can be used to perpetrate and perpetuate science. ‘oppression’.
In this, college administrators are in fact typical of their age cohort. Almost two-thirds of directors (63%) are Millennials (25-40), the cohort least likely to feel embarrassed by the cancellation culture, according to polls. This makes them out of sync with the U.S. workforce at large, where Millennials make up only a third of U.S. workers (35%).
More importantly, there is a huge disconnect between what students study today and the journey of the administrators who advise them and set the tone for many dialogues on campus. Data on graduation shows that 21% of today’s students have pursued education and training in science, engineering and related fields, 21% are pursuing studies in management, administration and leadership, and 15% are pursuing studies in management, administration and leadership. orient towards training in sports and health professions.
On the other hand, a minimum number of administrators have training in the fields preferred by the students. Only 7% of directors have degrees in leadership, 4% in sports and health and 4% in science, mathematics and engineering. Meanwhile, only 4 percent of students pursue a degree in education, the degree held by the majority of their administrators.
And of course, many more students are curators than administrators. In fact, only 35.5% of students align themselves with the liberal or far-left ideology of their administrators, according to recent polls, while 22.2% say they are conservative or far-right.
So while it’s dangerous, it’s also not surprising that graduates of education programs who are obsessed with social justice education and training are promoting these concepts on college and university campuses.
Ironically, a refrain heard by college administrators is that in order to be a legitimate educator, those teaching on campus must be like the students being taught. This ignores the fact that the very administrators who promote this mistaken belief are almost nothing like the students they claim to be advising.
If you want to understand where the Awakened Revolution came from, college administrators are a good place to start.
Samuel J. Abramsis Professor of Politics at Sarah Lawrence College and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.