Prof: There has ‘always been a prevailing bias against conservatives’ in higher ed

One Maryland professor is speaking out against the crowd and warning others of the lack of viewpoint diversity and tolerance in American academia. 

Campus Reform spoke to Towson University professor Richard E. Vatz about his  Baltimore Sun op-ed titled “Towson professor: Higher ed discriminates against conservatives,” and his assertion that there exists a rampant bias against conservatives within America’s colleges and universities. 

“I have had a lifetime of being in academia, and there has always been a prevailing bias against conservatives and conservative thought of the professoriate and students,” Vatz told Campus Reform.”

“This has been manifest in the usual ways that discrimination against a stigmatized group is accomplished: psychological and sociological ostracism, including difficulty in getting hired or hired at the level one deserves; difficulty in getting published; difficulties in getting grants; difficulty in getting promoted, tenured and participating in high profile activities in one’s college or university and particularly in one’s national organization; difficulty in getting scholarships; difficulty in simply getting fair grades; difficulty in simply raising your hand and saying that you support Ronald Reagan, or worse, Donald Trump.”

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When it comes to what school administrations could do to help remedy this bias, Vatz suggests that university administrations encourage openness to different political views, and actively avoid any form of bias or punishment because of someone’s political leaning.

Because conservative students cannot trust that this will be the case, Vatz says that there are also measures that they can take to avoid allowing this type of bias to damage their educational experience. 

“Often conservative students feel they cannot ‘come out’ with their points of view or they will suffer sociologically or specifically in grading and evaluation,” the professor noted. “There is not much that can be done, but try to select a school or university that does not so discriminate.”

“Don’t be afraid to politely challenge a professor privately if he or she will not allow conservative students to be judged on the merits of their work.  In the few egregiously bad cases, publicize those professors’ names on campus and to their departments,” he advised.

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Vatz warns against the temptation to use government intervention to solve the problem, but acknowledges that government does play a role in so far as the type of grants that it awards to universities, pointing out that “topics for study and awards should not be revelatory of leftwing bias, as they often are.”

“All sorts of faculty and student recognition go to liberal and progressive students and faculty to the near-exclusion of conservative faculty and students,” Vatz added.

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When it came to the question of what people outside of the academic realm can do to help remedy this bias, Vatz suggested that they pull their funding or donations from schools that hold “strong anti-conservative biases” and only resume their funding of those institutions when it has been shown that “strong anti-conservative biases” have gone away and they begin to nourish conservative thought. 

Vatz also pointed out the “anti-conservative biases” that he says are “quite profound” within academic organizations in addition to universities, pointing specifically to the Modern Language Association and the National Communication Association. He says it “has been much, much worse in the last 3 years since President Trump was elected.”

The leadership of the NCA literally despise conservatives and conservative thought, and additional evidence would take me too long to articulate, but they represent the most outrageous large-scale violations of freedom of speech I have ever witnessed.”

Vatz is the author of The Only Authentic of Persuasion: the Agenda-Spin Model and Thomas S. Szasz: the Man and His Idea.