It’s no surprise that Georgetown administration and faculty lean heavily to the left. Articles published in these very pages have pointed this out over the years. An article titled, “Faculty Funds Favor Kerry” (THE HOYA, Sept. 21, 2004, A1), stated that $77,615 out of $80,615 donated to the Bush and Kerry campaigns by Georgetown University employees went to the Democratic candidate, and that “84 percent of professors voted for Democratic candidate Al Gore in the 2000 presidential elections, [while] 9 percent voted for then-Governor Bush.”

Often administrators (usually themselves “liberal”) look at the kinds of statistics shown above and reply with something to the effect of, “Well it’s no problem as long as the professors retain their academic standards and don’t penalize conservative students for their views” or, “As long as they try to present a balanced take on the issue, no worries.” It is easy to see that most Georgetown professors are “progressive.” What is not so obvious, perhaps, is why this is a problem.

What the administrators’ viewpoint doesn’t acknowledge is that it’s not conservative students who are most penalized by the monolithic, “liberal” ideas of their professors. On the contrary, being perpetually faced with opposing views, and being forced to analyze their own ideas day after day strengthens conservative students’ beliefs. Conservative students have their values challenged incessantly in the “progressive” college atmosphere and so have given a lot of thought to their positions and convictions merely by having to defend them at every turn. It seems pretty safe to say that most “liberal” students haven’t had to undergo this type of strenuous, intellectual introspection.

College is supposed to be many things, but four years where you can slide by without having to question your beliefs is not one of them. College should teach students how to think analytically and critically, not just about molecules or Hemingway, but about their own belief systems. Students’ views should be challenged, if only so they may know what they believe. For “progressive” students who can (and sadly do,) scrape by without once questioning why they think the way they do, the overwhelming “liberal” bent of professors is a disservice.

It is not enough, however, to simply point out the problem; one must present some possible solutions to it. What can be done to provide an atmosphere more conducive to challenging the ideologies of students other than conservative ones? Should we advocate an “affirmative action” hiring process to get more conservative and ideologically diverse professors on the faculty? Since other affirmative action plans have been, shall we say, “less than successful” at eliminating racism or raising the standard of living for the urban poor, this doesn’t seem like the best alternative. No matter the university’s official position on affirmative action, no one wants under-qualified teachers to be hired just because they have a certain political affiliation that is missing on campus.

One possible solution is to encourage professors (when appropriate) to include a “conservative” section of class where they present and maybe even argue that side of the issue. A better and probably more effective way of doing this would be to allocate a portion of class funds to bringing in outside alternative voices knowledgeable in the subject to speak about and explain their differing views in class. Instead of professors showing “Fahrenheit 9/11” to their classes, diverse business leaders, writers and historians, chosen for their disagreement with the professor, should be allowed to share their ideas with students in a classroom setting to provoke thought in more students’ minds.

This solution certainly has its fair share of difficulties, not least of which is funding. It, however, helps solve a bigger issue than the problems that its implementation raises. The best solution to the predicament “liberal” students face at a “liberal” university is, of course, their own determination to actively seek out opposing viewpoints. If “progressive,” and even moderate students become more proactive in researching others’ views, and in questioning their own, this problem would be mitigated. Unfortunately, many students seem content with the information they are given from their professors, and so the burden to challenge their worldviews falls squarely on the shoulders of the university.

Jon Medved is a freshman in the McDonough School of Business.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.