87% of Canadian professors lean left, survey says


40% of right-wing professors say they face a “hostile work environment.”

A new paper published by a Canadian think tank finds that the majority of Canadian professors are left-leaning on the political spectrum, while 40% of right-leaning professors face a “hostile work environment.” It says there are

The findings were published in a paper on September 15 by the McDonald’s Laurier Institute. [pdf] It is entitled “The Diversity of Perspectives Crisis in Canadian Universities: Political Homogeneity, Self-Censorship, and Threats to Academic Freedom.”

To collect data for the study, researchers surveyed professors and the general public from March 3 to 17.

Of the professors, 87% said their political views were left-leaning, while 9% said they were right-leaning.

Just over 76% of professors surveyed said they voted for the Liberal Party or the NDP in the 2021 federal elections, with a further 11% voting for the Green Party or Bloc Quebec, and a total of 87% supporting left-wing parties. About 60% of the general public voted for these parties in the last election.

Meanwhile, only 9% of professors voted Conservative or Populist, compared to about 39% of the general public.

“Our research shows that Canadian universities are strikingly lacking in diversity of perspectives, instead becoming politically homogenous institutions,” said Professors Christopher Dammit and Zachary Patterson, authors of the report. said. Dummitt is Professor of Canadian History at the University of Trent and Patterson is Associate Professor at his Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering at Concordia University.

self-censorship

Nearly 88% of left-leaning professors said they were either ‘not very worried’ or ‘not at all worried’ when they were asked if they would be concerned if their political views became public knowledge. In comparison, 44% of right-wing professors said they were “somewhat” I am very concerned.

40% of right-wing professors say they feel they are facing a “hostile work environment.”

Of right-wing professors, 57% said they censored themselves in college out of “fear of negative consequences,” and 34% of all professors admitted to self-censoring out of fear of repercussions.

“This level of fear and hostile atmosphere should set red flags for free speech at universities,” the authors said.

“[P]Roefesser gives various examples and scenarios in which they have remained silent on the topic, from changing their teaching methods, to avoiding the topic altogether, to changing their research careers to avoid possible negative repercussions. provided.

Additionally, 32% to 34% of professors said they were willing to restrict academic freedom and “cancel” their colleagues “out of a commitment to political views on social justice.”

Recommendation

Dummitt and Patterson said that campus ‘monoculture’ undermines the quality of education and that external intervention is needed to reverse this trend.

“Organizations filled with like-minded individuals often fall prey to the most dangerous forms of adaptation,” the authors say.

“They are more likely to make grave mistakes without diverse information, and their identity within an organization leads to overconfidence by the majority and self-censorship by those who tend to disagree.”

Among their recommendations to address this issue, the authors proposed an “Academic Freedom Act”, tying state funding to postsecondary institutions to adherence to fundamental principles protecting academic freedom. .

They also advocate measures to ensure institutional neutrality on partisan or controversial issues, the abolition of political loyalty tests from research funding and employment, laws to prevent unions from discriminating on the basis of politics, and promote a culture of academic freedom in universities.

“Universities should be trusted to be places where diverse perspectives are broadcast openly and unitedly, promoting the highest quality debate on pressing issues,” said the paper.

The paper also said that professors see the purpose of universities somewhat differently than the general public.

Half of those surveyed ranked “student work preparation” as a top priority, while another 29% ranked it second. Meanwhile, 76% of her professors ranked job readiness as her third or fourth priority, favoring “educating students” and “research.” “Social justice” was a top priority for both the public and professors.

Lee Harding

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Lee Harding is a Saskatchewan-based journalist, think tank researcher, and contributor to The Epoch Times.