It’s not easy to be conservative on a college campus. Steven Hayward for PowerLine wrote “Conservative is the New Gay on Campus,” meaning these students and professors are expected to remain silent, or “in the closet.” Much has been made about conservative students and student groups, who face backlash for simply sharing their views or inviting speakers to campus. However, in his post, Hayward focused specifically on the issues facing conservative faculty members.
Conservative faculty members are a minority, and have thus turned to self-censorship. If they are able to achieve tenure, they’re often still in danger for expressing their views. John McAdams is a professor at Marquette University in danger of losing his job because he took a favorable stance on traditional marriage. And he teaches at a Catholic school.
McAdams is not the only conservative professor facing troubles. Professors Joshua Dunn of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Jon Shields of Claremont McKenna College wrote the recently released Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University.
Hayward recently spoke to Shields about his book while filling in on Bill Bennett’s radio show. Hayward was “flabbergasted” that some professors would tell students on the first day that conservatives wouldn’t like the class. On the other hand, Shields described instances of students who “outed” their professors as conservatives once they figured out they actually weren’t liberal.
According to Shields and Dunn, conservative professors are most needed where they are least welcome: in fields such as sociology, and other social issues.
Shields noted that conservative faculty who come up with findings their liberal colleagues don’t approve of “should just stay quiet about it,” and also spoke on how conservative professors often feel they are held to a higher standard to achieve tenure.
Hayward and Shields acknowledged that, similar to their faculty counterparts, there are “formidable” concerns facing conservative students, who may not be able to go into certain fields without facing “a very difficult path.”