Liberal Zombies Invade Drexel

A study commissioned by a conservative group says the school has a bias.

By Aaron Kase
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 14 | Posted Aug. 24, 2010

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Well, our worst nightmare has been realized. Drexel University has a liberal bias. At least, that’s what education advocacy group campusreform.org is saying in a newly released study. So, we set off to see if it was true. After all, $53,000 a year for tuition and fees is a pretty hefty price tag. Maybe there’s a cheaper alternative to seeing our kids get brainwashed into left-wing zombies.

First, we asked Drexel about its biases, but the school wouldn’t bite, providing us with a boring, boilerplate response. “As a nonpartisan, private university, Drexel proudly embraces a diverse community of students, faculty and staff who hold a broad range of beliefs and convictions. Our campus is enriched and energized by the free expression of these diverse opinions and perspectives,” says Vice President for University Relations Philip Terranova in a statement.

Surprisingly, campusreform.org National Director Bryan Bernys wouldn’t give much clarification, either. When pressed to define what constitutes a “liberal bias,” Bernys regurgitated the methodology of the study: “We looked at a number of different factors from administrative policy to political donations, the number of political groups on campus and where they fell in the ideological spectrum, and the amount of money spent on conservative and liberal groups on campus.”

Fine, have it your way. We’ll examine the findings ourselves. Keep in mind that Campusreform is coming from an openly conservative perspective: “Obviously, Campusreform exists to promote conservatism on university campuses,” Bernys says. We tried to treat the group’s assertions fairly, but in the end did not find the results particularly convincing.

Let’s start with the professors, who in 2008 gave more than $46,000 to Democratic candidates, but only $10,000 to Republican candidates, according to the study. OK, we see the concern. If the teachers are overwhelmingly supporting one political party, maybe they are indoctrinating our children’s precious minds with biased information about whom they should be voting for.

So what about the academics? That’s what we really want to know. If Drexel professors are supporting Democrats, are they preaching that students should do the same? Regrettably, Campusreform was unable to provide us with any illumination. “We didn’t really get into that as one of our things,” Bernys says. Oh.

The report also looked at Drexel’s politically oriented groups, six leaning liberal and four conservative. Who are these groups? On the conservative side, there’s an anti-abortion group, the College Republicans and a couple libertarian organizations. None of them responded to request for comment on whether they felt discriminated against on campus. Either a) They are afraid to speak out, fearing liberal backlash or b) enjoying summer vacation and not checking email.

A few of the “liberal” groups did respond, though.

“Overall, Drexel is not terribly politically active but the members of groups like the Drexel Democrats are very passionate and Drexel definitely enables us to have a strong presence on campus,” says Giancarlo Stefanoni, president of the Drexel Democrats. “I’ve never gotten a sense of bias from either side. As Campusreform mentions, some of the conservative groups are among the most active on campus and receive funding for their activity.”

In fact, the supposed conservative groups actually receive more funding than the liberal ones, though Campusreform also cites $25,000 in “green grants” that the university gives out each year for sustainability initiatives as evidence of far-left policy.

Sierra Club’s Catey Burtness-Adams says sustainability isn’t necessarily coming from the left. “Thinking with long-term interests beyond only short-term economic gains is in everyone’s best interest, all politics aside,” she says, adding that she’s speaking personally, not as a representative of the group. “Becoming more efficient with energy use and reducing waste are not political missions, but simply make for smart business practice in cost savings.”

“I have never felt that Drexel University was overly political on either side,” she adds.

Other groups labeled liberal include an LGBT club, an Environmental and Occupational Health group, and Students for Democratic Society. OK, anyone who’s read history will concede SDS is pretty left-handed, but what about the animal-rights club?

“I don’t consider my group to be particularly liberal,” says Amanda Rossi, from People for Animal Welfare. “Anyone can be against animal cruelty. I wish they’d bothered to call me before they made a judgment.”

Campusreform’s report also cites school’s sexual-harassment policy, which was criticized by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for infringing on freedom of speech rights.

“Mentioning almost anything at all that is sexual can be considered harassment, including ‘eating food provocatively’ or ‘giving someone elevator eyes,’” wrote student Stacy Litz for the Triangle, Drexel’s student newspaper. “If Drexel’s harassment policy were actually followed, students would have to walk around campus like mindless zombies, afraid to show any human emotion or interaction.”

The Drexel study is part of Campusreform’s efforts to analyze all of the country’s top 100 universities. Out of the 50 campuses analyzed at the time of the interview, Bernys told us they were overwhelmingly liberal-leaning, with only about five remaining neutral or leaning conservative. So what is it about higher education that makes it so unbearably leftist?

“It’s just part of the academia thing,” Bernys says. “All we’re basically doing is making people aware; this is what life is like on campus—maybe campus is hostile toward ROTC or things of that nature,” he adds. (Drexel has ROTC for the Army, Navy and Air Force).

Well, if Drexel counts as a liberally biased school, we can’t wait to see what campusreform.org has to say about Penn.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 14 of 14
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1. Anonymous said... on Aug 25, 2010 at 09:15AM

“Drexel is a fairly conservative, corporate- and military-friendly school. The most visible political group on campus is libertarian. Groups like Campusreform are paranoid, conspiracy-theorists whose irrational fear of liberals conjures ghosts and ghoulies around every corner.”

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2. Stacy Litz said... on Aug 25, 2010 at 11:15AM

“As president or on the executive board of three Libertarian clubs, I was never contacted about this article.

Also, as a political science major, I have not had many problems with professors, except for one debate on Facebook, in which a professor called libertarians "whiny babies" and "idiots." That's pretty substantial, but it doesn't effect my grades.

Overall, the professors are open minded, but they single you out as the "weirdo" in the class, the one lone libertarian (or conservative) who gets picked on all the time. They definitely neglect teaching about libertarian philosophy and any ideas that would limit government are usually looked down upon.

Drexel has a huge libertarian group, Student Liberty Front, who involves itself in the Philadelphia area and on a national level. The only problems are that the immense amount of bureaucracy ends up hurting this group.

If you would like more information about this topic, email me at litz@drexel.edu

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3. Stacy Litz said... on Aug 25, 2010 at 11:28AM

“Also:
Sierra Club = Not only liberals like the environment, thank you.
SDS = Anarchists, too
Animal Rights = Everyone loves animals, jeez
You didn't mention our Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, which actually has a majority of libertarians.

Aaron, it's not the left v. the right, it's the state v. YOU.”

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4. Anonymous said... on Aug 25, 2010 at 05:04PM

“And since liberatrians are idiots and whiny babies, technically your professor was right! ;)”

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5. Liberal Arts Student said... on Aug 30, 2010 at 04:38PM

“I have been attending Drexel for the past two years, majoring in International Area Studies. I can most certainly say that my political views have been heavily influenced by the liberal faculty. I remember my first term of freshman year, which started right before the last presidential election. By the second week of classes, it was blatantly obvious that five of my six professors were hardcore liberals. I can recall one professor who spoke of how she literally felt uneasy at the thought of McCain, a republican, being elected president. And the political student organizations? Talk about liberal fanatics. On election day, you couldn't walk anywhere on campus without seeing free Obama promotional materials. One of my close friends was afraid to tell other students that she voted republican simply because she was of the political minority in University City.
I'm not writing this simply because I'm a conservative republican voter. In fact, I'm a very liberal democrat just keepin' it real.”

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6. Rob said... on Sep 20, 2010 at 04:31PM

“The head of the criminal justice department, Julia Hall, refused to accept my 34 page paper on gun control for my senior thesis without even reading it, called me a gun nut to my face, and said I was too biased to write it. She claimed she never approved my topic (which was untrue, and the entire class knew it) and essentially threatened to keep me from graduating. After I appealed to the dean through several other professors, she claimed that "she felt threatened" to cover her rear, and started to administratively harass me. Campus security talked to me and agreed she was nuts, so she had a friend who had never even met me file a complaint with the student conduct office right before graduation. Ultimately TWO of the deans had to force her to give me a passing grade, dismiss all the false claims against me, and have a meeting with all the faculty to address how she had gone after me.

The author did a terrible hit piece here without actually researching anything.”

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7. Rob said... on Sep 20, 2010 at 04:36PM

“Oh and by the way, many professors, despite Drexel's military-friendly policies, are openly hostile to ROTC students. There have been innumerable conflicts that have cost cadets grades and scholarships amongst other things, and forced the Professor of Military Science to go to bat for them on multiple occasions. We had a nursing student who was basically barred from that school by an absolute loon who openly claimed he hated the military. The PMS had to fight tooth and nail for him, and he eventually gave up and just graduated with another degree.

I got lucky in that most of my liberal professors promoted open discussion and debate, and I ended up liking most of them. But many are insufferable hypocrites who take opposing views personally and take negative actions against students they don't like based purely on their views.”

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8. Liberwacky said... on Sep 22, 2010 at 02:28AM

“Liberal Zombie...isn't that redundant?”

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9. Drexel Law Class of 2009 Graduate, Esq. said... on Nov 4, 2010 at 09:25AM

“Earle Mack, the person who donated enough money to get the law school named after him, served as an ambassador appointed by (the first) President Bush. His real estate holding company owns and operates millions of square feet of commercial space in Manhattan, Philadelphia, and elsewhere in the country. For the law school's inaugural graduation, he invited and hosted his good friend Rudy Giuliani to give the commencement address.

Ambassador Mack is a Republican through and through -- hardly liberal!

It sounds to me as though this Campus Reform organization simply didn't do their homework.”

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10. Anonymous said... on Nov 4, 2010 at 02:23PM

“2009 Esq... EM was ambassador to the second Bush, not the first. He was ambassador for a pathetic few months in 2005.

Your argument makes no sense. The evidence you present and ridiculous conclusion you draw from it bear no relationship to the actual claims by the organization. By publishing such nonsense for all to see, you embarrass our alma mater. Knock it off, please.”

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11. Drexel Law 2010 Grad said... on Nov 4, 2010 at 02:40PM

“@2009 Grad- The fact that one rich Republican donated tons of money to the school, doesn't mean that the entire University is Republican. Thats the most absurd argument I've heard. I keep my money at Bank of America, does that mean I support the bailout because I let BofA-a bank that received large amounts of bailout money-maintain my money. Absolutely not. That logic is a faulty as yours.”

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12. Drexel Law Class of 2009 Graduate, Esq. said... on Nov 5, 2010 at 09:55AM

“#9 and #10, if you think that Earle Mack's name on the law school and the millions he's donated to have his super-sized portrait in the lobby don't affect some of the law school's major policy decisions, you're more naive than a graduate from a professional school should be. There was a huge fight, for one, about renaming the law review: he wanted it named after him and seriously threw his weight around; and the decision was very, very close, though thankfully it's still the "Drexel Law Review" and not something like the "Earle Mack Law Review."

#10, you're correct, it was the second President Bush; my error. But he was ambassador for about a year and a half, not a few months. He's also a huge donor to the New York Republican machine. Follow the money when Pataki makes a bid for the presidency in 2012.

I stand by my point. Campus Reform's report is based on a shallow, cursory survey of the Drexel University at large, lacking any in-depth research to support their claims.”

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13. nope said... on Nov 12, 2011 at 01:33PM

“the only intellectuals who are conservative are those that are also unethical”

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14. Jcpenney Coupons said... on Sep 3, 2012 at 12:15PM

“Most of the time, it is easy now to get coupons to use but the problem is that, you must find out ideal coupons to use in your life to become perfect.”

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