Press Releases | Intellectual Diversity

ACTA President to Discuss New Student Survey Showing Political Pressure in the Classroom

Survey Refutes AAUP Claim that Faculty Leave Politics at the Door
February 11, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC—Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, will present student survey results that reveal political pressure in the college classroom and the intellectual intolerance of faculty. Dr. Neal is one of four speakers participating in a symposium sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute entitled A “Liberal” Education? The Effects of Ideology in the Classroom.

According to the ACTA survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut, 49% of the students at the top 50 colleges and universities say professors frequently inject political comments into their courses, even if they have nothing to do with the subject. Almost one-third—29%—feel they have to agree with the professor’s political views to get a good grade.

The survey comes in the wake of a number of studies that have shown that party registrations of college professors are overwhelmingly one-sided. American Association of University Professors president Roger W. Bowen, who will also be a panelist, has stated that political affiliations of professors are of little consequence in the classroom.

“In the past, faculty and administrators have claimed that faculty members leave their politics at the classroom door,” said Neal. “Results from ACTA’s new survey show that this is not the case.”

ACTA opposes legislative intervention and is preparing guidelines for trustees and administrators on how best to ensure intellectual diversity and tolerance on our college and university campuses.

Other panelists include Professor Daniel Klein of Santa Clara University who has recently authored a major research study documenting the one-sided tilt of political affiliations on American campuses and David French, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at AEI, will moderate.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

Discover More