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At UNC Chapel Hill, 17 departments have zero registered Republican professors, analysis finds


Professors registered as Democrats outnumber those registered as Republicans by a ratio of roughly 12 to one at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – and in 17 departments zero registered Republican professors can be found – according to educators’ registered party affiliations.

The College Fix researched the political party registrations of 1,355 UNC Chapel Hill professors using the state’s online public voter database, maintained by the State Board of Elections.

Of those, 616 were registered Democrats, while only 49 were registered Republicans, a ratio of about 12 to one.

The remaining party affiliations included 299 professors who are unaffiliated (in North Carolina, voters can register as unaffiliated), 291 professors whose names could not be found the database, and 98 professors whose party affiliations could not be determined. Two professors are registered libertarians.

Even with the high number of professor party affiliations that could not be determined, the results found Democrat professors outnumber Republican ones in every single department surveyed, and what’s more, half of the 34 departments probed found no registered Republicans at all.

Those 17 departments are:

African-American Studies
American Studies
Asian Studies
Environmental Science
Marine Sciences
Public Policy
Women’s Studies

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Asked by The College Fix to comment on the results, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill spokesman Jim Gregory said via email that the university “does not hire faculty based upon their political affiliation, but instead upon academic merit.”

“That said, we also feel that it is important for students to be confronted with views that they may not agree with or have not previously been exposed to, which we believe leads to the development of critical thinking skills,” he said.

“Our primary effort is to ensure that our faculty, regardless of their backgrounds, are sensitive to and respectful of the various beliefs and viewpoints raised by each of their students,” Gregory said, adding the university does attempt to “achieve a measure of diversity across all domains” but described achieving a perfect balance as “extremely difficult.”

MORE: UNC diversity officer earns 38% more than Gov. McCrory

BoredinClass.shutterstockJenna Robinson, president of the Raleigh-based John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, told The College Fix she is not surprised by the findings.

“They’re in keeping with what I’ve seen in the Pope Center’s work and in similar studies at other universities,” Robinson said via email. “Political imbalance can occur even in the absence of intentional bias against conservatives.”

“In most cases, I don’t think hiring committees are discriminating,” she added. “But in some departments, it probably does happen. There are certain fields in which only leftist orthodoxy seems to be permitted.”

A closer look at the results shows that 21 Republicans, nearly half of the total, were clustered in the Global Business Center. Even there, Republican professors are outnumbered by the 41 Democratic professors. The department with the second highest number of Republican professors is the Romance Department, with four registered Republicans.

The Biology department had 60 registered Democratic professors, the highest number of the researched departments. The English and Literature department had the second-highest number of Democrat professors with 42.

Read the full analysis. (The survey included most major academic departments, but not all.)

Correction: After publication, a curious professor seeking information on the lone Republican in the English department contacted the author of this piece for clarification. It turns out the one “Republican” listed in the English department, upon further review, is a Democrat. He uses a nickname with his students and on the university’s website, but his voter identification with his legal name shows he is a Democrat. We apologize for the error.

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About the Author
Alec Dent -- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill