When it comes to learning about political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, it appears Democrat professors have their say without a Republican counterbalance.
An analysis by The College Fix of party voter registrations among professors at the public university found there are no Republican professors teaching in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s political science department.
Lincoln, the capitol of Nebraska, is described by Ballotpedia as “heavily Republican,” where Republicans control the office of the governor or legislature. Nebraska’s two U.S. senators are also Republican.
Yet of the 24 political science professors researched, 11 were registered Democrat, five were “nonpartisan,” and the remaining eight could not be determined.
It’s a trend found in other departments as well.
The Philosophy Department shows one Republican among 15 faculty members. The English Department has one Libertarian and one Republican among 43 faculty members.
Of the total 280 professors researched across 15 departments, 10 percent were registered Republicans, 37 percent were Democrats, and 15 percent were nonpartisan. The remaining 35 percent were undeterminable. Only two professors surveyed are registered Libertarians.
“It is very apparent in classes that that is the case [students largely taught by left-leaning professors],” said Kyle Upp, a UNL student and College Republicans leader, in a telephone interview with The College Fix. “The numbers don’t surprise me. A lot of them, without a doubt, bring in personal bias.”
The highest percentage of Republicans was found in the Economics Department, which is 33 percent Republican (six of 18). Management had five registered Republicans among 21 faculty (24 percent). And Child, Youth and Family Studies had four of 24 faculty members as registered Republicans (17 percent).
As for the political science department, reached for comment on the results by The College Fix, undergraduate chair John Gruhl said that there have been Republicans in the past in the department, and that the hiring process doesn’t take into account political beliefs.
“When we have interviewed candidates for positions in the department, we don’t ask them their party preference … We hire people who seem to be effective teachers and researchers,” Professor Gruhl said in an email.
In 2014, Gruhl told students in his “Presidency” class that former Vice President Dick Cheney “gave us a black eye around the world” and that he was “the driving force behind some of the biggest mistakes in the Bush administration.”
UNL Political Science department chair Kevin Smith, in an e-mail to The College Fix, also said there is no political bias when it comes to hiring practices.
“In terms of the party registration breakdown in this particular department, though, I can’t say much mostly because I haven’t a clue, it’s never really ever come up,” Professor Smith said. “I do know of at least one faculty member who is not a Democrat—I am a registered independent and I’ve voted for candidates of both parties.”
Smith noted that the breakdown in the department is not outside the norms, referencing an article in Inside Higher Ed from 2012 which found similar results. That article cited a survey that suggested academics, who already leaned left, are moving even more in that direction.
Overall, at UNL, when the data is broken into Republican and Democrat, 78 percent identify as Democrats while 22 percent identify as Republicans.
Upp, the UNL College Republican, said he is concerned by the results.
“The University of Nebraska should be somewhat more conservative” because the state is heavily Republican and the university is an agricultural-based school, Upp said.
The analysis used the state of Nebraska’s online voter database. For the most part, only Lancaster County, where Lincoln is located, was checked. About 35 percent of the professor names looked up returned no political affiliation. In some cases, The College Fix used middle names when multiple registrations for the same name were returned. The research mainly focused on current professors, with a handful of teaching assistants and emeritus professors included.
An analysis by The College Fix in December found that Creighton University, a private Catholic university in Omaha, Nebraska, was devoid of any Republican theology professors. The overall breakdown was similar, with Creighton having 15 percent Republicans and 41 percent Democrats.