“the highest viewpoint diversity — that is, the most even mix of liberal and conservative, Democratic and Republican — students, is in major red state universities like the University of Arkansas or Utah State”
Of course, political diversity is one of the types of diversity that doesn’t really matter to the left.
Head to red states for political diversity on campus
A century ago, Left-modernist intellectuals like Floyd Dell depicted the small midwestern towns where many of them came from as narrow-minded puritanical hellholes which they escaped for the delights of Greenwich Village, New York and a few other select bohemian urban enclaves. In Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street (1920), which became a runaway bestseller, the main character Carol Kennicott expresses her revulsion at the “flavourless” Americanism of the fictitious town of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota. “I am sick with the Village Virus,” she complains. “Please tell me what people are doing and saying in New York.”
Today, those with inquiring minds may wish to move in the other direction.
Why? Because it is now in the reddest of heartland states that universities with high viewpoint diversity still exist. Here intellectual debate is more likely to flourish, free of pressure from intolerant peers and institutions.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) campus surveys now contain nearly 100,000 individuals, creating a wealth of information on the demographics and politics of American students in the leading 150 research universities in the country. These are the research powerhouses that educate the top 15% of the nation’s undergraduates, the future elite who will be the country’s opinion formers.
A new report for the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology (CSPI), Diverse and Divided: a Political Demography of American Elite Students, contains an online table of Viewpoint Diversity rankings based on aggregated survey data, allowing the user to sort colleges by their ideological and partisan composition.
As the graph above shows, the highest viewpoint diversity — that is, the most even mix of liberal and conservative, Democratic and Republican — students, is in major red state universities like the University of Arkansas or Utah State.
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