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April 14, 2019 at 2:37 pm

Vedder in Forbes | Why Do Progressives Support Elite Universities?

Dr. Richard Vedder, portrait

Dr. Richard Vedder

Dr. Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at Ohio University, authored a column in Forbes headlined “Why Do Progressives Support Elite Universities?

For several years, something has puzzled me: the most elite, selective, expensive American universities are hotbeds of liberal activism. Liberal faculty outnumber conservatives at least five to one in the policy-related social science and humanities fields. Also, as Joshua Distel helps me document in a forthcoming book, the more elite schools  often bring in outside speakers mostly decidedly left of center –far more so than at less selective public universities. Whereas high income residential areas on average tend to be relatively conservative, that does not hold for high income academic communities.

I have found that odd because liberals fancy themselves as champions of the poor and downtrodden, in contrast to conservatives who, wanting greater economic growth, are  allegedly tolerant and even supportive of massive concentrations of income and wealth. Yet the top selective schools are effectively academic gated communities, training  and nurturing an  affluent American aristocracy not centered around land, as in the Middle Ages, but rather around the accumulation of human capital.

Data from Harvard’s Raj Chetty and his small army of associates demonstrate that the top colleges are dominated by rich kids….

Read more in Forbes.

This is part of a series of many posts over several months on the state of American higher education,  planned around his forthcoming book, Restoring the Promise: American Higher Education Today, out May 1 from the Independent Institute.

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