College Faculty Show Tendency to Sponsor Democrats' Campaigns

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According to a recent study conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics, college professors and administrators across the nation have shown tremendous support for Democrats through campaign donations during midterm elections, with those at the University of California leading the way.

This year, 86 percent of the total of $414,351 in political contributions by UC employees went to Democratic candidates and organizations, according to the study.

Faculty at other universities, including Harvard University, Stanford University and Princeton University, have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars each to Democrats as well.

UC Berkeley Professor of Political Science Kiren Chaudhry said part of the reason for the university's large contributions is that "Democrats tend to invest more in education, and if you look at what's happened in California, (the numbers are) obvious."

The few universities in the study that contributed more funds to Republican candidates than to Democrats gave no more than about $80,000.

Among politicians receiving the largest amount of campaign contributions are senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Charlie Crist, Ind-Fla., each receiving more than $160,000 from university employees during this election cycle.

While the study suggests that academic support "may also be a potential boon" to President Barack Obama's potential reelection because the UC system was the largest contributor to Obama's 2008 campaign, donating about $1.5 million, UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Graduate Affairs Laura Stoker said faculty's decisions to donate are individual in nature.

But the report stated that academic donations to political parties could pose problems regarding the possible "consequences of professors engaging in partisan politics, especially when students are footing at least part of the bill with tuition dollars."

But Stoker said it is not in professors' interests to attempt to sway the political views of their students.

"It is not important for professors to show support one way or another - you're (donating) as a private citizen, whether you're a fireman, professor, banker or anything," she said. "The last thing I would try to do is attempt to influence the political beliefs of my students."


Contact True Shields at [email protected]

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