Penn State Professors’ Political Donations Lean Left

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People who complain that higher education is infested with leftists and (dum, dum, dum) liberal Democrats just got some more ammunition. The Daily Collegian ran a cool story today about Penn State professors’ political donations for the 2012 election cycle, and to no surprise, it showed heavy favoritism from professors toward President Obama. According to the Collegian’s numbers, of the 82 professors who made individual donations to candidates, Barack Obama received 75 of them, and Mitt Romney the other 7.

That all adds up to $66,201 for President Obama and $6,000 for Governor Romney. These numbers only include donations made over the reporting-threshold of $200.

The 91 percent donation level to Democrats is in line — or even higher — with most universities in America. In 2010, Harvard employees gave 77 percent to Democrats according to Politico. It’s interesting to note that a recent survey from Inside Higher Ed says that only 55.9% of professors claim to be either liberal or far left on the political scale. Of course, people who donate to political campaigns tend to be activists in their respective ideologies, so it’s unclear how strong of a correlation exists between the small sample size of donations to actual votes.

“Political expression is at the heart of the fundamental rights on which this Republic was established and a core duty of citizenship since the founding in the 18th century,” wrote Faculty Senate Chair Larry Backer to The Daily Collegian. “This is an obligation we should all take seriously. Employment status should not disbar a citizen from exercising her basic political rights.”

Somewhere, Rick Santorum is smiling.

To see if your professor got involved in the race, check out the complete list of donations put together by The Daily Collegian.

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About Author

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014, and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is a director of the Nittany Valley Society 501(c)(3) and is involved in student government.

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