As the sentence-long attribution reads at the end of this article, I major in political science. By declaring this major, I know that I committed to daily lectures on the study of politics, dissecting the motives of politicians and analyzing the habits of voters. But here’s what I didn’t commit to: I did not sign up to hear rants about President Donald Trump’s administration. I did not consent to weekly tirades about the terrors of the Republican Party, nor did I agree to the majority of my class time being dominated by Trump-bashing. Here’s looking at you, professors.
In the interest of full disclosure, I actually love hearing my professors hate on Trump. It encourages me, as a young liberal, to think that change is possible in the next election, and it makes my professors seem more human when they abandon their intended lecture on political parties and talk about current events instead. But of course, my liberal-minded self is going to enjoy hearing the rantings of a liberal professor at a liberal university. According to a study conducted by the Econ Journal Watch on 40 college campuses, there are about 12 liberal college professors for every conservative one. Here’s the issue: Liberals aren’t the only ones attending Binghamton University and college in general.
Think about the people sitting next to you in your classes, the ones wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat on their heads or an “I was raised RIGHT” sticker on their MacBook. You might glower at them just a little bit when you pass by them on your way to your seat or silently curse them for contributing to Trump’s rise to power. But just because you disagree with them about their policy preferences doesn’t mean they should be subjected to hearing professors tell them that their ideologies are objectively wrong.
It is a professor’s job to teach a subject to their students, not to rave about their own feelings. Just as most professors don’t find it appropriate to go into detail about their personal lives, so too should professors refrain from instilling their political beliefs in their students. Remaining unbiased is the responsibility of a teacher, and one that BU professors need to make a stronger commitment to. When unsuccessful, the result is threatening — students feel uncomfortable in their own classroom and are dispirited from sharing their point of view. It’s a professor’s inherent duty to educate — they should never cause a student to feel discouraged from learning.
I think it’s hard to be a Republican on this campus. Even worse, I think it’s almost impossible to be a Republican political science major. According to a Pew Research Center study, a growing share of college graduates are consistently liberal, meaning that college is becoming a more liberally centered experience. However, in this divisive political time, when Republicans and Democrats have never seemed more at odds, hearing professors spew hateful rhetoric against Trump can only create a harsher divide. With an increasingly intolerant nation, it is essential for professors to remain neutral in their teaching and to remember that no matter what your political leaning, liberal or conservative, socialist or anarchist or anything in between, we all belong to this one campus community. We have enough partisanship in Washington D.C. — keep the politics out of teaching.
Emily Houston is a junior double-majoring in English and political science.