by Alexia Bianchi
An analysis found that Democrats received 99.7% of political donations from University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) faculty members during the 2021-2022 year.
UPenn reflects the norm in higher education as faculty members at other universities send the vast majority of political donations to Democrats.
The Daily Pennsylvanian examined 3,976 donations that UPenn faculty members made to political committees, publishing its report on Feb. 7. In one example of the gap between Democratic and Republican donations, faculty members donated $120,227 and $679, respectively, to ActBlue and WinRed, two fundraising platforms for the parties.
Political donations from UPenn faculty hit a 12-year record high for a midterm election, which “came as OpenSecrets projected before the election that total federal campaign spending would exceed $8 billion–a record high for a midterm election year,” according to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
OpenSecrets, a “research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy,” often reveals that Democratic candidates receive upwards of 90 percent of faculty donations.
Based on OpenSecrets data, faculty members at San Diego State University, the University of Denver, the University of Memphis, and other institutions have sent over 90 percent of political donations to Democratic candidates, according to Campus Reform.
While political donations suggest that individual universities lean left, Campus Reform has also documented the way in which ideological conformity can span universities, impacting entire academic disciplines.
The National Association of Scholars (NAS) and New York University (NYU) social psychologist Jonathan Haidt have warned about the lack of ideological diversity among faculty and its potential consequences on disciplines such as finance and psychology.
UPenn students are noticing professors’ politics, too, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. One student with Penn Democrats said that she is “not surprised that professors donate to Democratic causes.”
The Penn College Republicans political director told the newspaper, “I think that’s definitely to be expected. For whatever reason, professors tend to definitely be noticeably left-leaning.”
Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties listed for comment and will update this article accordingly.
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Alexia Bianchi is a Law student at Florida State University’s College of Law. Alexia is working towards a career in politics.
Photo “University of Pennsylvania” by University of Pennsylvania.