Survey: 70% of Yale Students Often Experience Political Bias in the Classroom

Contact: Lauren Noble: 781-698-9208




72% Oppose Campus Speech Codes; 16% Favor


84% of Students Want Intellectual Diversity at Yale

New Haven, CT — May 3…The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale today released a professional survey of attitudes and opinions among Yale undergraduate students on issues including free speech, intellectual diversity, the recent renaming of Calhoun College, political bias in the classroom, and other pressing issues of our time.

Slides and full methodology on the Buckley Program Survey are available here, and a memo breaking down opinions by partisan affiliation can be viewed here. In all, 872 Yale undergraduate students responded to the survey, which has a +/- 3.3% error rate. The survey was conducted by a nationally respected polling firm, McLaughlin & Associates.

Among the survey’s findings:

  • 88% of Yale students believe that their professors on the whole are “liberal,” while just one percent (1%) perceive Yale faculty as “conservative”;
  • 42% of Yale students are “not comfortable” voicing their opinions in the classroom and on campus on issues such as politics, race, religion and gender;
  • 70% of students have experienced political bias in the classroom, either from students, professors or teaching fellows;
  • 45% of students reported feeling intimidated to share their ideas, opinions or beliefs in class because they were different than those of their professors and teaching fellows;
  • 55% reported feeling intimidated to share their ideas, opinions or beliefs in class because they were different than those of their classmates or peers;
  • 24% of Yale students have felt intimidated to write papers espousing their own ideas, opinions or beliefs because they were different than those of their professors and teaching fellows and would result in a bad grade;
  • About a third of Yale students (32%) have had professors use class time to express their own social or political beliefs that are completely unrelated to the subject of the course;
  • 67% of Yale students agreed with the University’s recent decision to rename Calhoun College, while just 13% believe additional renamings should occur;
  • 8% of students support renaming Yale itself, while 84% oppose the idea;
  • 56% percent of Yale undergraduate students approve of the job Yale is doing when it comes to promoting intellectual diversity and differing opinions in the classroom and on campus, while 38% disapprove;
  • 72% oppose Yale having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty, while 16% support speech codes;
  • 5% of students said that Yale should forbid people from speaking on campus who have controversial views and opinions on issues like politics, race, religion or gender. 84% said that Yale should always do its best to promote intellectual diversity and free speech by allowing a wide range of people with differing views and opinions to speak on campus;
  • By a measure of 85-10% students agree that “Yale must do everything possible to ensure within it the fullest degree of intellectual freedom…We take a chance, as the First Amendment takes a chance, when we commit ourselves to the idea that the results of free expression are to the general benefit in the long run, however unpleasant they may appear at the time.”

“The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale strives to promote free speech and intellectual diversity on the Yale campus and beyond,” said Lauren Noble, founder and executive director of the Program. “This survey offers a treasure trove of data about what’s actually happening on the ground at U.S. colleges. There is some good news in the survey, but there is greater cause for concern. We encourage students, parents, professors, and administrators to dig into these results.”