This story originally appeared on CampusReform.org and was posted by Campus Services Coordinator Leigha Caron:
Editor’s Note: Boston College’s independent conservative newspaper, The BC Observer, researched and published the overwhelming disparity in political donations made by the campus faculty. This information is of great interest to conservative alumni and prospective students; it can also garner significant media attention, as George Washington University’s Young America’s Foundation chapter learned when mentioned in The Washington Post. If you’re eager to demonstrate blatant bias at your college, and earn recognition for your group by doing so, click here for step-by-step instructions on how to conduct this research.
by JP Bonner
Boston College employees gave $53,753 to Democrats and $3,257 to Republicans over the last election cycle, according to disclosures released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Sixty-two faculty members contributed to the Democratic total, while four donated to the Republican total.
University donations to political campaigns generally lean towards the left, and five higher education institutions appear in Barack Obama’s top 20 donor organizations, including Harvard and Columbia. Employees at the University of California alone donated nearly a million dollars to his campaign. Education was Obama’s third largest industry, giving him just under twenty million dollars (John McCain received only 1.6 million from this same demographic).
Dr. Catherine Mooney, an associate professor at the school of Theology and Ministry at Boston College, explained her contribution to the Obama campaign. “This election was the most interesting election I recall,” she said. “It touched on a host of issues related to human dignity and justice, including how best to promote peace, economic equality, racial harmony, environmental responsibility, access to health care and education, immigrants’ rights, and the sanctity of human life.”
Interestingly, BC political contributions were split drastically by gender and employment type. All four Republican donors were male, and two were university administrators. The Democratic total was a broader sample of BC employees. The donor disparity was echoed in donation amounts: Republican donations averaged $814, compared to a $200 Democratic average. While other administrators did contribute to Democratic campaigns, their participation was nowhere near the 50% figure posted by Republican administrators.
The only Republican donor willing to comment, Associate Director of Public Affairs Reid Oslin, was dismissive of trends among BC employees. “Offering support to a political candidate is an individual choice, and not related in any way to my employment at Boston College,” he stated.
But election data seems to support the commonly held sentiment that the Boston College administration is more conservative than at comparable schools. Certainly Republican employees are more likely to be administrators, but this does not imply that the administration leans in any particular political direction. Some conservative BC policies, such as an aversion to contraceptive programs and penalties on substance abuse, come from its adherence to Jesuit, Catholic values.
According to Dr. Mooney, however, religion does not make one conservative. “I agree with the U.S. bishops that participation in our political life is a moral obligation.” She continued, “There was no perfect candidate for me. But as I weighed all the issues, I thought the candidate most likely to move us as a nation to reflect and act positively for the common good was Barack Obama.”
Religion could come into play at BC if an Obama administration continued the President-elect’s support of partial-birth abortion, according to Professor Terri Long of the College of Advancing Studies. “Thus far, BC has maintained independence, but additional pressure from bishops or the Vatican could push BC to institute a more conservative Catholic agenda,” she predicted. “This sort of change would damage BC’s reputation among non-Catholics, effectively marginalizing the school.”
Not every donor was a McCain or Obama supporter. The largest Republican contributor, Law Professor Scott Fitzgibbon, gave to Sam Brownback. The largest Democratic donor, Nancy Veeder, supported Hilary Clinton. Two other major donors supported Christopher Dodd.
Another significant Clinton supporter, Ellen Friedman, commented on the nature of the political system. “Anytime you hear anyone say ‘it’s not about money,’ you know it’s about money,” she said wryly. “I do believe that it is obscene that so much money is spent to win the presidency–or, indeed, any office–but until we have real campaign finance reform I’m afraid that is going to be the case.” Friedman’s observation may be relevant in this election, where Obama outspent his rivals in the Democratic primary and then nearly doubled McCain’s advertising in the general election.
Nobody denies the historic progress signified by the election of an African-American, Barack Hussein Obama. Members of both parties, however, are less than satisfied with the election’s results. Professor Terri Long of the College of Advancing Studies strongly supported Hilary Clinton, and she maintains a healthy skepticism about the upcoming administration. “I see the nation moving back toward the welfare state instituted in the New Deal,” she said. “This concerns me because I have traveled frequently to Europe and have numerous friends and business associates of my husband’s in Switzerland, Germany and England. I have seen the effects that far-left policies have had on those countries: massive unemployment, decreased productivity, an inability for European companies to compete in a world economy.”
Long also commented on the election’s impact here. “As for BC, I think what happens here will largely depend on the economy. If Obama’s policies do not improve the current economic situation, fewer students and families will be able to afford tuition. With credit tightening and endowments shrinking, financial support will become increasingly limited, forcing the school to admit more students from higher income families.”
Professor Friedman summed up the uncertainty many still feel. “Will the Obama win mean change? Will he be able to do what needs to be done to rescue not only Wall Street but also ordinary folks who are losing their livelihoods and homes? Will he be able to get us out of Iraq and keep us out of other wars? Will the people who were dancing in the streets last Tuesday be dancing in the streets two years from now? All of that remains to be seen.”