A new study found that members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) are the most likely to be the object of discrimination when applying for jobs in academia. In the new book, "Compromising Scholarship: Political Bias in Higher Education," Professor George Yancey of the University of North Texas asked fellow academics for their thoughts about certain groups and their political leanings. The goal of Yancey’s research was to identify discrimination in the hiring of academics. He surveyed 405 academics.
Yancey asked in the survey attached to the study, "Assume that your faculty is hiring a new professor. If you were able to learn of [their political group memberships], would that make you more or less likely to support their hire?" Among the groups identified in the study were ACLU, Communist, Democrat, Green Party, Libertarian, NRA, and Republican. Yancey sought to confuse the professors about the real purposes of the study by including other groups, such as single parents and vegetarians.
The study found that of all the various affiliations, membership in the NRA was found to be the most likely identity to damage an aspiring professor’s career. Of those polled, only 28.7 percent of professors indicated that Republican Party membership would damage applicants’ chances of being hired. Yancey surmised that NRA members are the most ostracized among academics because NRA membership denotes a more conservative strain of Republicanism. Yancey told PJ Media, “Someone may be a moderate Republican which can be seen as acceptable but I suspect that academics envision individuals in the NRA as being on the far right."
In addition to conservatives, members of the Libertarian Party also seen negatively. The study found that about 20 percent of professors said they view the Libertarian Party negatively, and almost none see it in a positive light. “The information in this research indicates that revealing one’s political and religious conservatism will, on average, negatively influence about half of the academic search committee," Yancey concludes.
Other groups also face the less than optimal chances of being hired for academic jobs. Evangelical Christians, fundamentalist Christians, and meat hunters are also less likely to be hired. Yancey suggested that programs intended to eradicate discrimination should address a national propensity to discriminate instead of focusing on protected classes of people.
Yancey had advice for job-seekers in academia. Members of the Democratic Party and the ACLU should make their affiliations plain during their interviews, while Republicans and conservative religious people should not share their affiliations with interviewers.
"The information in this research indicates that revealing one’s political and religious conservatism will, on average, negatively influence about half of the academic search committee," he concludes.