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Pete Couladis, chairman of the Athens County Republican Party, holding voter registration forms, advocates for attendees to register to vote at the College Republicans meeting on August 31, 2016.

OU faculty are primarily registered as Democrats, 'Post' analysis finds

Although Ohio University students remain politically divided, the majority of faculty members registered to vote in Athens County are registered as Democrats.

More than 75 percent of Ohio University faculty members are registered as Democrats, according to a data analysis done by The Post of voter registration records paired with public records provided by the Office of Legal Affairs. About a quarter of faculty members are registered as Republicans, and one faculty member is registered as an Independent.

The voter registration data only included faculty who voted in the March 2016 Ohio primary election. A total of 675 faculty of the university’s 1,795 faculty registered to vote in the primaries.

OU faculty’s party affiliations reflect similar patterns on a national level.

University faculty across the country generally identify as liberal, according to a survey conducted by The Higher Education Institute at UCLA. More than 16,000 faculty members from 269 four-year colleges and universities responded to the survey.

In 2014, nearly 49 percent of all faculty from those institutions identified as liberal, and 11 percent said they leaned “far left.” About 13 percent of respondents listed themselves as conservative, and less than 1 percent of those surveyed said they leaned “far right.” The remaining 27 percent said they were more "middle of the road.”

Katherine Jellison, a professor and the chair of OU’s history department, said she was not surprised by the percentage of the university’s faculty registered as Democrats.

“I think you’d probably see the same thing at other universities that are the dominant institutions in their communities,” Jellison said. “So I think it’s the outside nature of OU and not having other competitors to be the major cultural force for this institution to rub up against.”

It’s a personal choice whether a professor discloses his or her party affiliation, Sherrie Gradin, a professor and the department chair of the English department, said.

“Some people are likely to talk about themselves and how they see things,” she said. “Others might keep tight lips about it.”

In the English department, Gradin said classes constantly talk about understanding how people relate and interact with each other, a conversation that is amplified during the election cycle.

“A lot of what we normally teach is magnified and highlighted with the fact that there’s such a contentious election cycle,” Gradin said.

Allison Giordano, a freshman studying communication sciences and disorders, said considering the political leanings of Athens County as a whole, she wasn’t surprised to see OU’s faculty have similar beliefs.

“It’s their right to say (their political views), but as long as they don’t pressure the kids to change their views, you have a freedom to say what your views are,” she said. “As long as you’re not teaching them that it’s better than another view, I think it’s fine.”



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