One of the consistent complaints from conservatives is that the left-wing domination of faculties influences student opinions and results in an unwillingness by students and junior faculty to adopt openly conservative positions for fear of retribution.

Taylor Lewis writing in USA Today’s College page essentially whitewashes the influence of faculty, claiming there is some natural progression of students towards liberal attitudes..

Crossing party lines: Individual decision or university influence?

Born and raised in southeast Kansas, Tyler Childress grew up a staunch Republican. He despised big governments, opposed gay marriage and thought the country was investing too much money in poverty programs.

Today, that is no longer the case.

Childress, a junior at the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence, Kan., is now a self-proclaimed left-wing Marxist.

“Right before I came to KU, I worked in a McDonald’s and got to see how people in that class of society get treated,” said Childress, who is majoring in political science and sociology. “Most of the customers, without knowing anything about me — without knowing that I’m an honors student about to go to KU — thought that I was lower class and treated me as if I wasn’t worth their time. Getting a little glimpse of that really kind of changed how I viewed that group of people in society.”

His liberal ideologies fall in line with a growing segment of Americans. Citizens are more in agreement with Obama’s policies than the GOP’s; only 22% of citizens identify as Republicans, according to a recent USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll. With an abundance of hot topics in the news, college students are holding more liberal views, but is that of their own doing, or are they being swayed by factors at their universities?

Gordon Hewitt, the assistant dean of the faculty for institutional research at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., examined the influence that liberal faculties at colleges have over their students. By looking at surveys, he found that other students — not faculty — are more likely to alter one’s political beliefs.

It’s ironic that the author cites a professor at Hamilton College, which refused to allow the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization to locate on campus.