But is it?
The results of an investigative study by The Conservative Buzz into the political donations of Tech faculty, staff and administration found that an overwhelming near-90% of their private, personal campaign contributions went to Democrats or Democratic-aligned organizations during the 2006-2009 campaign cycles.
Of the $82,433 contributed to candidates by Tech employees, a mere $9,065 went to Republicans or conservative-leaning organizations, and a paltry $250 was designated as independent – a single donation made to the campaign of perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
An inordinate plurality of the monies went to one candidate inparticular in 2008: 48% of the total dollars contributed were given to Barack Obama, the then-Democratic presidential nominee. Comparatively, only $1,500 of Tech professors’ individual donations went to John McCain, Obama’s Republican opponent.
Similarly, Democratic organizations like the DNC raked in a 6% share of the campaign cash from Tech employees. And while the RNC took in a nearly equivalent $4,540, other liberal groups like the notoriously left-wing MoveOn.org received contributions in excess of $1,000. The pro-abortion group EMILY’s List received a $2,000 contribution from one Tech professor alone.
The donations information, compiled via open-source data released by the FEC, was accessed and cross-referenced for accuracy via the online contributions databases OpenSecrets.org and FundRace.org, a subsidiary of the Huffington Post. However, the nature of the databases made searching for professors’ names one-by-one a next-to-impossible task. Thus, searches were performed by employer; any and all variations of “Georgia Tech, GA Tech, Georgia Institute of Technology,” etc., were entered in search of relevant contributions. Such measures considered, it is conceivable (and extremely likely) that many Tech employees who contributed to political campaigns escaped detection due to this non-comprehensive search method. But the results we were able to capture indeed tell a troubling partisan story.
It is hardly surprising to find a massive leftward tilt among Tech faculty when it comes to their political affiliations. In 2007, the school was chastised publicly by watchdog groups and by the press for soliciting volunteers (using taxpayers’ money) for an Obama campaign rally on campus in violation of state code. In 2006, Tech was sued by two conservative students who had their free speech rights silenced by Tech’s unconstitutional school policies that advocated an unusually selective notion of “diversity” and “tolerance.”
Admittedly, the private political donations of Tech professors do not expressly violate the employee conduct code which prohibits staff from being “involved” with campaigns, but the irrepressibly partisan bent of Tech professors’ individual contributions call into serious question Tech’s commitment to diversity (ironically, the number two goal of GT’s Strategic Plan).
An environment where difference of opinion is not only tolerated but encouraged is the hallmark of a great institution. By that account, academic diversity is not “one of Georgia Tech’s greatest strenghts,” and the facts seem to prove it.
– Chandler Epp