Campaign contributions, campus groups lean left

PASADENA (CBS) — Could one of the nation’s top research institutions also be one of its most politically-charged campuses?

A study by shows liberal student groups at the California Institute of Technology outnumber conservative groups by two to one.

Although the institute is relatively small compared to other local public campuses, traditionally research-intensive schools tend to have fewer active student organizations, particularly political ones.

An extensive review of the school’s faculty, student organizations, and administrative policies also shows the political leanings of Cal Tech professors tend to lean to the left: the school’s faculty and staff gave $23,684 to Democratic candidates while shelling out $2,225 to Republican hopefuls in the 2008 presidential election.

Despite the disparity in financial contributions from faculty, researcher Morton Blackwell of points out that there is no indication that any political bias has been interwoven into the school’s classrooms.

Cal Tech, which also manages NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was established in 1891 and currently enrolls 951 undergraduate and 1179 graduate students.

In 2001, the institute released a “diversity statement” encouraging more minority groups to apply for admission after it was found that there were no black freshmen enrolled in what the U.S. News & World Report ranked as the top university in the U.S.

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