Every person, Republican or Democrat, is biased when thinking and/or discussing political views. Recently, political bias has infiltrated classrooms on universities across the country. In fact, it is being reported on more and more. As a current Ph.D. student and adjunct instructor at Texas Tech University, I have seen political bias in the classroom as blatantly as a professor saying “I don’t like Donald Trump and I don’t think any of you do either.” I have also seen unintentional political bias in the classroom from a professor is trying to remain as apolitical as possible. Here’s 5 tips on how to best navigate political bias in the classroom. 

Accurately read your professor before speaking up

On the first few days of class, you should be able to tell if your professor uses their classroom as a political sounding board. If current political issues come up in discussion, take a mental note if the professor seems defensive or encourages such discussions. If a current political issue does not come up, take note how your professor responds to student questions. This should be a good indicator how they will respond to politically relation discussions.

Know that not all professors use their classroom as a political sounding board

Your professors are regular people like you and me. They may not be aware they are promoting their political viewpoints in the classroom. Perhaps, it is not what they say but their body language. Not all professors use their classroom as a political sounding board so before you make an opinion or accusation about a professor, be sure the professor is blatantly using their classroom to sound their political beliefs. Remember that most professors are in their job to further educate students, not to persuade students that their political beliefs are best.

If you think your professor will respect your perspective, say it respectfully and gracefully

If your professor will respect your perspective and encourage the exchanging of ideas in the classroom, state your perspective in a respectful and graceful manner. No one listens when a person screams their perspective to a classroom. Make sure you speak your opinion in your regular tone of voice. Facts are likely to be better perceived by your classmates. If you do not have facts, but an opinion, make sure you reasonably present your opinion.

If you think your professor not accept your perspective, it might be best to keep your thoughts to yourself

Unfortunately, if your professor does not seem like they will respect your perspective, it might be best to not say anything. Your professor may have more pull in your college than you realize so keep your opinions to yourself. One of the worst things you can do as a student is talk negatively about a faculty member to another faculty member. When doing your course evaluation for that professor, make sure to note that your professor’s promotion of their political views made you uncomfortable. By doing so, you ensure that your comments are kept anonymous yet your college’s leadership will know your concerns.

If it comes to a breaking point, politely email your department chair to see if you can meet with them

If your professor shares their political viewpoints frequently, and you have a strong relationship with your department chair, reach out to your chair. See if you can meet with them after the semester. One part of your chair’s job is to listen to the concerns of students. Take advantage of this. Make sure you present the situation respectfully in meeting with your chair. Let them know you are not trying to create an issue, but wanting to inform your college’s leadership of an issue.

Kallie B
When Kallie is not working full time trying to raise money, she is often studying how people process political messages. Powered with 2 undergraduate degrees, 1 graduate degree and now working towards a Ph.D., she has dived into the world of political communication and psychophysiological research. She is a 5th generation Texan, and has been in politics since she was 8 years old.