Educational institutions are traditionally considered neutral grounds regarding political affiliations. It is specifically crucial because colleges are supposed to provide the students with an environment that will aid them in developing their views. However, this is not the case. Students select the college they will attend partly based on their political views. Since the political polarity of an institution is set by the opinion of the majority that populates the colleges may be labeled with a political leaning. In a survey conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, most high school seniors were politically active after the 2016 Presidential elections. It was due to the mainstream political climate that the political activism among high-schoolers has been on the rise, according to the survey. In such a situation, the question of whether a university has an open to public political leaning or not comes to mind. I still remember everyone staring at me when during my campus tour I asked “is UCLA conservative or liberal?”.
Is UCLA Conservative Or Liberal?
UCLA is not part of the Ivy League schools but is considered as good as any of the Ivies. However, It is often confused to be part of the Ivy League. This is due to its high-profile faculty, global reach, and highly respected research culture. Its alumni are to be found across the national administrative and political spheres. Multiple global awards of recognition, such as the Turing award or the Nobel prize, 17 to be specific, have been awarded to its alumni over the years.
According to a survey, UCLA is the most racially diverse university in its region. This diversity translates into diverse political and social views. Not only racial, but gender diversity is also on the positive side of the scale, with more than half of the university population made up of people identifying as women. Its political science degree program is in the top 10% of the country. Being this competitive and famous among such a politically active crowd means various political opinions floating around the institution. The dominant political leaning, however, is between liberalism and moderates.
Racial And Economic Demography
The two major ethnic groups at UCLA are Asians and Hispanics. Moreover, White Americans who make up 26 percent of the population, are part of the third largest racial group. This diversity is further by a sizeable population of International students which is 10 percent. African-Americans, however, make up about 3 percent of the total crowd.
The common denominator here is the average household income levels of these students. Almost 35 percent of the students come from households with an average income of less than $30k. This is the biggest economic group present at UCLA.
A staggering 48 percent of UCLA students believe in liberal values. They prefer liberal politics over conservative but do not identify with progressive or left-leaning ideologies. This is also reflected in the second most popular political belief being moderate.
However, a sizeable bulk of students try not to be involved with mainstream political parties. Many argue that joining social causes is more effective than participating in national politics. They believe that the party system is a slow and inefficient machine that needs to be replaced by a different and upgraded system just like with every other thing in the world.
58 percent of the students are women of ethnic minorities. This is an interesting variable since 47 percent of the students associate themselves with the democratic party.
Many, 14 percent to be precise, attach themselves to independents such as Burney Sanders. This is 4 percent more than those who associate with the Republicans.
This obvious tilt toward the Democratic Party is reflected due to a series of political events in recent years with an over-tones of polarization between the majority groups and the minority and fringe communities.
In simple words to answer if UCLA is conservative or liberal, I would say it’s liberal. My impression of the campus was of a cultural melting pot. It was a cosmopolitan institute that gave me exposure to so many cultures and world views. The diversity allowed me to understand the different ways how cultures across the globe see the world from their perspective. It was particularly beneficial for me in a post-pandemic world in which cross-cultural interactions are becoming more common.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Is UCLA against conservatives?
No. There is no official political stance of the Institution.
2) Is it a safe place for students from conservative backgrounds?
Yes, it is since the majority of the students do not support extreme forms of political ideologies.
3) Is it a welcoming environment at the campus for international students?
International students are welcomed by the local students as long as they understand and respect local values and traditions.