Researchers from Ohio State, North Carolina State and James Madison through their Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) studied how young students’ attitudes towards liberal and conservative views evolved through their first year in college – where they were taught by academics who – as earlier studied have shown – tend to be more liberal than the American population at large. This academic liberalism has fed the belief that students are indoctrinated at American colleges.
The researchers asked respondents the extent to which they thought liberals and conservatives were ethical, made positive contributions to society, and were people the student had something in common with. They also asked students if they had a positive attitude toward each group. The same questions were asked at the beginning of each student’s freshman and sophomore years. Their study shows that about half the students developed a broader perspective – with more appreciation of views that were not their own – while about 30% became more negative towards other views. But the crucial finding here that this trend is similar for left-leaning and right-leaning students.