Dear Editor:

Mr. Ellis notes that university faculty have drifted substantially to the left politically over time. Why? I think a large part of the answer relates to the fact that universities, even so-called private ones, are largely wards of the state. Federal student financial-aid programs have grown more than 10-fold adjusting for inflation since 1970, enabling large tuition hikes and adding to the already substantial support from state governments and federal research grants.

Academics correctly believe their self-interest is promoted by big government. Hence faculty increasingly endorse left-of-center policies that inevitably mean more and larger government programs, including support of higher education. Academics don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them so well.

Richard K. Vedder, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Ohio University