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dusty87

U of SC and Clemson: Conservative or liberal?

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I was wondering would anyone classify University of South Carolina or Clemson as liberal or conservative schools? I've heard Clemson is a pretty conservative school in the vain of Alabama, Ole Miss etc. , but from my own experience here starting grad school at South Carolina its pretty in the middle but I've heard otherwise. What do you guys think?

I have no idea about other state schools ie. Winthrop, Coastal Carolina, Charleston etc.

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This is a good topic!

I think you made an accurate statement. Carolina tends to be the more liberal of the two. In my experience you get a good amount of diversity of opinions which probably leads to it being a more moderate school politically. I know in my time there I had a couple of crazy-liberal professors, but overall I didn't experience the "academia" left-leaning bias that you tend to read about in conservative publications. I think it's the nature of the diversity and type of programs that Carolina has, and that there is a traditional/historic liberal arts curriculum at its core.

I think that the grad school experience is completely different though. You are not involved with the student body in the same way as you are in undergrad. When I was in grad school at Clemson, the people I met that were not in my program (especially undergrads) tended to be more conservative, but I found that my classmates and professors were more liberal (which was just the nature of my degree).

So perhaps what it comes down to is this: what measure do you think best determines a school's political leaning? Is it the professors? Is it the student body? Is it the alumni base?

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I'm not even sure how you characterize this type of leaning, but I don't think either school is in the extremes of these categories. My degrees are in more liberal fields for both undergrad and graduate studies. This would differ greatly from the experience of say a finance major at either institution.

Edited by GvilleSC

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It's certainly not something that's easy to define. I think if you look at an institution like UC Berkeley or UNC Chapel Hill, you would tend to say that those are relatively left-leaning institutions. But why is that? Is it a stereotype that we're all just used to hearing so "it must be true" ?

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^In those cases, I think one reason is why that's said is quintessential college towns tend to revolve almost exclusively around the school and as such are direct reflections of the school, and since Berkeley and Chapel Hill are liberal towns, it is deduced that UC and UNC are liberal universities.

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My degree is History, and it can tend go either way(Shelby Foote on the right, Howard Zinn on the left). I'm pretty liberal myself and so found Carolina to be a pretty impressive college. Large, diverse student population, urban campus etc. gives the school a more cosmopolitan flair for me if that's possible. I went to University of New Mexico for my undergrad which is extremely diverse and an urban campus too.

I think professors, liberal arts students, and the school's own history has things to do with it. I mean I was reading about the Carolina's history--after the MLK assassination African American students rioted and set buildings ablaze, and then in 1970 some 500 students seized the Russell House as an anti-war protest and protest against the Kent State killings--pretty radical for a Southern college.

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I will echo dusty87's post - I don't think it has anything to do with USC or Clemson, but liberal arts college & technical college. Though in USC's case, it is in a politically moderate urban setting while Clemson is in a conservative rural setting - that will influence things as well.

As for the smaller colleges - I have no idea. I would think hypothetically Converse & Winthrop could be liberal, but I'm not so sure. I think it has a lot to do with the college affiliation, how it was founded, etc. Having grown up in Rock Hill, the only liberal colleges I knew of aren't even around anymore - Friendship.

...actually - College of Charleston might win the small liberal college award for SC.

Edited by teshadoh

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Clemson's student body is conservative, no doubt about it. I dont think Ive gotten to known a liberal yet (though maybe Im just not in the right circles).

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