With the start of a new school year, online publications are rushing to print superficial lists ranking America’s colleges and universities. ThinkProgress has compiled a far more useful list of the top five most right-wing places of higher learning:
5. Patrick Henry College: After a documentary exposed the surprising number of students at Patrick Henry College with high level internships in the Bush administration, the school has gained scrutiny for its extensive ties to the Republican Party and social conservative groups.
4. Hillsdale College: The school was in the news recently when it was revealed that Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose the Hillsdale salary of his wife Ginni Thomas. Called the “citadel of American conservatism,” Hillsdale features academics like Rush Limbaugh fill-in Mark Steyn, and is said to be a pipeline to Republican jobs on Capitol Hill.
3. George Mason University: George Mason University has served as a libertarian enclave with close ties to K Street lobbyists since the 1980s, when Charles Koch began donating heavily to the school. Koch Industries’ executive vice president for public policy, Rich Fink, heads two Koch programs at the school. Matt Kibbe and other leading libertarian activists are alumni of George Mason’s free market economics department.
2. King’s College: In 1997, the Campus Crusade for Christ International purchased King’s College, a New Jersey-based school that had been shuttered since 1944, and reestablished it on two floors of the Empire State Building in New York City. Led by Dinesh D’Souza, author of a book this year arguing that President Obama’s Kenyan heritage gives him a third world “anti-colonial” mindset, the school has gained a reputation for training dogmatically conservative Christian activists.
1. Liberty University: Founded by the late televangelist preacher Jerry Falwell in 1971, Liberty has prided itself as one of the most influential Christian colleges in the nation. Despite the fact Liberty receives about $445 million in yearly taxpayer subsidies, the school prohibits openly gay students and College Democrats. While the school has received much scorn for its teaching of youth earth creationism, it boasts a world class debating team coached by a former Bush adviser.
ThinkProgress judged the schools based on influence in the conservative movement and notable alumni. Close runners-up include Pat Robertson’s Regent University, an influential evangelical school, and Oral Roberts University, another religious institution with an alumni list that includes Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and evangelist Ted Haggard.