How conservative/liberal is Clemson?

I am curious if the student body leans conservative or liberal at Clemson. How about the professors? Is there any difference in the Calhoun Honors College? I would appreciate any insight you would be willing to share. Thank you.

Well. You are going to the South. South Carolina to be more exact so.

Exactly. It’s The South. The profound South.

That being said, at a large state uni you will find a mix of people, professors included. But the weight on either side will be different. If you’re in a Northern state like UW Madison, the flagship, you would find more liberal vs conservative. Clemson has more conservative people in the mix. While I haven’t attended Clemson I have friends who are professors there. They have been there for more than a decade. The stories when they come north are one of relief to see an emphasis on art and science and less on religion and traditional roles. Yes there is art and hard science at Clemson, but football takes the funding from the arts there. They have also said that there’s one “science” professor that still teaches Creationism–you wouldn’t find even one Creationism professor in the northern unis. They’ve said that there are a significant percentage of young women who attend for their MRS. degree rather than any other reason. They have noted that the cinema studies students often go to work for megachurches. Not that people also have other ambitions, but up north it’s rare to find the MRS-degree-seeking woman student. Often she’s achieving as well as or more than her male colleagues in her studies and intended profession. Similarly, it’s hard to imagine an NYU or Columbia film school person’s ambition being to videotape megachurch services, not that that’'s a bad ambition, but it’s just not seen as much in the north. To be sure, my niece in Illinois married someone who is the videographer for a megachurch in Kentucky – it does happen in the north. It’s that the mix is different.

Clemson also offers great football, great academics in all areas. If you find your people, and there’s a good chance you will, it won’t matter that others are doing things you find different or don’t agree with. In the end it’s a big state school and chances are you will find your own people whoever that may be.

Football isn’t taking the money from arts at Clemson. Football is bringing the money TO the school, and arts may benefit.

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The Princeton Review lists Clemson as the #13 most conservative college in the nation.

@twoinanddone – not according to the professors I know who work there … and sit in budget committees that include the arts.

@Dustyfeathers This thread was quite an eye-opener, for me at least.

Thank you for the replies, but I was not necessarily asking how religious it was. I am really trying to get a sense of the student body and the faculty.

As for the location, I am aware that Clemson is in South Carolina. However, there are several schools in typically liberal areas that are actually extremely conservative and several schools in conservative areas that are quite liberal. I think that each and every school has a unique vibe, set of particulars, and student body. We have not had the chance to visit Clemson, but the Calhoun Honors College caught my eye.

@Dis3456: The Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 offers an insightful look into life at Clemson University.

“Clemson is a technically oriented public university in the mold of Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, and Virginia Tech.”

“Small town location makes for a tight-knit campus…”.

“Clemson’s student body has a decidedly Southern air…”.

“The administration has introduced measures such as limiting fraternity members to bringing just one six-pack of beer to events…”.

Lake Hartwell is very close.

Lots of school spirit. Big time college sports.

Overlap schools: Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, NC State, Auburn, Texas A&M, University of Georgia, University of South Carolina, College of Charleston.

@Dis3456 My daughter from Pittsburgh just finished her second year in Calhoun as BS Econ major. Coincidentally while we were visiting her grandmother for Mother’s Day (social distancing of course) they were asking her about the politics, the south etc.

First understand that about 2/3 of the student are from South Carolina which is more conservative than other states. My daughter would be considered a liberal but she is comfortable their. Clemson has a students Democrat club of which my daughter is a member. She proudly stated that the Democrats club “beat” the Republican club in some sort of debate. She also described her economics professors as “libertarian” more than conservative Republicans.

The honors college includes students from all the academic majors. Also most students only take one class a semester of honors courses, which can include small sections of required courses such as math and science etc. So it is not like the honors college is going to have different population base than the university itself.

Clemson is a large public university so there are going to be like minded people for just about any political/philosophic views.

That’s just not true. The athletic department is a separate entity when it comes to money.

Now if you mean people buying tickets instead of donating to the performing arts, then maybe.

I recommend getting the app Niche. You can also check out their website. Within the section about students there’s a section on political attitudes.

Also of interest is the Libertarian Party candidate for President, Jo Jorgensen, is a Clemson psychology professor.

It is now the Clemson University Honors College.

Look up the namesake of the former name…

But the name of the university itself has its own associations that some may not like…

And there’s this:

@CT1417 Very poor methodology used in the student paper article. All they report is total positives. Clemson has been testing since June. Many of the other schools covid testing is based on testing that started much later. Also there is no mention of the numbers of tests that have been done at Clemson vs the other schools. There is no mention or comparison of the positive test rates.

In fact since 6/5 they have conducted about 78000 tests and have had 4460 positives for an overall positive rate of 5.7%. Last week they had 6563 tests and 184 positive cases. A positive rate of 2.8%.

By comparison on VT covid dashboard they are only recording tests starting in August. They have 23330 test since then and 2884 positives so a positive rate of 12%. Their seven day moving average for the last 10 days is between 18% and 13%

Quite frankly Clemson has done a very good job in managing covid while getting kids back on campus and having some live classes.

From our perspective, we are glad that Clemson is keeping students on campus. We have taken any school that is not allowing students on campus this semester off our list . Kids need normalcy, and we have no interest in paying full college tuition for an online experience. A college has to do what is in its best interest, but as a prospective student/family, allowing kids to be on campus and learn is at the top of our list.


Good question. Fairly conservative but not ostracizing liberals. Honors college kids maybe a touch more liberal. to bring the above points together, the fact that clemson is in SC during this pandemic to me is a good thing. Strict rules but not overly so. Kids are still able to socialize somewhat without real fear of being kicked out of school. Fairly pragmatic which I appreciate.

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