Political and social climate on campus

My son is considering UA - he’s a high stat kid, NMF and is looking to major in business and be in the Honor college. Also looking at Blount, Create MBA, etc.

Their NMF scholarships are outstanding. What we are most concerned about, however, is how conservative the campus, student body and professors are. We come from a blue state, have liberal viewpoints and while he’s totally open to a diverse mix on campus, I know that he would be very uncomfortable in an extremely conservative/Red campus and state. He’s considering University of Arizona as well, which while in a more conservative state is more liberal as a campus. The money at UA (alabama) would be better but the campus culture may not be a fit.

Thoughts? Thanks!

Less than 40% of the students are from Alabama. Far fewer of the professors would be. It is a large self contained university

1 Like

Arizona is a far bluer state than Alabama - Biden won the state in 2020! We wouldn’t consider a red state like Alabama but may visit Uof Arizona, though I suspect we will end up staying in Northeast for college…

1 Like

Yes, not sure what my son wants to do. A “trump is king” environment would NOT be a good place for him, so we are hoping it’s more moderate. But the $$$ is hard to turn down! But he will, if need be.

I don’t know any college that doesn’t skew liberal. Even “conservative” colleges have professors that are extremely liberal. What is he/you so afraid of? God forbid there be a different viewpoint on college campuses nowadays.

4 Likes

College is about meeting people of different backgrounds, different cultures, and different beliefs. I have never understood people saying they would never go to a northern university, a southern university, or a “perceived” liberal university, or a “perceived” conservative university. Alabama has 25,000+ students. Think about that for a moment. Less that 50% are from Alabama. Compare that to any other major public university (pick any state). Alabama is, by far, the more cosmopolitan mathematically. It just is. There are reasons for that. Does Alabama, as a state, tend to vote Republican? Yes. Does that mean it is full of horrible people? No. Just the same as Massachusetts is not full of horrible people just because it tends to vote Democrat. Remember, by sheer numbers, the most Trump voters were in CALIFORNIA. He just did not win the state. The color on the map means nothing.

I am sure if you son goes to a large, public university, he will find his “people”. Congratulations on his earning NMSF. Yes, Alabama does dump a truckload of money for that designation, my S22 is considering the same scholarship.

7 Likes

Taking into account your post at Looking for schools that meet need - Parents Forum - College Confidential Forums, in my opinion your budget should be your first priority and if University of Alabama is the only affordable option, then you should pick it and not look back.

What is your yearly budget?

I can only provide info on ASU Barrett where my liberal NJ-born and raised son decided to go. Kids there are smart, well educated, and there is a large body of students coming from California. Local political climate is not an issue (although AZ universities were not able to mandate vaccines on campus like NJ universities did due to AZ state government being quite conservative).

Yes, if COVID-19-related matters are of concern, the state government politics and how they may limit campus or local policies may be relevant in this sense.

4 Likes

Sure. In retrospect I guess I should have written that the local political climate in AZ is in my opinion currently not a major issue (unlike the one in TX by example) compared to the savings that one may get by attending ASU or University of Arizona with a large scholarship.

1 Like

Alabama is definitely NOT our only affordable option. It does, however, provide the most scholarship money for NMF. It also happens to have some incredible programs. HOwever, more important than the money is my son being someplace where he feels challenged, safe and accepted. We are definitely fine with differing opinions - my best friends, his best friends, all have differing viewpoints and that is great, that is fine. However, that doesn’t mean that a super red college campus in a super red state will be as accepting and supportive of what is important to him - and THAT is what I really care about.

3 Likes

Sorry. I apparently misunderstood your financial situation.

The state of Arizona is certainly not as red as the state of Alabama, and I assume that both ASU and University of Arizona would be good fit culturally. However, they probably would cost you about 20K/year factoring fees, room, board and transportation, which is not an insignificant amount of money by my standards.

Take this for what it’s worth, but at the most recent U of Alabama football game the student section was screaming “F@#$ Joe Biden.” There is your answer.

4 Likes

There are jerks everywhere, I would not judge 25k students from the actions of some. More importantly, you may wish to consult on the Alabama school page here or reach out on Facebook to Alabama parents, who can provide the most accurate insight.

1 Like

Our financial situation is not good LOL. But we have figured out a way that we can make University of Arizona work. ASU would also work because of the National Merit Scholarship. We’re not totally broke but the situation isn’t good and Alabama’s Financial package would be so welcome. I’m just don’t know we’re going to take a trip and see

Actually they did that at multiple college football games this past week or two including some that are very liberal

1 Like

OK. I don’t quite see how you could have figured out a way to make University of Arizona or ASU work if the situation is not good but I wish you well.

Note that you can always apply to Alabama even without taking a trip there. Better to have a financially solid backup in case things deteriorate within the next six months.

The ones I read about were Virginia Tech, Auburn, Texas A&M, Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Montana State. Were there others? Because I don’t think any of these would be considered “very liberal.”


Only 60% of U of Alabama students are vaccinated and only 40% of the state is fully vaccinated. That may say something about both the conservatism and the relative safety.

4 Likes

No, it really doesn’t. Per student poll, 38% of the student body identify as Republicans, 25% as Democrats,17% as independents, and the rest say they don’t follow politics. Perhaps the son could email the active and engaged Young Democrats club on campus with questions; they seem to have fun.
As long as the son himself is vaxxed, then I would stop worrying about whether others are. I wish they all were, but I can’t control other’s actions, only take reasonable precautions myself. Given his age, even if he did get a breakthru case( as my relatives in NYC and SF did), he will likely never be seriously ill from covid.

3 Likes

@mtmind Virginia Tech has actually mandated vaccines except for medical or religious exemptions. Most are vaccinated ( I’ve seen a 95 percent figure in the media) and VT actually disenrolled students who did not comply with vaccine mandates, as did UVA.
Virginia certainly has pockets of more conservative areas but is more a blue state and many kids from northern Virginia, a more liberal area, are going to the instate schools like UVA, VT, and W & M.

Honestly, a visit will tell you more than a message board. Back in the day when we visited it was all about sports - which turned my guy off. He still applied due to the money and likely would have been happy there, but he got a better offer elsewhere at a college that didn’t live, breathe, and promote sports on our visit.

I have no idea what it’s like there now. Politics, and certainly Covid, wasn’t as much of a thing back when we visited a decade ago.

2 Likes