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April 28, 2016

Thomas Cushman and Jonathan Imber teach a course on liberty and morality at Wellesley College. (Kirk Carapezza/WGBH)

It probably won't come as a surprise to anyone that U.S. college campuses are overwhelmingly bastions of liberalism. That's not just anecdotal. A Pew Research Center study out this week shows that Americans with college degrees are to the left of the majority without a degree. And post-grads who eventually become professors are even left of that. One recent study finds only 6 percent of professors in the social sciences are Republicans.

At Wellesley College, though, two conservative professors are bucking that trend.

Thomas Cushman, a libertarian and manager of Wellesley's Freedom Project, and Jonathan Imber, a conservative, are teaching a course called Freedom: Great Debates on Liberty and Morality. Most of their colleagues and students are liberal.

"Many students who come to Wellesley come here because it's notorious for being liberal," Cushman said before class this week. "They come here to reinforce and ratify what they already know and it seems to me that is tremendous waste of money."

The goal of the course, Cushman and Imber tell WGBH's On Campus, is to nudge their left-leaning students out of their comfort zones.

To get a flavor of this week's classroom discussion, click the play button at the top of the page.

Earlier: Are College Administrators Stifling Free Speech On Campus?

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