Do colleges discriminate against conservatives? | The Tylt
Do colleges discriminate against conservatives?
Conservatives say they're facing unprecedented levels of discrimination and stigma at U.S. colleges. In their view, higher education has become a bastion of liberal thought at the expense of conservative thought. Leftists try to silence conservatives through calls of racism, hate-speech and making parallels to hate groups. On some campuses, conservatives have been denied a platform to speak entirely after violent student protests against the speaker.
Some students said there’s so much hostility toward Trump on campus that it can be difficult to even mention the candidate. Alexander Spanopoulos, a Vanderbilt University senior, said his peers have accused him of being a bigot, a threat to freedom, a white supremacist, a member of Hitler Youth and an embarrassment to the academic community.
Name calling and accusations of hate illustrate that college liberals are unwilling to engage with different ideas. Instead of discussing things, they'd rather shut down conservatives completely. How is that not censorship?
“The most interesting statements hurled against me have been that I should leave the country as soon as possible and that I am not on the list to survive the revolution,” said Spanopoulos, who was born in Greece and raised in Memphis. He sees such statements as an attack on the First Amendment. “Labeling differing opinions as hate speech is thinly-veiled censorship perpetrated by those who are unwilling to engage in difficult conversations,” he said. ” … Conservative beliefs are openly mocked by both students and faculty.”
Others push back against this line of argument, saying conservatives are the ones who are shying away from hard conversations. It's not as if conservatives are being harassed and persecuted at U.S. colleges. Having your ideas challenged is not persecution or bullying. It's what college is supposed to be. It's like conservatives need a safe space on college campuses or something. 🤔
Sarah Muller, a junior at Northwestern University who supports Clinton, countered: “It’s hardly fair to say that campus Trump supporters are a victims of campus culture. It’s no secret that they hold a minority opinion at Northwestern, but college is a place where people’s opinions are supposed to be challenged all the time. Trump supporters aren’t being mindlessly written off as bigots; they are being asked hard questions about their beliefs and values.”
Trump, Muller said, “has shamelessly established himself as a symbol of racism, xenophobia and sexism. Supporting Trump is an endorsement of those beliefs, so there’s definitely a stigma to it. Trump is one of the most polarizing figures American politics has seen in decades, so throwing your support behind him carries with it a stigma.”
Karin Agness, Founder and President of the Network of enlightened Women, founded the group to provide a network for conservative women in higher education. She says the critiques often go beyondjust intellectual arguments. Conservative women are especially bullied for their views.
As the leader of what became a national organization for conservative young women, the Network of enlightened Women (known as NeW), I hear stories semester after semester from women who are frustrated that their campus feminist counterparts mock them, insult them and try to shut them down. From peer attacks on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app, to very public organized protests against conservative female speakers, conservative women receive the message that they don’t belong.
Paul Krugman at the New York Times argues Republicans have moved so far to the right, that most conservative ideology is no longer compatible with academia. Higher education is a place for scientific inquiry and research. These days, conservatives often ignore science in favor of rhetoric. It's not that conservatives are stigmatized at colleges, but conservative thought is just so extreme that academia can't get behind it. Just look at climate change denial, disbelief at evolution, and any other number of flat-out rejections of science that frame modern-day conservative thought.
So self-identifying as a Republican now means associating yourself with a party that has moved sharply to the right since 1995. If you like, being a Republican used to mean supporting a party that nominated George H.W. Bush, but now it means supporting a party where a majority of primary voters support Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Being a Democrat used to mean supporting a party that nominated Bill Clinton; it now means supporting a party likely to nominate, um, Hillary Clinton. And views of conservatism/liberalism have probably moved with that change in the parties.