A campus conservative's plea for civility
How does one reconcile the Left's preaching of civility with its penchant for bigotry?
If there is one topic that the Left loves to talk about, it is tolerance, particularly on college campuses. However, in the real world, this topic is not leftists' strong suit. In reality, the Left has proven that it cares little about civility, especially on college campuses. It is the conservatives on campus who are pleading for their First Amendment rights and simply asking to be left alone.
Intolerance against conservatives has been on the rise over the past three years. The dedicated students of U.C. Berkeley proved time and time again in 2017 and beyond that there is no place for Republicans or conservatives on their campus. Antifa members on multiple occasions disrupted peaceful right-wing rallies by hurling offensive epithets, making threats of violence, and using actual violence to achieve their goal of stifling free speech.
Across the nation, right-leaning commentators from Milo Yiannopoulos to Dinesh D'Souza to Ben Shapiro have had their speech stifled with little to no repercussions for the so-called "protesters." Only last month, a U.C. Berkeley student by the name of Hayden Williams was verbally and physically assaulted while attempting to recruit members for Turning Point USA. This all occurred while a U.C. Berkeley employee reportedly watched the abuse with glee. And last week, at Portland State College, a "protester" disrupted a College Republicans meeting by ringing a cowbell and obstructing visual aids.
These occurrences serve as only a sampling of the injustices campus conservatives have received at the hands of the always tolerant Left. The ideological double standard is real.
Across the nation, public and private universities alike preach the morality of tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. Nevertheless, these same universities and their student bodies are the worst perpetrators of bigotry. If a liberal student were publicly assaulted on campus, the academic world would still be filled with righteous fervor against the culprit. If a popular liberal commentator suffered any form of injustice on campus, the mainstream media would release a bevy of thought pieces condemning the fanaticism of right-wing students. To this day, universities and leftists alike stand upon their moral high ground and seek to condemn the "intolerance" of anything resembling a Republican idea. In reality, the moral high ground of the Left is nothing but a façade covering up the stifling of conservative thought and expression.
Conservatives on college campuses are a minority group. According to one survey, only 22% of recent college freshmen identified as conservative or far-right. This is in conjunction with the fact that college staff members identify as liberal or far-left at a 12-to-1 ratio to conservatives. Some universities lack a right-leaning instructor of any kind in certain departments. When students of all ideological leanings are continually taught quasi-socialist ideas and forced to take courses fully dedicated to social justice, it is no wonder that so many leave the university with leftist beliefs.
College campuses aren't offering safe-spaces for conservatives suffering injustice at the hands of their liberal counterparts. College campuses aren't offering seminars on how to embrace conservative minorities. College campuses are offering a deafening silence. Right-leaning students aren't seeking special treatment; rather, they desire even half the respect accorded to the rest of the student body.
Often, a Young Republicans club or similarly associated student-run organization is the only source of conservative ideas on campus. When these organizations are targeted by violent protesters, and their guest speakers are denied campus access, a great injustice occurs. When universities allow this to happen without repercussions for the perpetrators, a dangerous precedent is set: conservatives and their ideas are not welcome.
The underlying truth of the matter is that Universities like Portland State and U.C. Berkeley should have acted long ago to ensure that conservatives are not beaten in the streets and College Republican meetings aren't disrupted by protesting thugs. This will never occur, because universities are more concerned with pleasing the intersectional lobby than protecting the most marginalized group on campus: the conservatives.
This is a plea for universities, the Left, and the general public to wake up to the real injustice being served every day in the classroom, on the quad, and throughout the nation. Will they choose to wake up when their leftist dreams are fulfilled? Their dream that conservatives will continue to be relegated to the dark corners of academia, labeled as outsiders and bigots?
In 2019, conservatives are the marginalized group on campus. They are seeking nothing but their God-given and constitutionally recognized rights.
Andrew Cunningham is a published author and a sophomore at the University of Illinois, Springfield. Follow his writings at Conservative Roundtable.