Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Conservative Universities 

I'm tired of the "liberal" university rap. Universities, in general, are not bastions of liberal thought and conservatives are not excluded. Granted some universities are known to be liberal, Berkely for example, but even they have Hitchens. Conservatives have more universities that cater to their ideology in every area of the country (Bob Jones, Ashland University OH, Ole Miss) and it's not surprising -- they have the money and the support, so good for them. State schools are generally weighted down with the tag of liberal hotbeds that brainwash kids which is simply not the case.

Now certain programs or departments may be liberal, but others are decidedly conservative. Humanities v. Business for example. Shoot, at a local state university of about 20 thousand students, the student run paper had 3 weekly columnists who preached the wonders of jesus and their born again beliefs. I had never seen that before. Ever. Bob Jones U, I'd expect it, but a state run college? That's not very commie like -- that's not very godless liberal of them to publish those folks. Last year they brought in Horowitz to, get this, talk about how liberal campus was and how closed off it was to conservative ideas/speakers. I'm not kidding.

Most instructors are very straight forward with their beliefs and don't threaten students with failing grades if they don't submit to the instructor's beliefs. It's just not accurate or proven in any capacity. It's a myth, a fallacy that cons throw out to rabidize their following.

Students going to state colleges are generally conservative. This poll highlights the trend. Generally they come to school with their parents ideals and values. They see the world in black and white. They don't question. Once at the university, they hold onto most of those values. Will those values change? Maybe. The more they read, the more they think, the more liberal they may become, but overall they have to be willing to read and understand new/different viewpoints. If they don't, they won't change. Period. And I am not advocating that they have to change. However, the misperception of a commie instructor ruining today's youth is ridiculous. Parents, family, friends, and their community including their faiths have more of an impact than 3 hours a week with an instructor for 4 months. If an teacher had that much power, we could send them en mass to Iraq and have it subdued before Christmas break. Truth is, they can't. Perhaps these students are merely thinking on their own and, gasp, making up their own minds on issues. God forbid they question what their parents believe to be true. What's funny is, college is designed to develop the "whole" person and expose people to new ideas/thoughts/viewpoints -- and parents get angry when their kids actually start thinking for themselves? Go figure.

UPDATE: A column that was first published in the Boston Globe looks at this same issue -- published on the 13th.

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