When I arrived at Columbia University, I wore jeans, a dress shirt, and a backpack. I did my best to look like a deer in headlights to convey that I was a college freshman. I wasn’t, of course. But my disguise lacked both an access card to enter any of the buildings and a yellow orientation badge. Getting into Columbia is tough, but for a conservative journalist, getting into Freshman Orientation was tougher.
The main event was “Community Forum,” where first-year students get to “acknowledge the importance of social activism and diversity on campus.” The following day would bring a workshop on sexual health called “Consent and You.” Who would want to miss them? The orientation packet was reassuring in marketing both the events: “Required of all students.”