The university should be a place for students to feel welcome, respected, and valued – unless they happen to be conservative. At least, that seems to be the standard which liberal students and universities across the country are increasingly holding to. High profile attempts to shut down conservative speakers such as Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos in Universities across the country are only the tip of the iceberg of a widespread cultural movement with the goal of making even moderately republican views radioactive and untouchable.
This movement targets not only well known speakers, but anyone and everyone who do not fit the narrative of the left-wing orthodoxy. Professors have been harassed for expressing support for Trump. After the election, conservative students on several campuses across the country were verbally harassed and sometimes physically attacked by other students.
The hypocrisy is stunning.
As a movement that insists on inclusion and prides itself on defending the rights of the vulnerable, the progressive left should be leading the fight against the suppression of conservative speech on campus.
Professors are overwhelming liberal, with liberal professors outnumbering conservative ones by as much as 12 to 1. Right wing students are outnumbered by their leftist peers as well, with 35.5 percent of students identifying as liberal or far left and only 22.2 percent identifying as conservative or far right. Due to this, some conservative students feel uncomfortable and pressured to hide their Republican identity in order to be accepted.
This is the sort of stigmatization that the left insists it opposes when it is done to other groups, so why is it acceptable to enforce it on republicans?
If there is one thing that the past two years have made clear, it is that leftist students only care about minorities who fit their agendas. When a gay man, Milo Yiannopoulos, was invited to speak on campuses such as Berkeley, Amherst, and De Paul, he was shouted down and forced out because of his right wing views. When Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human rights activist, was invited to speak at the University of Chicago, he was physically threatened for opposing the Boycott, Divest, Sanction campaign, and had to be escorted out of the university by the police. When Ann Coulter, a woman, was invited to speak at Berkeley a riot broke out among left wing students and the event was cancelled due to security concerns.
The worst of leftist vitriol seems to be saved for members of marginalized groups who dare not to conform to the narrative the left has built around them, such that when this narrative is threatened, the response from the left is violence. If the left genuinely cares about the voices of oppressed groups then it should stop tokenizing them, and start listening not just to those who agree with them, but also with those who dare to dissent.
Conservative students do not want safe spaces. They do not want to be coddled or to be agreed with. All they demand is the ability to exercise their constitutional rights without facing attacks on their person.
It is time for the left to stop preaching acceptance and to start practicing it. There can be no meaningful understanding without dialogue, and as long as the left continues to threaten everyone with opposing views, it will be responsible for increasing polarization and conflict.
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