Conservative ideals: A campus faux pas

Minority opinions – even conservative ones – should never be shelved in order to preserve the status quo

Anna Gould – Staff Writer for the Badger Herald


UW – Madison takes pride in its efforts to achieve diversity. We want diversity in race, culture, religion, etc. What we do not want is diversity of opinion.

Trapped in ideological insularity, the UW community, as well as most college campuses, has shut its ears to opposing viewpoints, particularly conservative ones.

According to a poll by Luntz Research Companies, only 9 percent of Ivy League professors voted for our current president, and Bill Clinton was selected as the best president of the past 40 years.

That’s right. A draft-dodging, womanizing, lying-under-oath, impeached president. Furthermore, only three percent identified themselves as members of the GOP.

This study, while conducted on the Ivies, also reflects academia elsewhere. How many times have you sat through a lecture while the professor howls about the evils of the West and the United States, and then acts like all of the students agree with him?

As columnist Thomas Sowell said, “No one has been more favored and indulged than those in academia and the media – and no one has acted more like spoiled brats.”

In an October report for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, UW professor Donald Downs discusses the challenges to civil liberties at universities. He outlines several attempts that have been made in the past to suppress mainly conservative thought.

For example, in the late ‘’80s, “numerous law professors consented to speech codes that were later declared unconstitutional.
Part of the reason low professors can conveniently ignore the law is based on ideology.

Downs says, “All too many campus leaders … were blinded to the sometimes questionable consequences of their actions because of their fervent beliefs in their own good intentions.”

The professor cites another example from a law student at UC – Berkeley. While expecting “an intellectually free university,” the student writes, “eyes rolled” and “glares flashed” whenever the lone conservative spoke in class. “Diversity of mind was declared dangerous and unwanted,” he says.

Downs says our very own history department was “engaged in a secret investigation” of a professor “for alleged gender bias.”

What was their evidence? Apparently the professor was unaware that iit is scandalous not to have women TAs. By the end of this ridiculous manhunt, the university naturally came up with nothing.
The professor eventually sued the university and settled out of court.

In yet another case, a 74-year-old professor allegedly broke a speech code and was questioned by university officials in a “closed room protected by armed guards.” We are not talking about Stalin’s Russia here – this is UW.

In the early ‘90s, Lee Hawkins, an African-American editor for The Badger Herald, was told by a “top administrator to remain quiet about his opposition to codes in the name of loyalty to his race.” You see, Hawkins was writing First-Amenndment editorial pieces that did not bode well with the politically correct crowd, and they wanted to silence his opposing opinion. He ended up fighting back harder.

According to the Supreme Court Justice nominee Robert Bork, Hispanic and African-American students at the University of Pennsylvania stole every copy of the student newspaper when a conservative columnist wrote a piece against affirmative action.

In the end no students were punished and the police who attempted to stop the theft, were reprimanded by the university.

Those who lack strong reasoned arguments are the first to run from serious discussions. Their greatest fear is that they will be converted once their weak reasoning is exposed.

When volatile issues like race came up, the first tendency on the left is to embrace an emotional debate.

Unfortunately, when emotions run high, reason leaves the room, and no progress is made.

Using ad hominem (“you’re just a racist”) does not get to the heart of the issue; bringing two informed sides to the table does.

Shouting down Ward Connerly or absconding with newspapers tends to conjure up images of Nazis burning books.

Fascists thrive in suppressing alternative viewpoints so they can maintain power; likewise, campus leftists want only their opinion heard in order to ensure uniform thinking.

Exposing yourself to a variety of opinions is helpful in anyone’s education. Effective arguing for any cause will only be achieved when one is challenged.

Leave the personal attacks at home and concentrate on breaking down political and ideological barriers for truth.