Our Conservative Folks Part 2: Campuses Are Becoming Unsafe Spaces for Conservative Students

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 March 13, 2017|
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The attack on Middlebury College political science professor Allison Stanger, who moderated a talk by scholar Charles Murray, has received some attention—as it should. There is something about the image of a professor wearing a neck brace from an attack by a mob on campus that should raise alarms.

Stanger became a target by virtue of her proximity to Murray, a distinguished social scientist, as they were leaving campus. The book he was there to discuss, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, is essential reading, especially for those who want insight into recent political developments. Indeed, if Democrats were smart they would study it as a manual for explaining their recent losses.

But the Left does not study its failures to persuade because persuasion is not a Leftist virtue. Instead, especially on our campuses, they resort to mob tactics, preventing students from hearing certain speakers. Many, including some professors, dismiss Murray out of hand, and admit to having not read the book he was there to discuss; instead, they repeat smears spread by the Southern Poverty Law Center about his book, The Bell Curve—though most haven’t bothered to read that one, either.

One anti-Murray academic at Middlebury is Professor Stanger—yes, the very same Stanger who was injured in the infamous altercation. After college president Laurie Patton introduced Murray by calling his views “repugnant” and stating, “We are a left-leaning campus,” Stanger expressed her disapproval of their guest, as Peter Wood described, by “participating” in the protest that drowned him out and made it necessary for them to relocate to a safe location and live stream the talk.

Stanger’s and Patton’s remarks also gave tacit permission for the mob to jeer Alexander Khan, co-president of the American Enterprise Institute student club that sponsored Murray’s talk, as he made introductory remarks. It is ironic that a professor, especially one who egged on a mob against conservative students and their invited speaker, was the one sent to the emergency room.

Professors such as Stanger, who have little regard for the well-being of conservative students, are found on campuses across the country. The experience of one of the undergraduate fellows at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), where I am a resident fellow, Liz Barry, is illustrative. Barry, a Hamilton College senior, is an accomplished young woman: leader of the campus Republican Club, athlete, member of the Dean’s list and honor society, and editor-in-chief of the AHI-sponsored student newsletter, Enquiry.

But she is feeling increasingly unsafe on a campus plastered with posters in the library offering help from the “bias response team” and in the ladies room about sexual assault or harassment.

As she described in Enquiry, on Election Day Liz was called a racist, bigot, and homophobe. That day a male Hamilton student followed her as she walked across campus, shouting insults at her. As Barry correctly pointed out, had she been a member of an approved victim group, such as a minority or LGBTQ+, there would have been a bias incident report and “group counseling available for the entire student body.” But there is no such consideration for students like Liz Barry.

Barry was also bullied by art professor Katharine Kuharic for daring to send out a campus-wide invitation to the AHI’s inauguration day viewing party for students and community members. Kuharic forwarded a faculty-wide email to Barry about the Women’s March against the Trump presidency, with the snide comment, “’You may want to discuss as the US inaugurates an illegitimate Russian puppet intent on destroying the constitutional rights to free speech, press, religious practice and birthright citizenship.’”

While Hamilton College professors organized a post-election rally on the village square and representation for the college at the post-inaugural women’s march in Washington, D.C., (praised on the college website as “Becoming a Part of History”), they organized no events for viewing the inauguration on campus. To express an interest in watching the inauguration on campus with anything less than visible hostility and resistance would have been considered an expression of hate, no doubt.

What a contrast to the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2008! On this and on other campuses, such as the community college where I was teaching at the time, professors were encouraged to take their classes to witness the “historic” event in the auditorium.

Other forms of harassment are par for the course when one is involved with a student newsletter that deviates from the Trump-bashing, Planned-Parenthood supporting, BDSM sex-advice-giving campus publications. Liz Barry’s experience of having copies of her paper ripped up or stolen and receiving anonymous notes in her campus mailbox demanding she stop publishing “offensive and inappropriate” articles follows what previous editors of Enquiry had experienced.

Her description of conservative students being “shamed out of classes,” “ridiculed by professors and students alike,” and receiving suspiciously low grades is just a continuation of what I have been hearing since 2011. The hostile campus environment has long discriminated against those of us with Ph.D.s. As I recounted in my previous article, it is dissuading students from pursuing careers in college teaching, as I learned in the summer of 2011 when I met one Hamilton College student who decided against such a career because of the treatment he had received from professors.

It’s becoming such a torture to even get a four-year degree it wouldn’t be surprising if conservatives started having second thoughts about going to college at all.

The apologists for the left-wing campus mob-ocracy who are quoted repeatedly in Inside Higher Ed are like apologists for Jim Crow in the past. They maintain that conservatives are just not smart enough or interested in “higher learning.” And so if conservatives voluntarily decrease their numbers at four-year colleges, these apologists are unlikely to see anything strange or unwelcome in that development.

Even if conservative undergraduates are put in neck braces, I doubt that these academic fascists will see the broader connection to the cultural and political divide they are creating. That’s something that Charles Murray could tell them about, if they would listen.

About the Author:

Mary Grabar
Mary Grabar holds a PhD and has taught college English since 1993. She writes about education, culture, and politics.
  • That college faculties and the youth sent there by unsuspecting (or sympathetic) parents veer to the far Left is not a new phenomenon. Even sixty years ago Harvard was known as ‘The little Red schoolhouse on the Charles.” What is perhaps new is the level of intolerance and the rise of brown-shirt tactics aimed at intimidating and silencing conservative students and speakers (including, worrisomely, supporters of Israel).

    The proximate fault lies with the pusillanimous administrators of these institutions, who are either afraid to stand up for traditional ideals of free speech and free inquiry, or are themselves convinced that those ideals do not include conservatives. The only remedy I can see is for the alumni of these schools to put away their checkbooks and tell the administrators, “Not another cent until students who intimidate speakers and conservative students are suspended, and disruptors are summarily expelled. And we’re going to tell the world.”

    That’s assuming, of course, that a substantial portion of the alumni are conservative themselves, or at least value the ideal of the University as welcoming the free exchange of ideas. Imagine what effect an alumni letter to prospective parents would have if it said, “Don’t send your child there.”

    /Mr Lynn

  • Obtruder

    When a speaker is formally invited to appear on a college campus, the institution has offered a platform whereby the free exercise of the guest speaker’s 1st Amendment rights are extended.

    The institution itself needs to be held accountable for protecting the free exercise of speech that they have extended. If the administration can’t uphold the terms of the invitation, then the university should be looked at by their regional accreditation agency for civil rights suppression.

    • This is a question of adequate security and safety. A review of campus safety policies that includes but are not limited to the safety of conservative speakers would be a genuine eye opener and national scandal. Pity that nobody seems interested in doing one.

      • Professor X

        Including the accreditation bodies, of course.

    • Professor X

      I almost choked on my oatmeal! It would never happen, but what a great idea. Add First Amendment protection to all the other nonsense they worry about during accreditation… Oh, the outrage that would provoke!

    • GeorgeHanshaw1

      Time for universal open carry. People will find discourse becoming far more polite.

  • Rick

  • Pablo Jay

    Crazy talk. The streets are far worse. Conservatives have been robbed blind, lectured, vilified and “othered” by both national parties and the bureaucracy for decades.

  • TWF

    I think the increasing cost and decreasing benefits will dissuade more conservative youths from attending, but this certainly will add to the trend.

  • mnemonicmike

    “The Bell Curve” caused an uproar on colleges because it implied that, statistically, blacks as a whole are not as bright as Caucasians and Asians. Leftists violently resist that idea as insulting … then they lower the admittance standards for blacks into colleges because, you know, they don’t do as well as whites and Asians.

  • Gottafang

    I am an adjunct instructor of English at a medium-sized university in the south. I taught there as an adjunct back in the 1980s and left to work as a technical writer and trainer for 26 years before returning. I am surrounded by progressive colleagues who, ever day, snarl about Trump in particular and conservatives in general. I tend to skirt around the social-justice themes prescribed in our current curriculum and tell my students that I am there to make them hire-able, or at least put them on the path to succeed with writing assignments in the rest of their classes to make them hire-able (hyphenated because “hireable” just looks weird). I tell them the working world is focused on results, not feelings, that they will find more “inclusiveness” in many small businesses than will ever be preached to them in a college classroom. I tend to demonstrate, as best as I can, my conservative and Christian ideals in how I act toward my students instead of sharing directly with them. With my colleagues, however, I have given myself an order to “stand down and do not engage.” And yet I still have a subtle fear that I’m going to be found out and shamed.

    • I found out you will be fired if not lynched.

    • “Snarl” is an apt description of what they do. I may steal it. 😉

      /Mr Lynn

  • That was a LEFTIST SJW professor who managed to then blame it all on Trump. I wish they had pulled her damn head off and next time maybe they will, inshallah.

  • Jimpithecus

    Trump needs to start attaching strings to the federal funding such that campus speech codes need to be junked, safe spaces need to be dismantled, and if there is active suppression of free speech or mob violence, those involved will be prosecuted, expelled or fired. This needs to start with a rescinding of the “Dear Colleague” letter.

    • GeorgeHanshaw1

      Absolutely wrong. Trump needs to CANCEL federal education funding, just as he is stopping funding to NPR.
      What people get for noththing they come to believe is their right. Make colleges and universities compete in the marketplace. Don’t subsidize winners and losers.

  • David Jay

    “It’s becoming such a torture to even get a four-year degree it wouldn’t be surprising if conservatives started having second thoughts about going to college at all.”

    There’s always Hillsdale…

  • sestamibi

    Why is the possibility of fighting force with force unilaterally dismissed by conservatives? Organize and bring a few baseball bats next time. Or as Obama said, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

  • PolJunkie47

    I wish I could tell all these kids how little they are really learning in these our way is the only way institutions. But, they wouldn’t listen.

  • GRL

    Yes, because universities are now made up of homogenous ultra-leftist administrators and professors who actively support in every way any type of diversity and inclusion EXCEPT diversity of thought. Worse, they have been comfortable discriminating against diversity of thought and overlooking harassment and violence for decades, irreparably damaging real higher level education and learning. Like with every area of society conservatives and libertarians have to fight back, using their own rules against them until it changes. Hold up the mirror.

  • It’s becoming such a torture to even get a four-year degree it wouldn’t be surprising if conservatives started having second thoughts about going to college at all.

    There’s a terrible tension here, because today’s white-collar employers near to unanimously regard a baccalaureate degree as a minimum qualification for consideration. That of course stems from the destruction of American high school education by left-wing polemicists of the same left-wing stripe.

    Therefore America faces a future in which employers are beset by closed-minded liberals — probably as whiny, demanding, and unwilling to learn as college students have largely become — as the only job applicants they will consider, while conservatives are relegated to blue-collar jobs or self-employment. This will not end well.

    • ChuckFinley

      No. It stems from the Griggs v.Duke Power Supreme Court decision. The possession of a college degree is the ONLY legal means by which employers are allowed to distinguish between prospective employees. All methods, including university graduation have a disparate impact that can be statistically related to race but only a college degree is exempt because of the whim and prejudice of the Warren Court.

      • Adobe_Walls

        Ding, ding, ding.

    • Tonestaple

      If it helps, when employers are beset by mobs of whiny leftists, they may eventually lose all patience with them, fire the lot, and pay us gray-hairs large sums of money to come back just because we don’t whine so much. We could make out like bandits.

  • Trump & DeVos need to support a MOOC based National American University, with preliminary credentials & lots of on-line testing, to be validated by a few in person tests proctored by Professors.

    Available for “home university schooling”, but also allow the setting up small college dorm study groups with live TAs to support the study. All for much lower costs — like a max of $12 500 / yr (1/4 of the prior years median taxpayer income).

    In parallel, Berkeley, and possibly Middlebury, should have hearings about whether or not to lose Fed funding.

    The open secret discrimination against Republicans in colleges is illegal, but won’t be stopped until decision makers get punished for their bad decisions.

    A big tax on “excess endowment” of “non-profit” orgs, to help fund the Nat Am Uni of MOOCs for all Americans, would also help. Trump never promised “no new taxes”, and anti-Rep non-profit orgs are ripe for increases, especially on “income inequality” grounds.

  • Bruiser in Houston

    There’s a part of me that wishes I was 35 years younger and had an axe handle in my hand.

  • Adobe_Walls

    Things like this might make one wonder what if any justification there is for any taxpayer funding of ”higher education”.