JIMMY GRAHAM | firstname.lastname@example.org
For many conservative students, such as myself, it can feel like universities are hostile towards our points of view. I personally experienced this while attending my freshman year of college at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. This hostility started almost the moment that I stepped on the campus. On my first day, a student approached to sign a petition for a leftist cause. I simply said to him “no thank you, sir.” He then responded by calling me a “racist bigot” and walking away. I experienced many other instances like this throughout the year. Another example of this was when a professor directly stating to the class that “people who vote conservative are generally uneducated rednecks.” Overall, the school did not promote free speech whatsoever. The year I was there, DePaul’s College Republicans raised money to get conservative pundit, Gavin McInnes, to speak at the school. However, the administration cancelled the event because they claimed his views encouraged violence and had no place at the school.
Despite DePaul being a private school, it is not the only school that is silencing the voices of conservatives. In colleges across the country it is becoming seemingly more apparent that only one kind of thought will be tolerated. I am not saying that every professor and every college is biased. In many colleges even biased ones, there are fair teachers. However, generally, there are many colleges and professors that show this trend. Personally, I think it is unfortunate that many colleges are going along with this. Rather than promoting free thought and expression, they are pandering to one side and denying the other its freedom of speech. By being blatantly biased, universities are hurting their students intellectually because it shelters those with a liberal point of view from having their ideas challenged, and those with a conservative point of view are discouraged from sharing their ideas and perspectives in the classroom without facing ridicule.
Despite many colleges discouraging free speech, I have noticed in my short time at Parkside that the school has an environment that is fair to not only my views, but all of its student’s views, whether they are on the left or right. I was elected political director of the College Republicans and have helped bring in local conservatives such as State Senator Leah Vukmir and State Representative Samantha Kerkman. The school gave us no issues about bringing in these speakers and everyone at the event was respectful of them. Even interacting with students that have a different points of view than I do, I am able to have a civilized debate with them without any name calling. Overall, it seems to me that Parkside, unlike many other schools, is an institution that is open to free speech and expression for all of its students.
Jimmy Graham is a sophomore majoring in business management and is political director of College Republicans.