Where are all the Conservatives?

by Adil Ahmad | 10/28/03 6:00am

Original quote: "He [Adil] is a raging racist who just rants and knows nothing of substance." Now adjusted for liberal talk: "He is a conservative who voices his strongly right-leaning, realist opinions in public without fear of retribution." The fellow who made this comment was one of those "nice -- meaning liberal" students who blatantly discriminated against conservatives. He was so biased that he instructed his team at an organization he headed to find a "nice little liberal" as his successor and not a "conservative prick" because he wanted "someone pleasant" to follow him.

In Wednesday's issue of The Dartmouth, Jeff Hart, emeritus professor of English, pointed out that conservatives choose not to go into academia because they "don't think they can get anywhere in the academic profession." He further said that college professors felt that while liberalism was common sense, conservatism was a "psychological aberration or bad character." Professor Ivy Schweitzer thought that the general atmosphere at Dartmouth is liberal because "we are a liberal arts institution, and liberal arts education is supposed to produce 'liberal' attitudes that encourage forward thinking ideas about inclusion, equality and innovation." A senior at Dartmouth succinctly commented, "Wrong!" In reality, the "Liberal" in "Liberal Arts" refers to unspecialized and nonscientific studies pursued by undergraduate students at a college, not liberal political views.

David Brooks in his controversial "New York Times" article quoted Alan Kors, co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, as saying "it is simply the case they [conservatives] will be entering hostile and discriminatory territory" on college campuses. Robert George of Princeton pointed out that conservative students "face pressure to conform [to liberal ideas]," or they will be victims of discrimination.

Last year, the Student Government at Amherst College refused to accept a diversity senate representative from the College Republicans because it was an ideologically biased group that had little presence on campus. Interestingly, the diversity senate seat was meant to represent such minority groups. "It ought to go without saying that conservative students have been silenced on this campus There is only one registered Republican among this year's faculty a number of crimes have been perpetrated against Republicans in recent years as a result of their political orientation," stated Amherst College Republicans Chairman Theodore Hertzberg '04.

Looking at Wednesday's poll results, only 3.5 percent of professors who responded supported President Bush. Only 22 percent of students who polled backed the President. In contrast, a recently conducted Gallup poll indicated that the President's national approval ratings stand at 56 percent. Also in Thursday's paper, Vivian Chung's tone in "Admissions office confronts conservative stereotype" was almost apologetic. That Dartmouth's stereotype as a conservative college was rapidly changing was reiterated several times, and it was made apparent that a more liberal image would attract better students.

What is up with all this liberal bias on college campuses? I had come to Dartmouth primarily because it was a conservative bastion in a sea of "vast left-wing conspiracies," but within just a few days, I was proved wrong when a copy of a liberal publication landed outside my door. I thought it was some kind of humor publication with its colorful cover and ridiculous name, but alas, the 2005 first-year issue introduced us freshmen to "many dimensions of progressive politics at Dartmouth, including: being LGBT, environmental activism, criticism of the Greek system, and a history of womens' (sic) experiences at the college." I left it lying in a trashcan with my dreams of enjoying a conservative environment.

Republicans do exist here, but they aren't free from discrimination. A conservative publication was banned from dorm distribution before any other, and the editor-in-chief was recently expelled from a media fair. How was this any different from The Dartmouth (which is another student-run newspaper independent of the college) being ejected? Most Republicans on campus are "closet" Republicans and conservatives, as if conservatism is something similar to homosexuality.

Colleges supposedly encourage students to pursue fields of study and political viewpoints that they find closest to their hearts, and this liberal bias will only frustrate conservative students. If colleges and universities continue discriminating against conservatives, then I do not see any way in which such institutions can foster a diverse intellectual environment. It is time that we started accepting more conservatives into the academic world and creating a balanced environment. Or else, we will just "have to go to Washington and run the country."