We live in the age where political platforms and opinions cover a larger spectrum than ever before. We have the five main political parties: Republican, Democratic, Green, Independent, and Constitution. Klauz von Beyne designed a systematic spectrum to arrange political parties and specific denominations along a line running left to right, which is the system most widely used today to identify yourself, politically speaking. College campuses are taking advantage of this system and using their own podiums to press their political beliefs upon their students.

Here are a few examples of this partisan system:

Non-discrimination policies

Universities pride themselves on having an eloquently written out set of policies outlining the many provisions that they make to protect students, and they usually go something like this:

The University prohibits unlawful discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), and retaliation against anyone based on religion or religious belief, color, race, marital status, veteran or military status, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, disability, genetic information, or any other legally protected class, in education, admission, access to or treatment in, its programs, services, benefits, activities, and terms and conditions of employment at the University.

(Section II of the University Of Massachusetts Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy)

Notice that provisions aren’t made to protect students that are discriminated against on a political basis. Politics are a controversial topic that is also talked about in the classroom, and it is important for students to feel comfortable, protected, and safe when expressing their opinions in a university setting.

With most policies mirroring this one, I fear that a lot of students face political discrimination and have nowhere to turn to except for their politically parallel peers. Universities are very crafty with their wording to not include politics for the sole reason that they don’t have to cater to students that experience this variety of political debacles.

Liberal students are covered under this jurisdiction with the gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation biases from being discriminated against. Now that universities have an established liberal leaning, they have on-campus resources like Departments of Diversity and Inclusion to further help these students with their daily difficulties and other students on the right side of the spectrum have no resources to turn to.

Preferred pronouns

The use of preferred pronouns was an important aspect for LGBTQIA students to feel included, and colleges were quick to catch on and adapt to this nonbinary and gender-nonconforming term. Liberals are happy to push an agenda that preaches inclusivity for the members of their own political family, but not to quench the conservative thirst for inclusion.

Colleges caught onto this trend by incorporating a section in staff member email signatures that are relegated to their preferred pronouns with each of the three conjugations of self-identification. If colleges are going to use diversity and inclusion as a selling point for their specific institution, can they not afford to hear more right-winged political ideations? I am all for the inclusion of all people regardless of their gender identity and political affiliation, but can colleges do the same?

Post-election statements

Many universities released post-election statements expressing their deep concerns, condolences, and other frustrations regarding President-Elect Donald J. Trump. Isn’t this a bit troublesome since campuses are supposed to represent a diverse campus with a wide range of political views?

Some campuses posted links to progressive movements promoting the safety pin campaign. Others preached how staff members and students alike could act to fight the removal of undocumented students, and advice on how white people can take opportunities to fight for racial justice. A consortium of 100 campuses banded together and wrote a letter to Donald Trump outlining their preconceived concerns before he was even sworn into office, insinuating that he was headed down a dark path.

Here is an excerpt from University of Massachusetts at Boston’s post-election statement:

[M]any of us are shaken by the results. As transnational, indigenous, intersectional and anti-racist feminist scholars, and practitioners, and scholars of conscience, we feel compelled to speak out about the implications of this political moment for the work we do and the communities of which we are a part...Racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, homophobic, ablest, transphobic and misogynist views have been rampant in the public sphere...Although critical thinking and transgressive pedagogy are often perceived as dangerous to certain political agendas...We must do what we do best which is to provide alternative ways of thinking, expose myths and lies throughout our research and writing, engage a broader public, and insist upon critical and dissident inquiry that interrogate unsubstantiated claims...(National Women’s Studies Association as quoted by the University of Massachusetts at Boston)

There is a clear political slant that the university takes in this statement, and it very evidently attacks students that support the current administration.

The university wants to “engage a broader public,” yet they close their minds to opposing opinions and imply that their political rivals refuse to use critical thinking skills. The university also states that they were shaken by the results. My question is, why? Why are you surprised that there are citizens that voted that have different opinions from your own? This is a melting pot of a country, one that embraces a wide spectrum of thinking and different sets of beliefs. I encourage students to be open-minded and accepting of others’ beliefs, but that is something that colleges refuse to acknowledge.

The implementation of women and gender studies

The advent of fourth wave feminism, the nuances of gender nonconformity and non-binaries, and the newly discovered sexual orientations have all paved a pride flag pathway to the political revamping in the courses of study for college students.

This was a great improvement for universities to include these new major and minor programs for students, however, this continues to strictly cater to liberal and more left-leaning students and faculty, leaving conservatives and other right-winged students to take courses of study that don’t accommodate to their political opinions. The Department of women and gender studies has classes that range from Feminist Activism, and Women in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, to Latinas in the United States. This is a great inclusion in the university’s course list, however, there are none that supplement a right-wing view on these same matters.

Professors

Professors are great people that come to their job every day to educate the minds of the future.

Despite this notion, I have not encountered one on this campus that shares even remotely similar right-winged beliefs as I do, and I believe that this is by design. The university has a reputation to uphold to “do what we do best which is to provide alternative ways of thinking,” (UMass Post-Election Statement. Most of my professors' delegate podium time to preach their tangential thoughts on what Trump has done wrong this time, each lecture is another episode in this endless liberal saga. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate having another perspective to widen my political scope, however, I don’t like when they try to push their views down my throat while simultaneously refuting my own. I am only taking English classes this semester, so I don’t see how politics has any relevance to the content that we study.

One of my professors last semester targeted me and a few other Republican students when she said, “I know there are Trump supporters in here. I know there are. What are we supposed to say to them?” I felt so torn and disheartened by this, and it made me reconsider my admission decision.

The campus stores

I thought of all places on campus that I could feel politically at home grabbing a snack and cracking open a good book in the campus store, but I was proven wrong one day when I saw the “New Arrivals” shelf.

One book that caught my eye was titled, “A Child’s First Book of Trump,” a New York Times bestseller by Michael Ian Black and Marc Rosenthal. This satirical Dr. Seuss parody portrays President Trump as a caricature version of the Lorax. College campuses are even targeting children in their libraries and preaching their anti-Trump agenda to toddlers with deceptively colorful books with a Shel Silverstein type of energy and rhyme scheme. All readers need to know about this book is a summary provided by the Google Play store:

With his signature wit and a classic picture book style, comedian Michael Ian Black introduces those unfamiliar with the Americus Trumpus to his distinguishing features and his mystifying campaign for world domination…sorry…President of the United States.

(Google Play)

To conclude

I love college and everything about college, but campuses need to be more cautious about their political footing if they plan on widening their spectrum for future applicants. Many campuses are immune to acknowledging their liberal-leaning despite student knowledge, and I want to spread awareness of this issue. I am proud of university-wide efforts to cater to liberal ways of thinking, however, if universities and institutions want to maintain their immaculate and iron-clad reputation for being diverse and inclusive, they need to prepare themselves for a right-wing awakening.

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