The plight of conservative college students

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Having spoken to some parents and to several college students in the last few years, I have learned of the plight that young conservatives face on college campuses. It should come as no surprise that in institutions of higher learning, where progressive and socialist indoctrination takes a front seat to educating, that conservative students walk around with targets painted on them. Their struggle to hold true to their values and beliefs is constantly under siege and challenged. While many people focus on the indoctrination taking place on campus, I want to explore the harassment and abuse of conservatives instead.

These students are on the front lines of the civil strife of our nation. On some campuses, they are taunted by their fellow students if they wear anything that identifies them as being part of a campus Republican group. I have been told stories of students deliberately colliding with them simply because they don’t agree with them. One young woman told me that she had reached a point where she removed her Republican sticker from her notebook computer simply to avoid the less-than-subtle collisions while walking across campus, they were that regular.

Another told me that when they invite speakers to campus, there are sometimes protests to prevent the speakers from even entering the venue. In one case, in a Virginia college, the leftist activist students sent threatening letters to an upcoming speaker, warning that she would be ‘unsafe’ on the campus. In this instance, the speaker canceled coming rather than put her life at risk. There was spillover against the students for even inviting someone on campus who was conservative. So much for dissenting voices.

When the students turn to the campus leadership to ensure protection, none is provided. School administrators are fond of ignoring complaints that come from conservative students.

One pair of students told me of the subtle sabotage that the campus administrators allowed.  When they would book an event, confirming it, the event would mysteriously disappear from the calendar, sometimes the day of their event. This has happened multiple times.  When the campus administration was told about it, they did nothing to accommodate these clear acts of digital sabotage.

There are student groups that monitor other students’ social media accounts. A parent shared with me that their daughter had been physically confronted by students who had noted that she had not posted her support for an upcoming BLM event on campus on Facebook. It was an instance of, “If you aren’t with us you are against us.” Despite her misgivings, and hoping to be off of their radar, she put up a BLM message on Facebook.  When she didn’t show up to the event, however, she was once again confronted. The message was clear, she was being followed, both online and physically.

This is a one-way street. We don’t hear instances of conservative students issuing threats, using intimidation, protesting, or shoving others on campus. The reason is simple – they don’t do it. This kind of bullying is the hallmark of the radical socialists on campus, self-appointed social justice warriors, and the woke mob. More importantly, it is condoned by the people running our universities, if not openly encouraged. As a result, many campus conservatives have been forced to be underground organizations in order to survive.

I’m sure some leftists will argue that these are anecdotal instances, stories…that don’t accurately reflect the realities on campus. I would argue that even if these occurrences are rare, they should not be tolerated at all. There is no one holding the school leadership accountable for this.

Another way to think of the harassment of conservatives is that if you replace the word ‘conservatives’ with any other group, let’s say, lesbians or members of the Islamic faith, would these behaviors be tolerated? No. In fact, the mainstream media would pounce on such stories, inflating the risks and hate, calling for investigations. Task forces would be formed, banners for justice would be plastered all over campus. The hypocrisy is blatant and disgusting. These progressive activists can act with impunity and they know it.

When I attended school, colleges taught reasoning and logic; the ability to look at both sides of an issue and use critical thinking to arrive at a conclusion. Those days are long gone.  Now the colleges are hunting grounds where the conservative student groups are the targets. If action isn’t taken soon, I fear that verbal abuse and physical bullying are going to escalate into something far more dangerous, if not deadly. It is only a matter of time.

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Blaine L. Pardoe

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