Lack of respect toward conservative voices limits learning environment on campuses

Adam Tannenbaum, Staff Writer

The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Chief Justice John Roberts at Butler University, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Rutgers University and conservative columnist George Will at Scripps College are all examples of conservative political or media figures who were slated to speak on college campuses but were either uninvited by the college or decided not to speak because the distraction of their appearance would take away from the content of their prose. These are just three examples of what has become a growing trend at non-denominational colleges and universities across the United States. Conservative voices are not being given the appropriate platform to express their ideas at American institutes of higher education. 

Fifty-six Democrats gave commencement speeches at American colleges and universities in 2014, while only 26 Republicans did so. That means that, by more than two to one, Democrats outnumbered Republicans as commencement speakers.

As a liberal who contributes to the point of view that dominates debate on college campuses, I can say first-hand that conservative voices are not only unwelcome at most non-denominational colleges and universities, but conservative viewpoints many times have a difficult time making their way through liberal-dominated classroom discussions. As Michael Mahfouz, treasurer of the College Republicans at Tulane, said “I often feel that people who identify as conservatives are automatically discredited”.

College campuses should be leading the way in creating an environment where open and respectful discussions on different ideas can take place, and not be an echo-chamber only reverberating self-held beliefs.

As a current undergraduate student, I want there to be an easily accessible and open platform where any opinion that I may agree or disagree with can be voiced. College is about expanding one’s mind and being open to and hearing new ideas. Though I might not agree with everything I hear, I want my fellow students to be able to have the opportunity to easily put their ideas forward.

American colleges and universities should be incubators for new and unorthodox ideas. While some ideas may be offensive to certain people, college campuses should be a place where all different points of view and ideas are heard.

Adam Tannenbaum is a junior at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected].

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