As far back as 1965, George Harrison urged his listeners, “Think for yourself.” That was good, countercultural advice at the time, and it seems it still is. But the counterculture has since shifted right, especially on college campuses.
In the wake of the American Civil Liberties Union’s disappointing decision to embrace free speech relativism, I found myself in a room filled with free speech champions late last week. The Network of Enlightened Women, a national book club for conservative college women and recent graduates, had gathered in our nation’s capital for their annual conference.
Attendees heard about a broad array of issues, including: women’s rights overseas, human trafficking, paid family leave, where feminism went wrong, and #adulting. However, the gathering’s single most important message was on the importance of free speech, including a defense of independent thought and respectful dialogue across political divides. . .
In speaking to attendees, I met multiple women who had experienced such one-sided teaching on campuses across the country. Several told stories of watching their grades improve by parroting liberal pieties in final exam essays, rather than sharing their own beliefs, because such “wrong” answers lost points. Of course, being called out as “wrong” in front of a whole class is worse, and when Flanagan took questions, one student described being put on the spot by a professor who dismissed her as racist, simply because she is conservative. . .
While upperclassmen and recent graduates reported that it’s never been easy to be a campus conservative, only one student thought things had not noticeably deteriorated since Trump won the presidency. A Syracuse Law student recounted a professor’s turning class into a group therapy session the day after the 2016 election, so students could vent. An undergraduate from Temple University recalled fellow students literally rioting in Philadelphia that same day. (Read more from “What College Students Say About Their Campuses When They’re Allowed to Be Honest” HERE)