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  • Conservative Club Defends First Amendment

    11/26/2012 2:57:27 PM Posted by Patrick Coyle
    A and M LogoBy Jiesi Zhao 

    Too often we hear about the Left-wing bias on college campuses. Here at Young America's Foundation, we call attention to this bias so that campuses become more aware and hopefully then work to create a more balanced atmosphere where non-leftist ideas can be heard.

    And while many schools certainly do not welcome different viewpoints, some campuses, nevertheless, are more openly hostile than others. Texas A&M, for example, refused to help provide funding for Star Parker to come onto campus, claiming that the nature of the event is too "social and political" to be funded by the university.

    The Conservative club at Texas A & M promptly brought suit (December 2011), citing various instances where the university had no problem providing funding for leftist "social and political" events. Earlier this week, the university decided to settle the case and agreed to pay $1000 to the club. By not going forward in the lawsuit, the university inherently admitted its wrongdoing and bias.

    Not only do I applaud the campus organization for having the courage to bring a lawsuit against their university, but I am also optimistic that the incident highlights the fact that many college campuses are hostile to non-leftist ideas. Furthermore, it points to the alarming disregard for the freedom of thought and expression that many campus administrators harbor when it comes to non-leftist ideas. I'm not saying that campuses must vigorously seek to invite conservative speakers or host events (I'm against "affirmative action" when it comes to diversity of thought), but they should at least practice fairness in allowing different thoughts to be heard when there is student interest.

    Actively preventing conservative speakers from coming onto campus, while welcoming leftists, is more than an outright display of bias. It is a blatant disregard for diversity of thought, and is frankly unconstitutional discrimination. Higher education should be a forum for an exchange of ideas and learning from other's differences. Students should never feel afraid to express their ideas, and administrators certainly should not work to hamper their ability to do so.     

    Jiesi Zhao is a Foundation activist and a current law school student at the University of Michigan.

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