Professor Susan J. Douglas, chairwoman of the University of
Michigan Communications department, wrote an article for the online
publication In These Times in which she rails against
conservatives and openly expresses her dislike of them.
She writes, “According to researchers, the two core dimensions
of conservative thought are resistance to change and support for
inequality. These, in turn, are core elements of social
intolerance. The need for certainty, the need to manage fear of
social change, lead to black-and-white thinking and an embrace of
stereotypes. Which could certainly lead to a desire to deride those
not like you-whether people of color, LGBT people [.]”
She concludes, “So now we hate them back. And for good
Apparently, conservatives actively endorse social intolerance
and embrace stereotypes. Conservatives also deride those not like
All of this criticism is included ironically in an article that
proudly advocates for hatred towards conservatives.
Defenders of Professor Douglas’ article have stated that she has
the right to her opinion and that she speaks for herself and not
She surely has the right to her opinion.
However, what about the university’s commitment to
non-discrimination? The University of Michigan website reads: “The
University of Michigan has, as one of its core values, an abiding
commitment to sustaining a community in which the dignity of every
individual is respected. Key to this value are efforts to foster
and nurture an environment of civility and mutual respect.”
“Hate” towards a particular group of people surely does not
honor this “abiding commitment.” What about the “dignity” of
conservatives on campus?
Grant Strobl, chairman of the University of Michigan Young
Americans for Freedom chapter and member of the Young Americans for
Freedom Board of Governors, responded, “College is about freely and
civilly discussing ideas. Unfortunately, I and many others feel
that statements like these are adding to the close-minded
environment on campus.”
Unfortunately, this incident is not an exception at the
University of Michigan or in academia in general.
Grant also added regarding another recent incident in which a
student on campus was attacked for his unpopular viewpoints: “Omar
Mahmood was fired from the Michigan Daily for an
article satirizing political correctness, and subsequently had his
door to his apartment vandalized and egged. This is not the
environment that the University of Michigan should be
Earlier this week, Young America’s Foundation released the list
of top 11 politically correct campus debacles of 2014. Included
were such controversies as a University of California-Santa Barbara
professor’s assaulting a 16-year-old pro-life activist who was
displaying literature about abortion on campus and the Virginia
Tech Young Americans for Freedom chapter’s being notified that its
funding had been rescinded after hosting a lecture by Bay Buchanan
on the topic of illegal immigration.
Also included in this list was the University of Michigan’s
requirement for students to take a course of “Race and Ethnicity”
in order to graduate.
Will the University of Michigan take any action to confront
these attacks against conservatives head-on? Or will the university
let them slide, merely paying lip service to its own commitment to
a civil environment?
Raj Kannappan is the Young Americans for Freedom Chapter