College students often fall victim to political groupthink

While college campuses are diverse in terms of politics, groupthink has become a problem

When coming to college, students are exposed to a variety of new political ideas. In an ideal world, this would challenge students to rethink their beliefs or see a perspective they may have not known existed. 

However, in recent years, college students have become more susceptible to groupthink out of fear of offending someone or becoming part of the minority opinion. 

ASU is a melting pot for different political beliefs. Nonetheless, the way these differing beliefs are viewed and tolerated is a completely different story.

“With political correctness even more of a menace to free speech and free thought than it was back then, it is nearly impossible for anyone except the truly strong to stand up and speak truth,” Constantin Querard, president of Grassroots Partners, LLC (a political communication and lobbying service company), said. 

Students are often victims of political groupthink out of fear of being ostracized by their peers. Many are blind to the value of challenging different perspectives because they are afraid of being demonized for having a minority opinion. Students may find themselves aligning with the majority instead of looking to critically evaluate a policy or situation. 

College students should make better use of their time and knowledge. While students attend university, they have access to endless resources to analyze and explore different ideas. 

Challenging each other’s views is what creates exceptional new ideas and compromise. If students do not develop this ability while in school, they may become uncomfortable with developing ideas that are unique or creative in the future. This could potentially create a generation of unimaginative leaders.

Even if students disagree with an idea that is in no way offensive or hurtful, they should be able to respect it. Using political correctness as a way to restrict harmless opposing ideas is detrimental to free speech.

Students are watching this phenomenon occur on college campuses across the nation. This has caused many people to fear expressing their beliefs because of potential hate and backlash. 

“If you want to stand up on campus and promote some absurd philosophy, you are likely to get applauded for ‘pushing the boundaries,’ but if you stand to defend time-proven concepts, you are often ridiculed,” Querard said. “It stems from a desire to be seen as ‘cutting edge’ instead of ‘old fashioned,’ but at some point, more students are going to realize that if telling the truth is the brave thing to do, it’s also the cool thing to do.”

It is important for students to learn the value of considering different perspectives. Often times, compromise is the best solution to a problem, so different ideas deserve to be respected and considered by others. 

This is not to say that ideas supporting sexism, racism or bigotry should be tolerated or accepted — these concepts do not reflect a progressive mindset.  

Political groupthink should be eradicated so that good ideas are challenged to be better and bad ideas are proven to be unfit. 

College is supposed to be an educational environment, used to produce the leaders of tomorrow. If students continue to fall victim to groupthink, society will suffer from a lack of political diversity and acceptance of new ideas. 

Students are excellent proponents for innovation and change. Thus, it is important for them to let their creativity and political thought processes flourish in order to create more educated members of society. 


Reach the columnist at amsnyde6@asu.edu or follow @AnnieSnyder718 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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