College students shouldn't be afraid to express their conservative and libertarian views

Hate of any kind has no place on campus

College students have become increasingly afraid of expressing their conservative or libertarian opinions because of potential backlash from opposing parties. This is counterproductive to the social progress either side is trying to create.

ASU students represent a large and diverse body of political views. However, the widening distaste for the conservative and libertarian parties among college-age individuals has deterred many students from expressing their beliefs. 

Recently, the media has exposed members of the alt-right for various bigoted views and actions. This has caused many students to make sweeping generalizations about those on the conservative spectrum. 

However, it is important for college students to understand that the vast majority of conservative-aligned individuals have absolutely nothing in common with members of the alt-right. 

Conservative students have grown tired of the same old sentiments – “you’re a racist” or “you’re sexist” has become a repetitive, dishonest mantra. The extremity of these accusations has left students afraid of admitting their conservative affiliation, even when they publicly condemn expressions of bigotry.

"There is a girl in the teacher’s college and she works for University Housing, and she fears losing her job if people find out that she’s conservative," Jennifer Custis, president of the College Republicans and political science senior, said. "This isn't just in University housing too. There is obviously a liberal bias with professors, and many students fear that if they express conservatism, it will reflect in their grades."

The overuse of these allegations has also diluted the weight of actual bigotry. Inappropriately using these insults as a way to demonize a different opinion is disrespectful to real victims of racism and sexism. 

The incessant name-calling and violence towards individuals with differing opinions is an ineffective way to create a valid argument – using insults rather than factual evidence invalidates any argument. 

Considering the lack of college students’ willingness to admit conservative or libertarian views, there is a skewed misrepresentation of political alignment on campus. 

Political groupthink on campus has also prevented students from expressing these views. When students believe that the vast majority is against them, they become more reluctant to express their opinions. 

"There is a lot of student backlash, but not from all of the other organized groups on campus. We get along with the Young Democrats very well," Custis said. "I was tabling the other day and I had a lot of people come up to me and tell me that I was trash, and that Republicans are trash."

It is important that students with conservative or libertarian beliefs understand the value of expressing their concerns. Political conversation is a meaningful way for students to consider which issues are most important to them, and how to address these issues in the future. 

True conservatives should condemn all forms of hatred of bigotry, no matter which side of the spectrum it emerges from. In order to produce change, college students need to find ways to compromise.


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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