Occidental College in Los Angeles may epitomize what’s wrong in higher education. Professors cancel class to encourage their students to attend a protest against the “Bush Regime,” campus leaders are forced into mandatory “diversity/sensitivity training,” and some far-Left students seem to believe that a liberal arts education consists of little more than painting a portrait of Bill Clinton. Tuition money – in excess of $40,000 per pupil – is wasted on courses such as "The Unbearable Whiteness of Barbie" and “Stupidity,” a mandatory course for some freshmen, which compares incidents in the presidency to Beavis and Butthead.
On the other hand, Occidental College Junior Michael Gawley may epitomize what’s right in higher education. He is part of a nationwide trend of conservative college students speaking out against leftist indoctrination and conservative bashing by professors and left-wing students.
In the November 9 issue of Occidental’s student-run newspaper, The Oxy Weekly, Gawley published an editorial condemning the treatment of Republicans on college campuses and promoting a plan to create an environment more accepting of conservatives, including establishing a conservative-themed dormitory. According to Gawley’s piece, incidents of harassment against conservative students “are so commonplace that no one even bats an eye at anti-Republican hate speech.”
Let the irony begin.
Shortly after his editorial appeared, the onus of Gawley’s conservative leadership fell on him. He says he became a victim of the vicious intolerance of political diversity at his school – exactly the nadir of discourse he criticized in his editorial.
A Republican sticker on his dormitory door was defaced with a swastika, a horrendous symbol of hate. According to Gawley, he immediately reported the vandalism to the Campus Safety department. As of this writing, Gawley claims Campus Safety officers have not followed up with him, nor have they given any updates into an investigation, if there is one.
This is a stark departure from how Occidental responded to an alleged anti-gay caricature left in the college library. According to student Dane Muckler, the editor who ran Gawley’s piece, then-President Ted Mitchell sent out a campus-wide e-mail condemning the insensitive caricature.
Word spread that Gawley’s door was defaced with a swastika. A student critical of Gawley’s editorial sent him an indescribably insipid e-mail that not only excused the swastika but also suggested Gawley was asking for it. The student urged Gawley to ask himself, “Is there something I'm doing that is offending people? What can I change about my behavior?” He, no doubt, attended one of Occidental’s sensitivity training sessions.
The same apologist-student asked, “Did you ever think that someone drew a swaztika [sic] on your door because they think you represent hate?” Seemingly excusing the incident, the student concluded his e-mail with a misguided left-wing mantra: “Try asking yourself, what could I have done that would make someone do this to me? If the answer is nothing, you need to look deeper.” One could only wonder how this student might console a Holocaust survivor: “Did you do anything to upset Hitler?”
The respectable mechanism to respond to his editorial, whether one agrees or disagrees with Gawley’s perspective, would be to publish a response, in the spirit of creating meaningful political discourse. After all, Gawley even invited some of his critics to discuss the issue on his campus radio talk show, a rather courageous gesture of good will.
Some students did print editorials and letters to the editor; however, their responses and criticisms were neither particularly respectful nor meaningful.
Student Ryan Kluthe mocked the claims of Republican discrimination, repeating the stereotype that all Republicans are elitists who have experienced few, if any, problems in life. “I see a silver spoon in your mouth, no insecurity for the future, always a safe haven to retreat,” wrote Kluthe. He continues, “87 percent of your party is white. Most of you will never know what it is to be pulled over and taken to jail simply for the color of your skin. Outside the [Occidental] bubble many of the people on this campus are at a natural disadvantage, and your party wants to keep it that way, consciously or not.” Kluthe, by the way, is white.
Another student, Jacob McGuffin, doesn’t believe Occidental should encourage ideological diversity. Comparing conservatives to racists, McGuffin writes, “Should [Occidental] also encourage white supremacist views because that would add to the number of different views on campus, thereby increasing diversity in political thought?” How does he react to Gawley’s suggestion to establish a conservative-themed dormitory hall? “This would only segregate students, making it more difficult for conservatives to undergo the maturation necessary to see that a conservative ideology is intrinsically harmful to a more equal society – socially, economically, and politically,” he writes.
Liberal arts institutions like Occidental pride themselves on their dedication to fostering a diverse and accepting community, but as any campus conservative knows, the commitment to diversity ends at political ideology.
Even in an era of extreme political correctness, the most pervasive anti-conservative, anti-Republican, or anti-white speech is not only tolerated but lauded. Far-leftists at Occidental view white republican males, like Gawley, as the enemy: They are racists, oppressors who are politically misguided, and it is the goal of the leftist professors and students to show them the light, in and out of class.
The Occidental course “Whiteness” – bizarrely housed in the Religious Studies department – demonizes whites with a partisan discussion of the “construction of whiteness in the historic, legal, and economic contexts which have allowed it to function as an enabling condition for privilege and race-based prejudice.” This class should be renamed, “Hating Whitey.”
When a student questioned political motivations behind the cancellation of his Core class so students could support a walk-out calling the Bush administration a “fascist regime,” Professor Alexandra Puerto seemed to take offense to the student's “questioning of my political motives.” She wasted no time, however, to assert her “frustration with current conservative agitation about Intelligent Design, women's reproductive health, and civil marriage, as well as legal reforms that seek to unravel social security, environmental protection, and individual privacy.”
Would this professor cancel class for students to protest Affirmative Action in admissions or the curtailing of free speech rights on campus? “Would I cancel class to support a conservative political rally to support one of these issues? No…the majority of Oxy students so [sic] not support those issues.” Of course, supporting political events that challenge the majority of students at Occidental would only encourage meaningful discourse where students would learn from one another, but that point is lost on this professor.
It is no wonder that a student branded a conservative with a swastika. Not only are students indoctrinated in class to view conservative ideology as misguided and racist, but there is no true desire to promote political diversity at all.
Gawley is noble for handling himself with the aplomb of a true conservative, speaking out on a campus widely known for far-Left propaganda presenting discrimination as wrong (except when it’s against a Republican). Conservative students nationwide must take note and follow suit. If all these extremists have are puerile swastikas and derisive language, I don’t know many conservatives who aren’t up for this challenge.
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