Opinion Column published in The Utah Statesman on November 1, 2021 at 8:00 am
College is not just about taking classes, it’s about leaving a positive impact on campus.
Not since the Civil War has there been such fundamental disagreement over basic assumptions about our national identity. The United States is in the midst of a “culture war.” Much more than a disagreement, it’s a conflict between two irreconcilable worldviews. Republicans and Democrats are locked in a battle for the soul of America, waged foremost in American schools and on college campuses. With Washington politics influencing our local community, we need Aggies that are willing to be leaders instead of followers.
Racist and anti-American ideologies like Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project have been embraced by Democrats. Gender-neutral bathrooms have been a particular source of contention. Since Democrats like Barack Obama ridicule parents’ concerns over sexual assault allegations as “fake outrage,” it’s obvious Democrats are more concerned with pushing identity politics into our schools than solving real issues.
One of the most effective ways to combat this encroachment onto our college campus is by joining USU College Republicans. Whether you are Republican, conservative or liberty minded, there are many ways for you to get involved and make a positive impact on campus.
The mission of the USU College Republicans is “to create awareness of conservative beliefs and ideas on campus, increase political awareness among our members, campaign and volunteer for Republican candidates and provide a social network for conservative students. We help advance the Republican cause through activism, education, events and involvement on Utah State University campus, throughout Cache Valley and the State of Utah.”
While USU encourages open dialogue, students are wary of speaking out. I have spoken with many students who feel strongly about issues but are not comfortable talking openly about them.
“I don’t want to be labeled for something I said or feel like I might lose others’ respect if I speak out,” said Rigby Westerson, a USU student.
It’s more important now than ever that we cultivate a community of civil dialogue and provide a platform where conservative students feel they can be vocal on campus without fear of retaliation.
“I believe civic engagement on campus is key to cultivating civility,” said Ryan Smith, the new president of USU College Republicans. “I encourage students who are conservative to share their opinions on campus but always to do so with respect and dignity. We need to stand firm in what we stand for but remember to listen to others’ opinions. I think some students choose to not share their views because of fear of retaliation. I hope that students will always feel that their first amendment rights on campus are protected. I encourage all at USU to continue promoting the free exchange of ideas on campus.”
Many conservatives believe college has become a leftist indoctrination camp. Research from the National Association of Scholars found Democratic professors to outnumber Republicans 9 to 1 at top college campuses. University classes in the humanities and social sciences, such as gender studies and history, have become a regurgitation exercise of useless “woke” ideology pushing conformity with no diversity of thought or critical thinking skills.
Aristotle said, “Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe in.”
Despite what you may think, your professors are not always right. They do not have all the answers and are often wrong. While it may be difficult, students need to have the courage to speak up, question, and challenge material in class they may not agree with.
“Thoughtcrime” has now become a very real social stigma especially for students, and we must be wary of cultivating an environment of hostile groupthink on campus. Liberalism, which was once defined as a willingness to respect different opinions has become a misnomer. Liberalism must be rescued from the left’s intolerance.
USU needs more Republicans to stand for our shared values. If you want to have an impact, protect student rights, build the community or just network with conservative students, USU College Republicans is the club for you. USU College Republicans will have their first meeting on Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. in Old Main Room 225. To join the best club on campus, sign up here.
Keaton Hagloch is a Public Health major and has a passion for politics and writing. He currently works as an Opinion Columnist for the Utah Statesman.