The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The silence of conservatives at Lafayette: Opinion

David Bishop Skillman Library at Lafayette College. (Lauren Fox ’19)

My friends and I have become aware that our campus has a very noticeable liberal bias. Most of the college’s programming champions liberal causes. Most speakers that are invited on campus repeat the same tropes of oppression of minorities, injustice in the criminal justice system, decrying the patriarchy and sexual liberty for students. All these topics are worthwhile and deserve serious intellectual consideration. But when they are the only views that occupy our intellectual space and marketplace of ideas, a problem arises.

At Lafayette, conservative views never get to see the light of the day. Those who hold these views are never given the opportunity to express them independent of speaking up at brown bags, which have a palpable liberal bent. Those who want to hear conservative views can never do so because the college does not have programming or speakers who champion them.

I remember a talk last semester in which the speaker deplored what she called “purity culture,” and spoke in favor of sex outside and before marriage as consistent with the teachings of the Bible. With a topic as loaded as this, one would think the conversation would go on with a speaker who defends sexual continence would be invited to speak, as well. Nothing like this happened. Instead, when the talk was over and the student populace was filled with libertine sexual propaganda, the topic was closed on the same consensus it started on.

Although this seems to be the norm with events on this campus, all views need to be expressed and explored. This is not because we feel an affirmative action for them, but because the college has a duty to create an environment that allows for a diversity of views.

A friend of mine has speculated that liberal professors and students are much more active than their conservative counterparts, and so conservative professors and students need to take up a greater burden in trying to get their opinions across. The laxity of conservatives should not be an excuse, because in not hearing their views, we are doing ourselves a disservice. Preventing this is in everyone’s interest.

A start to change this would be for those in charge of programming to make a conscious effort to promote programming that speaks to the views of other groups represented on campus. Most importantly, liberal students, those in charge of programming and faculty members need to expel the notion that a rich and intellectually rigorous ideology like conservatism is a code word for bigotry and hatred. These two things will help broaden the intellectual marketplace to include all views and expose the liberal echo chamber on campus to some much-needed alternative music.

Written by Mwangala Simataa ’18

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  • A

    Acid MouthwashMar 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    The vagueness of this article speaks volumes.

    I, too, would like to see more conservative views expressed on-campus, but without a clear definition of what constitutes a “conservative view,” you’ve really put the college in a precarious position. If you define it as “the viewpoints of the current presidential administration,” I hope you’ll understand why Lafayette may not want to host topics supporting a criminal justice system designed to exploit and destroy black bodies or a stern defense of why transgender students should be forced to use whatever bathroom designated by the state. If you define conservative viewpoints exclusively fiscally, they’re certainly more palatable, but there’s still contain some incredibly problematic discussions about the working poor. Do we invite speakers who don’t believe in global warming? How about speakers like Milo, who believe gays should re-closet? Should we invite, as you seem to suggest, speakers who will thump the bible and ask our “libertine” students to close their legs? This is why a description of what you’d like to see would go a long way.

    Secondly, the concept that “conservative views never see the light of day” at Lafayette is laughable. As a recent alum (in a humanity, no less!), I can tell you that I routinely heard conservative talking points in classrooms, discussions between peers, faculty decisions, Greek life, and literally every student function with more than one white person. If your beliefs are constantly being met with criticism, that’s not a failure of the marketplace of ideas. That’s the free market determining your ideas aren’t valuable enough to take up as much space as you demand. Surely you, as a conservative, can appreciate the beauty of that.

    • L

      Luka GorgaSep 21, 2018 at 5:42 pm

      I would recommend you to invite 3 speakers:
      1. Jonathan Height
      2. A random person who lived in Eastern Europe under a communist regime
      3. Jordan Peterson
      and bombard them with questions for 4 hours each. Then, think about their answers, arm yourself with counter arguments and invite them again for another round of questions.
      I’m sure at the end you will have a better understanding of who you are and what exactly you stand for. If you have no reference point you are lost, but you don’t know it. An awful place to be as a young individual.

      • A

        Acid MouthwashOct 30, 2018 at 11:21 pm

        Why are you fooling around in a weird fantasy world where I have the opportunity to ask Peterson 4 hours worth of questions about why he thinks it’s appropriate to have state-mandated girlfriends? If that’s the only universe where your worldview makes sense, I have some bad news about your reference point.

        Anyway, I hope you will find the time to watch four hours of content from the following intellectual thinkers, each as well-equipped as Peterson, if not better.
        1. Slavoj Žižek.
        2. A random person currently suffering from Ligma.
        3. A 17th century book on etiquette that’s gained sentience and sounds like Kermit the Frog.

    • S

      Salvatore AliSep 26, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      As a member of the class of ’74 I am rather disappointed that you have appointed yourself the judge of what is acceptable speech.
      Why do you bring race and the shortcomings of the criminal justice system into the conversation.
      Part of becoming an educated person is to encourage diversity of opinion lest you become a tenant of an “echo chamber” community that is neither diverse nor educated.

      • A

        Acid MouthwashOct 30, 2018 at 11:25 pm

        I’m not appointing myself the judge of anything – I’m asking the writer to defend their own standards of what constitutes meaningful dialogue. I personally don’t feel as if easily-falsifiable nationalist nonsense is worth discussing at a place of higher education.

        If you read my second paragraph, you can see that Lafayette is and has been a hotbed of intellectual diversity, regardless of what the author would like you to believe.

        Finally, this comment is a year old. Since then, half of the speakers who were invited as part of this “conservative thinker outreach program” outed themselves as YouTube trolls in it to make a quick buck off of concerned baby boomers with a few panicky videos about how mean college students are to conservatives.

      • L

        Lux FiatApr 13, 2021 at 10:23 pm

        As an older alum, you’d think you would have learned to avoid logical fallacies such as begging the question.

  • W

    WandaMar 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    What an interesting read. I consider myself somewhat conservative & hesitate to voice my opinions on social media for fear of the way people will interpret them.

    • J

      jumperthrowersoldierOct 23, 2023 at 12:46 pm

      my apologies for being years late to the dance. i from the Hill over 50 yrs ago. i began that journey as a white WASP athlete, morphed into a quasi liberal traveler as my humanities classes , then finished up center or center right. I also earned an army ROTC commission as this was during Vietnam an I feared being drafted. in 1972 I entered active duty stateside at a training post. my hair was over my ears and my boots were never spit shined but I was trained well. my peers and superiors considered me somewhat liberal, but my thinking was dead center and i never ever admitted to a liberal bias. since the army base was in the south, i knew i was going to be surrounded by huntin, fishin, gun toting folks who were wary of Yankees like me but we mostly got along or perhaps coexisted for the sake of getting the job done, which was turning out basic trainees. I had asked to be considered for selection to special forces, but was denied flat out as those slots were for regular, not reserve officers like me, but a training gig was tedious and boring so i entertained outside activities like playing football for my battalion, brigade and eventually the post team. at one point , I was actually my battalion QB, until a foot injury moved me to the sidelines. Not much of a drinker, i never visited the officers club, which was considered a negative by my peers as army officers were smack in the middle of the alcohol culture. in my 2 year tour, i managed to work for some several outstanding officers and one real jerk who swore he was “” gonna make me a soldier” He was airborne qualified, commissioned via OCS, drove a Vette and thought he was Gods gift. i bit my lip more than once as I was about to reply with ‘ Sir I forgot more” but forftunately maintained military discipline. My NCOs were all Vietnam vets and to a man, thought he was a jerk and confided to me , but I buttoned my lip and soldiered on. One Lt Col swore he was going to find a way to court martial me when I stood up for myself against false allegations but fate intervened. He was a notorious alcoholic and was pulled over by military police outside the club, only him amidst a sea of other drinkers n drivers, and a breathalyzer test ended his 18 yr career. im certain I had nothing to do with it but i heard all about it from my NCOs. i guess they thought i was ok and one of them even suggested i make the army my career, as the system needed more officers like me. I thanked him but never entertained the notion. the army paved my was for business school and despite a mediocre GPA on the Hill, my graduate business school test results were in the 93rd percentile and paved the way for acceptance at Columbia, Penn State, and the state school where I resided, which also had a top shelf national reputation and thats where I earned my MBA.
      In retrospect that reinforced my personal journey from naive freshman, to quasi liberal half assed activist, to center right
      officer and eventual businessman in corporate America. my mediocre Lafayette academic record somehow vaulted me into a 3.8 cum laude zone in grad school and i found the b school curriculum far less daunting than liberal arts on the Hill.

      My philosophical journey was merely unique and in no way representative to many of my peers. Lafayette was very challenging academically, even for a very good high school student athlete.i earned an AB degree, competed and won in Div 1 track & field, joined a fraternity, earned an army commission, met several fine young ladies {Lafayettes first coeds} and ended up in a Fortune 500 company.
      Im fortunate to have retained my sanity and values during one of the most divisive and tumultuous periods in our history -the Civil Rights era and the Vietnam War.
      maybe its the natural progression in life ie to move from liberal to conservative as one ages…from questioning the 2nd amendment to actually owning firearms. im sure Lafayette, a near Ivy, was the catalyst in my journey. I was never shouted down, as potential hecklers knew better yet met some of the finest people imaginable along the way