I have truly enjoyed my Freshman year of college. However, I do have complaints that lie in the political culture of my campus.
Bentley University is a business school located in Waltham, Massachusetts, that is ranked 10th nationally by Bloomberg Business and 1st in career services by Princeton Review. This school has challenged me as a business student in a positive and constructive way. However, as a conservative student, Bentley is far from the most accepting place.
When I entered Bentley I believed it was going to be apolitical or lean to the right because the school’s population is heavily white and male. My assumption was wrong.
On the third day of freshman orientation, we were sent to see a presentation on Bentley’s “sustainability” project. Here, we were taught the intricacies of the interwoven relationship between environmental protection and income inequality worldwide. At this point in the orientation process, most kids were bored and wanted to go meet new people, but I remember being quite upset. I had just learned that I was taking out loans for a Sustainability Coordinator to take my tuition money and use it to virtue signal to students about leftist golden calf issues.
Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, Bentley professors have voiced their opposition to his policies. Just three days after the first travel ban, the school administration sent out an email, claiming they were “Searching to understand the long-term ripple effects of its underlying message,” and were understanding that “… the uncertainty can be chilling and upsetting”. A week later, a poster-sized diatribe against the executive order appeared in the professor’s office building that explained Bentley’s commitment to supporting diversity.
The next biggest worry for conservatives at Bentley is its classroom culture that breeds uniformity with professors. This affected me most during a debate in philosophy class.
Throughout the year, we engaged in some in-depth conversations about topics like equal rights and affirmative action. My political leanings were opposite of the professor, and, though she tried to not make that known to the class, the way she presented the material demonstrated that she was liberal in her positions. Nevertheless, she was always cordial in letting me speak and often countered my points respectfully.
During the last class of the year, however, an affirmative action debate quickly changed her attitude.
As a member of the audience, I was granted a chance to ask the debaters a question. For a little background, the professor made it clear that these issues should not be drawn to current politicians, such as Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, during discussions. This was a good policy, as it kept debates civil and kept Trump out when there was no true reason to include him.
During the debate, the pro-affirmative action side repeatedly justified their policy by claiming that America had a “racist society.” This rhetoric led me to ask, “If America is a “racist society,” then how did we elect a Black president twice?” This question riled the class completely and people responded that, “America can still be racist and elect a black president, but when our current president constantly makes sexist and racist remarks….”
That is where I interrupted.
I asked her for an example of Trump saying something racist and the whole class jeered at my response. Additionally, my professor told me my question was out of line for mentioning a modern politician. I was acting as someone who was trying to defend the truth, as I never voted for or supported President Trump, but I was criticized by the class for doing so.
However, I have also had some positive experiences. My professor for State and Local Politics is a Republican. He was clear on his bases and taught us how to objectively view issues from the election to the Russian probe. When asked who he’d vote for, he went through each candidate from Donald Trump to Jill Stein and gave each candidate’s pluses and minuses so we could all gauge how we might evaluate the candidates. Additionally, he was full of humor, fostered a non-politically correct environment, and offered great advice.
Overall, he has been my favorite professor because of his commitment to learning as opposed to ideology.
All in all, my experiences have taught me a lot. I had a great time on the business and political side, but the political nature angers me. The hate from the left only emboldens me more to defend my principles.
My advice to every student is to get connected with your fellow campus conservatives. Whether you join your Republican club, YAF, YAL, or TPUSA, it is important to get involved. Also, look for a friendly professor. I guarantee you they are there. It is important to fight these instances of leftism, subtle or not, by spreading your opinions and by being willing to engage with others in a respectful way.