When I began attending Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, I was excited at the prospect of being able to surround myself with many like minded students on campus. Orem is located in Utah County, which is a perennial conservative stronghold every election cycle. When I first began attending university, I hoped the conservative fervor that is ever present in the surrounding cities and counties would also be present on campus. After a few weeks of attending classes and participating in all the usual freshman activities, however, I realized that the conservative tendencies from the general public stopped sharply at the walls of my school.
While the majority of the students identify as conservatives, they remain largely apathetic towards conservative campus activism. I do not expect the conservative student majoring in Deaf Studies to be as active in campus politics as a Political Science student, but I expected more than one small conservative club on campus in a school that has over 40,000 students enrolled. I don’t care about the number of political organizations on campus, but, rather, that students are engaged politically.
The liberals on my campus are extremely active in just about every facet of university life and they make sure everyone knows their agenda. They tend to gravitate towards the student association on campus, which is a perfect platform for them to trumpet their ideas to everyone on campus.
The student association hosts a political panel on campus every two to four weeks and the liberal bias of the organization is most apparent here. As a new student looking to be politically active on campus, I first began attending these panels because I thought it was the only way for me to be active. After the first panel, I realized the level of bias was overwhelmingly present and I stopped attending the panels altogether when I realized there was no apparent effort to give both sides of an issue equal representation.
On a campus that does not have a vibrant conservative community, there is no consistent counterweight to these liberal panels, so the entire political discourse on campus is pushed to the left. On a campus where the majority of students are supporters of Second Amendment rights, we instead have panels on the benefits of gun control.
I do not blame the College Democrats and their ardent activity for the unbalanced discourse on my campus. They are pushing their agenda as heavily as they think necessary. I hold every conservative student who wants a change, but does not take part in that change accountable. The onus is on them to help bring about a conservative revival on campus.
Conservative attitudes are not self-perpetuating on college campuses in deeply red states. They must be fostered by the students on campus, just like they would be on a deeply liberal campus in a democratic stronghold.
To the conservatives on college campuses across Republican states- remain politically active! You have the advantage! All it takes is just a little bit of activism to keep the campus ideologically diverse. Your political activity might be seen as less radical and anti-establishment on your conservative campus than it would be somewhere else, but that does not make it any less necessary. Your ideas may not be under constant attack, but a loud conservative voice is required to ensure your ideals are not squandered in the face of a very active, very loud liberal minority.
Your voice is not safe just because you attend a conservative school. The continual, conservative hum on campus will never be louder than the liberal shout if campus activity falls by the wayside.