More-than-liberal views should be accepted at Syracuse University
When high school students begin their college journey, they more or less know what to expect. College is a place to experience independence and freedom in your life and cultivate many academic and social experiences. But be aware that in many of these institutions, one perspective will reign supreme.
It’s no secret that most American universities are overwhelmingly liberal institutions. With such dominance of one school of thought, a culture of conformity and fear is built as students fear going against the prevailing ideology that professors are spreading. This cycle can lead to the suppression of free speech on campuses in favor of a system. In a 2020 survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, College Pulse, and RealClear Education, Syracuse University was ranked as one of the worst schools for free speech in the nation.
Whether or not you agree with a perspective, slandering the belief or the people who subscribe to it, does little to solve the problems. Concepts like “safe spaces,” while good in some situations, can isolate and supercharge preconceived notions if devalued or overused. The solution to many problems plaguing our society today is to understand different perspectives and why people agree or disagree with them. As uncomfortable as some students may find it, allowing different perspectives to be seen and heard on campus can enrich one’s understanding of the world.
More than 60% of extreme liberals believe it’s “always” or “sometimes” okay to shut down a speaker, compared to 15% of extreme conservatives, according to the 2020 Free Speech Survey. Additionally, 60% of students said they could not express an opinion due to a reaction from a student, professor or their administration, according to the survey.
These statistics point to a culture of fear and intimidation. The idea of expressing your opinion freely, being punished or threatened for it and then having no support from anyone around you causes many to opt for silence or repeat dishonestly what those who tell us surround.
The popular argument for keeping opinions that don’t agree with academic standards is that opinions are “hate” and people who dare to even listen to those views are “fascists”. While these people exist and need to be condemned, this rhetoric is now being overused against people who do not condone what these people stand for.
It’s okay to disagree with a point of view someone else may have, from politics to food choices, but using inflammatory insults doesn’t do anything tangible for other positive conversations. Ultimately, everyone wants a more unified society, but unity comes in two ways: the first is recognizing each other’s differences, respecting them, and living our lives coexisting. The second is unity through conformity imposed by a school of thought. On college campuses, especially here at SU, we live the latter.
One of the reasons many people go to college is to prepare for life in the real world. But since many students are only exposed to one perspective during college (as well as some are only exposed to one perspective in their life before college), we as students are challenged. place to fail to be part of an ever-changing society.
College is meant to challenge us academically, socially, and philosophically. But if the college experience merely replicates what our professors and peers want to hear for grades and influence, then are we really prepared for a society that has a wide range of viewpoints?
Dalton Baxter is a second-year Applied Data Analytics student. His column appears every two weeks. He can be reached at [email protected].
Published on March 29, 2022 at 00:05