I never had a problem speaking my mind until I got to college.
I felt shunned for being a republican. I’ve been yelled at and insulted by classmates and professors.
Once I was held after class and told to keep my opinion to myself because I was upsetting other students. When I protested, my professor suggested I drop the class.
Graduate research assistant Melissa Stiksma conducted a study showing Republican students are reluctant to talk. Politics, race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender are some of the core controversial topics brought up in the classroom.
Stiksma’s research shows that sixty percent of republican students are reluctant to speak because their views will be labeled as offensive.
Matt Backlund, a sophomore at Utah State University feels ostracized for his beliefs.
“I feel like what I say and what I think is not represented in class,” said Backlund.
When Backlund brought these concerns to his professor he felt dismissed. He feared retaliation and never brought the subject up again.
David Alder, a student at Utah State University has been called names for his republican beliefs.
“Whenever a conservative speaks up, we are labeled racist, homophobic or misogynistic,” he said. “The conversation never gets anywhere and the professor usually takes the side of the liberal students.”
Academia needs to be a place where everyone feels welcome. No student should fear retaliation for their views.
A survey conducted by Brigham Young University revealed that college students across the United States are more likely to be democrats.
“Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 55-23% margin on campus,” the study says.
Surprisingly the same study showed forty-nine percent of students identified as conservative at Utah State University and only thirty percent identify as liberal.
Why are Utah State republican students feeling ostracized? Because academia is geared towards equity.
I am a conservative student and I want my voice to be respected. I have been at Utah State for almost two years now. Politics are discussed all the time in the classroom, not once have I heard a fellow Republican speak up.
Utah State professors need to encourage open political discussions. Every student should feel safe and comfortable participating.