“This isn’t my fight,” wrote Michael Garanzini, president of Loyola University of Chicago.
That was the final word given to a Loyola student activist, Sean Vera, who appealed the school’s cancellation of Karl Rove’s campus speech on the grounds that Mr. Rove was “too political” and could threaten Loyola’s non-profit tax status.
Yet, the school was more than happy to welcome Eboo Patel, an Obama appointee to the White House Interfaith Advisory Council, to speak on campus last week. Loyola also didn’t have problems in the past allowing liberal speakers to address student audiences including Rep. Michael Quigley (D.-Ill.), then-Sen. Barack Obama, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Ralph Nadar.
Sadly, this one-sided liberal speaker parade is not limited to Loyola University. Millions of students entering college should expect to be inundated with speakers pushing liberal ideas. They will hear few, if any, speakers discussing conservatism.
When conservative activists have encountered problems receiving financial support from their schools, Young America’s Foundation encourages students to conduct their own investigation of their school’s funding practices.
What they find is often shocking. Students at Boise State University, for example, revealed that, over a six year period, that their school spent more than $300,000 on liberal speakers and nothing on conservatives. Lehigh University in Pennsylvania spent $190,000 on liberal speakers and $15,000 on conservatives over a four-year period. Emory University hosted more than 30 liberal speakers to only a handful of conservatives.
|Cartoon courtesy of Brett Noel|
However, in the cases of Lehigh and Emory, the few conservative speakers who were brought to campus were all hosted through student clubs working mostly with Young America’s Foundation. They were not hosted by a dean of a department, the campus lecture committee, or another high-profile group on campus. In order for students on most campuses to hear conservative ideas, they rely upon a student club with meager resources working with Young America’s Foundation. This is the only way they can ensure their peers hear conservative ideas on their campus.
To receive school support, students, like Sean Vera at Loyola, have to jump through bureaucratic hoops and ensure all the school’s paperwork is filled out correctly to apply for funds. Vera had to advocate for the funds in front of an allocation committee. Since most university committees are controlled by the left, conservative activists are often turned away with little or no funding. Yet, these same committees distribute thousands of funds to bring in a seemingly endless parade of liberals speakers.
Ideally, the president of a college would fight hard to provide a balanced, open environment on his campus to allow all points of view to be heard. He wouldn’t declare, “This isn’t my fight.”
Unfortunately, Loyola’s response to Sean Vera’s efforts to bring intellectual diversity to campus is a response that young conservatives all-too-often receive from school administrators. Instead the task falls to these young activists to provide for their own balanced education.