Indoctrination and exclusionary practices are not new to college campuses. They are, however, becoming increasingly normalized and dangerous. The effort to silence students who stray from leftist ideology has become detrimental to the physical safety and learning opportunities of conservative students.
During my freshman year at Syracuse University, I quickly became aware of the liberal bias that presented in every facet of student life. During lectures, professors would frequently demean conservative values and make tacky jokes about our president. Subsequently, students felt emboldened to push further by calling all supporters of President Trump fascists and openly harassing conservative peers.
These occurrences happen daily on campus and online with no pushback from the administration. As a conservative student, you quickly learn that your opinion is not welcome; silence will be necessary for your survival.
Conservative students have uncomfortably endured this explicit bias on campus for years. However, the time for silence on campus has passed, as now the status quo cannot continue without jeopardizing our wellbeing.
On Syracuse University’s campus, tensions are incredibly high. Over the past two months, multiple conservative students at Syracuse University have been threatened with assault and murder. Even more troubling, a large portion of these threats have come from other Syracuse University students and graduates.
When students, including me, attempted to contact Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud and other administrators, we met silence. Syverud has still not attempted to contact or respond to any of the students who fear for their safety.
There are countless incidents of conservative students being targeted at SU that span decades. But for the sake of remaining brief I will only highlight examples that have occurred within the past two years, beginning with my own.
Last month I wrote an opinion article for the conservative website LifeZette titled “Why Institutional Racism is a Myth.” One of my central arguments was that overall population rates provide far too little context to prove that law enforcement officers disproportionately target black Americans.
I then presented the idea that using interaction rates would provide a far better, and more realistic, way to analyze police brutality. To support my ideas, I quoted multiple statistics, including FBI crime statistics from 2017.
Two days later, I was fired from the school newspaper, The Daily Orange. They informed me via email that they were “ending my association” with them as a conservative columnist. The editor in chief also included that the LifeZette article I wrote contained “racist undertones.”
Later, in public social media posts that detailed my firing, the editor in chief accused my views of being “harmful.”
Since being fired, I have received hundreds, if not thousands, of vile messages from my peers claiming that I am a racist, white supremacist, and awful person, none of which are true. This spiraled into multiple threats made on social media platforms in which SU students claimed they would “beat the sh-t out” of me and that I would “get a bullet in the head for being so racist.”
Many other students have received the same horrific treatment. Justine Murray, a rising senior at SU, has had countless threats made against her life, including an Instagram account being made with the handle “basikillsjustinebrookemurray.” This page was solely dedicated to continuously sending Murray death threats.
Other students who wish to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation have also reported vitriol. A threat to one student was sent to the student’s parents. Angry leftist students called one person’s summer job, in another state, to report this person. A dishonest story was posted about another student online that contained the student’s full name and face. This particular student has received so much harassment that this student will no longer be attending SU.
It isn’t only students who target conservative students. Professors have been reported to verbally attack students with differing political ideology frequently. Multiple professors have singled out Murray on campus and online, with one calling her a “right wing agitator” in a public Facebook post. Another grabbed Murray by the shoulder and warned her that she was “overstepping her bounds.”
Even further, authoritative bodies at Syracuse University are painfully biased towards conservatives. A chapter of Young Americans for Freedom was denied status as a Registered Student Organization (RSO). The RSO Review Board cited that “requiring students to agree in the superiority of the U.S. Constitution is exclusionary to international students and other individuals.” Only after intense media attention and backlash did the university reverse their unjust decision.
The Student Association, which wields a vast amount of financial and political power on campus, has also been openly bigoted towards conservatives. After the College Republicans attempted to bring Ben Shapiro to campus as a speaker, the Student Association quickly condemned Shapiro as a “white supremacist” and stated that Shapiro must address issues of “racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism and xenophobia.” As I’m sure one could have guessed, conservative speakers are not invited to campus often either.
All of these examples paint the clear picture that conservatives are not welcome on Syracuse University’s campus. To add to the already overwhelming evidence of the hostile campus environment, we can look towards the state of free speech at SU.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education ranks Syracuse University within the top ten worst schools for free speech. Further evidence of their refusal to affirm constitutional rights can be found within the university’s own statements. In court documents Syracuse University admits that it “does not incorporate a right of free speech that is coextensive with the First Amendment…” Further, they state “the University’s policy expressly limits free expression.” Ironically, SU is also ranked as the best school in the country for journalism.
Conditions at Syracuse University are rapidly deteriorating as an increasing number of conservative students question whether it is safe to return in the fall. But don’t be surprised, as attacks on conservatism occur on nearly every campus in the United States. Stories appear daily of students being threatened, harassed, and even removed from their universities for expressing conservative views. The sentiments I convey in my letter are felt by conservative students everywhere, and it is time for a change.
Colleges and universities have neglected conservative students for far too long. Our pleas have gone unanswered, and our patience has worn thin. It’s long past time for this situation to end.