I am extremely impressed by three articles in the last issue pertaining to Oxy as the most liberal college of the United States. Instead of boasting and celebrating that fact, each article presented the ranking with more prudence than passion. The articles express that a very liberal campus is not necessarily a good thing and may even lead to closed-mindedness and political intolerance.
I agree that it must be harder for non-Democrats on campus to voice their political opinions in fear of being shunned, but these articles also prove to me that Oxy isn’t as close-minded as some may feel. Haller and Oseran’s article quotes from a Republican angle, ensuring that a conservative perspective is covered on campus. DeChiaro’s opinion piece clearly demonstrates that a Republican can write freely about his or her beliefs without hostility. And Cutler’s “Oxy needs to open its mind politically” has a Democrat defending the conservative voice and urging students to be open-minded and to “look at the other side of every coin so that you can fully understand the issues at hand.”
You wouldn’t see such open-mindedness on many conservative campuses. One very conservative university, which I will leave nameless so as not to offend anyone, issued an article saying that if you vote for Obama, you are not a good Christian. Not only does this silence the Democratic voice, but it also uses religion to paint liberals as bad people.
Another point I would like to address is the statement that Oxy prides itself as being a very diverse campus. Is it not true that diversity often suggests liberalism? In the strict dictionary definition, liberalism means open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values. While conservatism means holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation. In order to maintain a diverse campus without riots and fights between the students, the students must be “open to new behavior or opinions.” Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Oxy is extremely liberal.
I felt compelled to write this letter to praise these writers for their effort to include the conservative voice on campus and to also acknowledge that Oxy can be pretty politically tolerant if given the chance. Non-Democrats would be surprised to find out that their views would be respectfully welcomed in Oxy’s intellectually stimulating environment.
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