Acknowledging Republican views on campus
Lynandro Simmons – Managing Editor
Entering college as a freshman and being a moderate conservative provided some challenges, said Sarah O’Connor.
“It was difficult being on a liberal campus,” said O’Connor, now a sophomore political science major.
O’Connor, who is currently the co-chair of the College Republicans, said during the 2016 election she faced some struggling times. Joining the College Republicans provided a great deal of help in finding the courage to speak out against biased opinions in her classes, she said.
“I felt comfortable expressing my beliefs because I didn’t feel alone,” said O’Connor.
A lot of people do not speak up as conservatives, she said. Even with Trump’s win in the election their were a lot of silent supporters.
“You see a lot of democrats speaking up more because they have a lot of the popular beliefs,” said O’Connor.
However, conservatives or leftists shouldn’t be rude in their approach or disagreements. People are allowed to express their first amendment rights and be respectful, she said.
Sitting in classes and hearing some of the remarks made towards conservatives caused her to speak out more, she said.
“People make jokes,” said O’Connor. “It’s very rude. I respect other people’s opinions, even if I may not agree.”
Even some student’s mentors or professors don’t respect conservatives’ beliefs, she said. This can create some issues because a professors’ bias can lead to the class thinking it’s okay to make remarks.
“You may not agree,” she said. “But if you’re running the class you have to set an example.”
In 2014, Inside Higher Ed conducted a study that found colleges nationally had a six to one ratio of liberal to conservative professors. However, in New England the figure was 28 to one.
Ty Seymour, a senior double majoring in political science and history, said he has not faced a lot of difficulties personally.
Seymour, who started the College Republicans club on campus and is the former chair, said it could be due to Southern not being too liberal.
“It’s a commuter campus,” he said. “A lot of the students work either part time or even full time.”
Seymour said this has provided a lot of the students with real life experience and given them a grasp of political issues revolving around things like economics.
Both Seymour and O’Connor said one of the positives was the working relationship between the College Republicans and the College Democrats on campus. Both groups have a very amicable relationship and show how the two parties can coexist.
“I know people in our club have had some difficulties with professors,” said Seymour. “I’ve personally never had that.”
However, Seymour said he often found difficulty and unnecessary road blocks when it came to getting things done and working with administration for the College Republicans.
Seymour, who is also the chair for the statewide College Republicans, said that he has heard of difficulties from different chapters.
“My Western chapter right before their club fair had a lot of aggressive comments towards them,” he said.
Incoming freshman whose political opinions may be in the minority should not be scared to express their views, said Seymour. What is most important is being able to articulate an opinion without being contradictory.
“It looks better if you are able to stand up for yourself and express your views,” said Seymour. “Even if you’re the only one in a class.”
Photo Courtesy: Sarah O’Connor