College should be a place to embrace diversity– a place where people from different backgrounds, a variety of interests, and varying beliefs interact with and learn from one another. Although it is often overlooked, the ideal campus necessarily includes diversity of thought. On most college campuses, and especially at universities such as Cornell, there is a severe lack of attention to the ideologies typically associated with conservative values. Every day in classrooms and social interactions, these ideas are less expressed, and those that are voiced illicit less respect from peers and professors.
For an ideal exchange of ideas, students should be exposed to the ideas of progressives, conservatives, and moderates alike in order to explore a variety of viewpoints. Instead, students with conservative ideas are often left feeling like they need to hide their beliefs to avoid the risk of judgement from classmates, or suffer a lower grade after speaking up to a professor. According to an investigation by The College Fix, Cornell hosts a severe lack of Republican professors. The majority of academic departments show zero registered Republicans, and last year 99% of professor’s political donations went to liberal campaigns.
This intensely left-leaning climate limits students’ chance of learning from new perspectives and holds back conservative students from expressing their own ideas without assumptions from their community. Students with right-leaning views are often presumed to be racist, sexist, or homophobic even before expressing their opinions. This stereotype restricts potential opportunity to learn and understand opinions that differ from the mainstream.
Conservative women in particular are in the minority on college campuses. The Network of Enlightened Women was created at the University of Virginia to help women explore the ideas they may otherwise miss during their college experience. NeW, as it is abbreviated, is nonpartisan and began as a book club. Today, chapters across the country serve to create a network of conservatives, educate members, and embolden women to become leaders in their communities and beyond. Any women who is conservative, libertarian, moderate, or just interested in hearing something different than the “my way or the highway” attitude many campus activists take should consider joining our chapter of the Network of Enlightened Women.
In light of the recent election results (and their backlash), diversity of thought is more important now than ever before. Luckily, organizations like NeW truly allow every voice to be heard. Contact CornellNeW@gmail.com to learn more about our organization and get connected with fellow conservative women. We hope to see you at our next meeting!