By John T. Plecnik
February 28, 2005
Regardless of age, we have all heard the phrase, "First Amendment Rights,"
bandied about. Free speech has been the rallying cry of the liberal elite
since the 60s, and every time violent protesters are beaten back by police
or cordoned off from a rally, the ACLU comes a calling. However, the same
team of trial lawyers, rebel billionaires and Deaniacs turn a blind eye
toward the abuses of their academic brethren. America's colleges and
universities are anything but free speech zones. Contrary to their mantra
of universal tolerance, Stalinist professors and administrators see
intellectual diversity as a disease. Unpopular viewpoints, like a belief in
absolute truth or the Republican Party, are actively discouraged.
The reality of liberal bias on campus is so overwhelming that columnists and
commentators are forced to choose between countless illustrations. Whether
examining the anti-Christian bent at the University of North Carolina, where
one student was labeled a sexist bigot for asserting his personal belief
that homosexuality is immoral and Alpha Iota Omega Christian Fraternity was
derecognized as a student organization for refusing to admit non-Christians,
or the age-old liberalism of Berkeley, where researchers found that
conservatism is a disease shared by Hitler and Ronald Reagan, the bias is
clear. Liberal professors see conservative beliefs as vermin and our
universities as their own, private roach motels. Ideally, conservative
minds check in, but they don't check out.
Our professors have at least four years to scare us Democrat, and they
seldom waste an opportunity. Studies show that liberals hire liberals; the
faculty at elite institutions like Duke and Yale fall to the Left of Hillary
Clinton. More frightening, however, is the condition of our average
campus. Along with the elites, most state schools are stacked with
Democrats and Socialists. Perhaps conservatives are just too stupid for
academia, as Dr. Robert Brandon, chairman of Duke's philosophy department,
once asserted. Myself, I tend to believe that hiring committees prefer
"fellow travelers." And as for self-selection, I think most Right-wingers
are smart enough to see the "CONSERVATIVES NEED NOT APPLY" sign hanging
beneath the ivy.
Of course, campuses are larger than the classroom and the message of liberal
professors might be drowned out by inappropriate speakers. That's why our
faculty and administrators are careful to allocate the lion's share of
funding to invite still more liberals. After all, if not for men like Ward
Churchill, how would students come to understand the innate evil of
America? A true conservative would never think to compare 9/11 victims to
However, unfortunately for our Stalinist friends, control over class time
and tuition only goes so far. Outspoken students might still convince their
peers that John Kerry and Karl Marx don't have all the answers. Darn that
First Amendment. It was so useful for flag burning.
Some universities try to institute campus speech codes, limiting dialogue to
their understanding of political correctness. Most just lambaste
conservative students. At UNC-Charlotte, the resident College Republican
chapter recently hosted their third annual "affirmative action" bake sale.
Treats were offered at lower prices to traditionally recognized minorities,
protesting how "affirmative action universities" accept minorities with
comparatively lower academic credentials. Kristen McManus, UNC-Charlotte's
Associate Director for Academic Initiatives for Mentoring Students, was
quick to label her students as racist. Titling the communiqué, "Racist
Practice at UNCC," McManus e-mailed the press and warned them of the College
Republicans' "egregious methodology." After this slur, will members of the
UNC-Charlotte College Republicans remain comfortable coming to McManus for
academic assistance? Would you feel safe around someone who called you a
All considered, however, campus conservatives shouldn't feel too badly. The
Stalinists will even cannibalize a Clintonite for speaking out of turn.
When President Lawrence H. Summers of Harvard University speculated aloud
that "innate differences" between the sexes might explain why fewer women
succeed in careers of math and science, he was attacked by feminists and
academics alike. The former treasury secretary has been threatened with a
vote of no confidence by Harvard's faculty and thus far, no one is willing
to let him forget his flub. I find it ironic that the presidents of
Stanford, MIT and Princeton are in an uproar over their colleague's mere
speculation, when none of them were offended by the Berkeley study that
labeled conservatives as mentally ill.
Perhaps this sentiment is just a product of my diseased, conservative mind,
but I get the feeling that academia isn't even fooling itself anymore.
After all, if professors pretend that free speech rights exist on campus,
someone might try to exercise them.
John T. Plecnik (JTP) is a 21-year-old law student at Duke
University and a Featured Columnist
at The Conservative Voice (www.theconservativevoice.com), Lincoln Tribune, a
weekly newspaper in Lincolnton,
N.C., and various other online and
print publications. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting with a Minor
in Mythology and graduated summa cum laude, sharing the title of
Valedictorian, from Belmont Abbey
College. Email your comments to John at
John.Plecnik@law.duke.edu. Web site at:
Copyright © 2005