Students fighting campus liberals do have allies, but most are not on their campuses.
Christina Hoff Sommers [pictured] offers examples of common practices in academia and often focuses on a campus trend—the annual production of the Vagina Monologues. The Eve Ensler play features women giving lurid and obscene speeches about sexuality and anatomy. The play is championed by feminists, but its success astonishes Sommers. “It’s just so lame,” she said.
The Vagina Monologues have become so popular on campus that Valentine’s Day, the day on which the play runs, is often referred to a V-Day. Performances of the “poisonously anti-male” play are often punctuated by vulgar chants, according to Sommers.
On Saturday, February 19, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, four veterans of the political wars on campus including Sommers addressed the current state of higher education. CPAC is an annual conference for conservative organizations and grassroots conservative activists.
Patrick Coyle represented the Young America’s Foundation, an organization that brings conservative speakers to campuses across the country. Coyle suggests that conservative activists “follow the Ronald Reagan model,” referring to Reagan’s approach to the Cold War. Reagan rejected the détente policies of previous administrations and confronted the Soviets. As Director of Campus Programs, Coyle’s mission is to “boldly challenge what [the Left is] trying to do.”
Sara Dogan, the National Campus Director of Students for Academia Freedom, discussed what many administrators and professors have loudly scorned—the Academic Bill of Rights. The Academic Bill of Rights lists a series of principles, concerning academic freedom and the purpose of a university or college, by which an institution should be governed. Some state legislatures are considering adopting the measures.
The Academic Bill of Rights is necessary to restore balance on campuses, according to Dogan. “The Left has made the universities their personal sanctuaries,” she said. Although the Academic Bill of Rights has yet to make a significant institutional effect, Dogan has observed an increase of conservative students on campus.
Students may be increasingly conservative, but administrators and professors remain politically liberal. “We need to make college administrations accountable,” Dogan said.
Stephen Klugewicz, the Executive Director of the Collegiate Network, believes that, despite the predominance of tenured radicals in classrooms, students are rejecting leftism. “Students are either moving to the right or are already conservative,” he said. The conservative outreach programs have likely hastened this rightward shift. “We’re breaking down the barricades of leftism,” Klugewicz said.
Klugewicz oversees programs that fund and mentor collegiate conservatives. The CN helps students establish conservative alternative newspapers on their campuses.
Larry Scholer is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.