Diversity is one of the core ideals that Concordia has strived for in recent years. Equity for all people and ideals is important to create well balanced individuals to send out in to the world. With campaigns to boost minority diversity on campus, the college takes the idea of a diverse student body quite seriously. There are many resources that minority students have access to that can be of assistance, including the new Bias Incident Report system. However, I fear that Concordia has fallen short in the arena of diverse thought. As a conservative on campus, there is not an adequate amount of representation through the various speakers and public engagement events that are put into place. I believe it is the burden of Concordia to work toward creating an environment where more diverse thought is welcome and encouraged.
This can be done through bringing more diverse speakers on campus. While the reasons behind events such as Symposium and MLK day plenary sessions have good intentions, I have been severely disappointed with the lack of good conservative speakers that have been brought out. I do not include Rick Santorum on this list, as Santorum was brought out by a student group and not by actions of the college. In fact, there was protests to bring popular political speaker Ben Shapiro out to speak. I was surprised by the backlash of bringing Shapiro out, when only a year prior Shaun King was invited by the college to speak. I am not a fan of King, but I believe in the importance of having a speaker such as King to discuss his beliefs. I also believe that there should have been balance, King for Shapiro. Instead, students and faculty became aggravated at the notion of bringing a speaker who many may not agree with coming to campus. And while the administration has shown great support for Young Americans for Freedom to bring conservative speakers, there are far too few conservative speakers that have been brought out to help with diverse thought. If we wish to be true to the mission statement, then it is imperative to hear both sides of the argument, not one side that the majority agree with.
I also believe there must be a bolstering of support for the conservative group on campus. Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) serves a vital role in the college. It is no secret that the campus is made up of mostly liberal-minded individuals. This is not a surprise, given the political geography and nature of a liberal arts college. That is not what I have an issue with. I hold great respect for my liberal colleagues, and there are many traits and ideas that I hold in common with them. The danger of having a vastly liberal school is the creation of an echo chamber. Without a dissenting voice, all ideas come from the same school of thought. Current U.S. politics is a great example of this. The Affordable Health Care Act was created behind closed doors by the Democratic party and blasted its way through the Senate without any discussion, and Congress has become an echo chamber for Republicans. There must be a balance between the two, which is why YAF is so critical to the success of the college. While I did not agree with Santorum on certain areas, I still believe his presence was beneficial, as it insighted conversation. The speakers YAF bring out do this exact thing, and it is to the benefit of all that they succeed.
I love this college. As a minority, I have always felt welcomed, accepted, and appreciated. As a conservative, though, I often feel isolated and unheard. This is not to say this is the fault of any liberals on campus. A common error is that if one side is not heard, then the other side is to blame. This is not the case. Rather, there is well established ground and backing for liberals to voice their opinions and have speakers that share their thoughts. For conservatives, there are simply not enough options or support for there to be equilibrium. I urge the college to consider bringing out more conservative speakers to Symposium and MLK day to help prevent this great college from turning into a political echo chamber.