Notes from the Conservative Underground
Are you feeling alone, isolated from the rest of campus, because you still believe in some utterly antediluvian man-woman concept of marriage? Do you think the legal rights of religious people and organizations are worth protecting? Do you cling to the notion that socialism is not only ineffective but also inhumane? If so, welcome to the club. You’re part of the conservative underground, and so are these ISI student leaders, who are battling leftist campus culture and hostile administrations.
Defending Traditional Values at Princeton
Princeton Anscombe Society
After the Supreme Court setbacks for the pro-marriage movement in 2013, the Princeton University Anscombe Society became even more determined to keep this issue alive. To that end, we brought in Ryan T. Anderson—Heritage Foundation fellow, coauthor of What Is Marriage?, and superb defender of marriage—to give a public lecture on campus. Almost three hundred people came, including nearly thirty protesters decked out in rainbow colors. Anderson presented a philosophical case backed up by social science for the one-man, one-woman definition of marriage. He then deftly answered the tough questions of his audience. One of the protesters even told our daily paper that she hoped the event would be part of a continuing dialogue about the issue.
Ben Koons ’15
President, Princeton Anscombe Society
Confronting Liberal Elitism at Swarthmore
At Swarthmore College the written word has been essential to battling liberal elitism. That’s why we launched a new publication, the Swarthmore Independent (a member of ISI’s Collegiate Network).
The Independent picks up stories that the mainstream student press overlooks. For instance, when we saw a seemingly innocuous Student Council e-mail illiberally soliciting students to serve on a judiciary panel that would try sexual-assault cases, we posted several articles on our blog. We recognized that explicitly asking activists to serve on a sensitive fact-finding committee is a major conflict of interest and violation of due process. Our strongly worded editorials forced the administration to put that misguided policy on hold.
Our reporting has also highlighted several violations of academic freedom on campus, which were serious enough to involve the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. It’s been harder for the broader campus to dismiss a group of articulate journalists—especially when we’re fighting for the same classical liberal ideals, such as free speech and due process, that the vast majority of students and faculty claim to share.
Danielle Charette ’14
Cofounder and editor,
Calling Out Bias at UVa
Liberalism may be pervasive at the University of Virginia, but the Virginia Advocate refuses to stand down. One of our publication’s main goals has been to uncover the bias of popular media outlets on Grounds, which often casts conservatism in a negative light.
Off the Hook, a conservative group at UVa that opposes the campus hookup culture, was completely misrepresented in the main campus paper and accused of being “austere.” Advocate writer Mirenda Gwin clarified the goals of Off the Hook. She argued for the benefits of nonphysical relationships and called out the original article—which argued that UVa needed to be more welcoming of hookup culture—for disrespecting the dignity of fellow students. The campus-wide publication actually reprinted the Advocate article, and several leading professors applauded Gwin for defending the organization’s sadly unpopular beliefs.
Arrianne Talma ’15
Editor in chief, Virginia Advocate
The Watchdog Barks at Notre Dame
Notre Dame, like every other American university, finds itself in the throes of secularism and relativism. That’s where our conservative campus publication, the Irish Rover, comes in. The Rover endeavors to “articulate conservative principles” for Notre Dame students and to provide a faith-centered approach to the issues that inform collegiate debates. It’s also the only student outlet that monitors how the administration’s actions comport with the university’s Catholic mission.
For example, the Rover has been the only campus voice that has critically examined university efforts to minister to students who identify as LGBTQ—efforts that have not always been in sync with Notre Dame’s Catholic vocation. The Rover has also publicized the hiring and dismissal of university trustees; the administration’s relationship with pro-life efforts on campus; the composition of the faculty and its alignment with the university’s Catholic identity; the charges that were brought and then dropped against the “ND88” (the protesters at President Obama’s 2009 visit); and the university’s (poor) efforts to combat the hookup culture.
As our motto goes, it behooves a watchdog to bark.
Michael Bradley ’14
Editor in chief, Irish Rover
Change Campus Culture
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