Groups provide students with political tips

May 13, 2010

An unfortunate side effect of being a political science student is constantly having politics on the brain.
 
Another profound side effect is believing that we, as college students, have an increasingly important role to play in the political world. As the generation who will inherit a collection of messes, we must work to make the necessary changes to direct the course of our political environment in a positive direction.

Standing up for what one believes in is not always an easy thing to do, and luckily for those looking to promote the ideals of limited government, free markets and the constitution, there are plenty of options available. You just have to know where to look.

In addition to the number of current political student groups on campus, there are a whole legion of outside organizations that were created and specialize in helping college-aged students stand up for their rights. I’ve written up a short list of some who I believe can really benefit students in the long run.

Many universities often receive criticisms for harboring certain biases toward particular political philosophies in their academia. To combat those biases, CampusReform.org was created to assist students in balancing out the academic playing field.

CampusReform.org has a more conservative leaning and describes itself as a means of "connecting up-to-date communications technologies to a principled stand for limited government, the free market, national defense and traditional values, CampusReform.org makes possible a new generation of student activism to identify, expose and combat the radical left now."

Their site provides students with activism resources and ideas directed at reinforcing the "skills they need to revolutionize the struggle against leftist bias and abuse on college campuses."

Similarily, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is an organization that works to protect both students and faculty from political injustices that contradicts their basic individual rights. FIRE states that its mission is "to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty and sanctity of conscience – the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity."

In recent years, FIRE has taken issue with certain restrictive policies at the University of Cincinnati, particular the university’s policy of "free speech areas." On its website, FIRE gives UC a speech code rating of "red" which is defined as meaning that "at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech."

Another website I just recently came across is called Cato on Campus, which is itself an off shoot of the libertarian leaning Cato Institute. Here, interested students can "find other libertarian organizations, as well as scholarships, internships, essay contests, jobs and other useful tools to help you in college and beyond."

The Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is a national organization that seeks to mobilize students through the creation of local chapters at high schools and colleges nationwide, including a chapter at UC. YAL is a nonpartisan group founded during the most recent presidential election and whose mission is to "train, educate and mobilize youth activists committed to ‘winning on principle.’ Our goal is to cast the leaders of tomorrow and reclaim the policies, candidates and direction of our government."

In order to reestablish a political landscape in which governments are equally bounded by both the will of the people and the confines of the Constitution, we must now make an effort to get politically involved on campus.

The key to doing this rests with our abilities to utilize and take advantage of the resources given to us by organizations such as the ones mentioned here. Educating our fellow students, battling political biases in our classrooms and promoting the rights of students on campuses everywhere are some of the ways in which we can make sure colleges and universities remain institutions where all voices can be heard.