NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
A crime wave is spreading like wildfire across our nation’s campuses, and conservative students are the victims. Thefts of conservative student publications are on the rise. Even campus administrators are doing what they can to prevent the dissemination of conservative viewpoints. Whatever happened to diversity of thought and respecting the ideologies of our fellow classmates?
Not too long ago, the Georgia GuardDawg reported that over 1,200 issues of its student-run conservative newspapers were stolen and their distribution bins were tagged with demeaning and disparaging remarks. Unfortunately for advocates of intellectual diversity on our nation’s college campuses, this latest incident is par for the course of conservative paper’s struggling to survive.
With student fees being spread between clubs that create “condom roses” for Valentine’s Day and campus Women Center’s that conduct “educational” trips to the local porn shops, it’s been quite difficult for student-run conservative newspapers to build a reasonable budget for their product. Mix in a campus climate that is decisively anti-conservative, and classrooms that indoctrinate students in left-wing politics, and the chances of publishing a successful and widely-distributed conservative newspaper are seemingly unattainable.
But that never stopped the staff of the GuardDawg, which surfaced in 2003 after a group of conservative students were fed up with the atmosphere of left-wing advocacy on their University of Georgia campus. Like many campus conservative papers, the GuardDawg tests the resolve of their classmates and administrators to uphold their promise to respect diversity in all forms – including intellectual – but in too many cases, the results put the lie to that.
After their papers were stolen, the culprits took a page out of Howard Dean’s DNC strategy booklet and baselessly insulted the conservatives by writing “communist” and “homo” on the GuardDawg’s distribution bins. On college campuses, being a conservative often equates one as being a communist. A recent example comes from the liberal arts Occidental College in Los Angeles, where a conservative student had his door vandalized with swastikas after publishing a piece critical of the way his campus treats conservatives. One can’t help but wonder what it is professors are teaching about communism, when students can so quickly equate a conservative with a communist.
Similar incidents of theft and downright hostility to conservative newspapers have occurred at colleges across the country.
According to David Lazar, the former publisher of the Bruin Standard, a conservative paper on the University of California at Los Angeles campus, some of their campus professors make distribution difficult. When a liberal professor was reviewed in the Bruin Standard for inappropriately using his class for an anti-Republican tirade, newspapers that were left in the classroom for his students mysteriously disappeared only 15 minutes later. Lazar suspects the papers were stolen by the professor. “When I came back for class, [the professor] was there and the newspapers were gone,” claims Lazar.
Johns Hopkins University also had an incident of theft and administration-sponsored confiscation. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reported nearly 600 copies of the The Carrollton Record were stolen out of the campus’ main library. According to the Student Press Law Center, the publication was removed from dormitories from the college administration after a newly instituted “clutter free environment” policy banned the paper in dormitories. An investigation by FIRE concluded the conservative paper was being unfairly targeted by the administration. FIRE published two pictures taken two days after the ban was used to confiscate The Carrollton Record showing the college’s leftist publication having a distribution bin in dorms.
The Northeastern Patriot, a conservative paper in it’s infancy that wished to provide a conservative voice on an otherwise left-wing campus, also caught the attention of the college administration. According to the Boston Globe, the paper “hit a snag during its debut” when it distributed papers without first registering with the school. Noting the double standard, the paper’s editor-in-chief Dave Moberg said “he often sees other students distribute pamphlets and newsletters around campus promoting gay awareness and antiwar events without interference by the university.”
The student paper need not be entirely conservative for it to be targeted by rampaging leftists.
At Pasadena City College in Southern California, almost 5,000 copies of the student paper, The Courier, were destroyed. A group of thieves claiming to be upset with the Courier’s coverage of a MEChA event on campus took responsibility for the destruction of the paper. Is this what happens when you don’t give a far-Left group the respect it doesn’t deserve?
Whether the papers are stolen, destroyed, or prohibited from being distributed, conservative student editors and publishers trek on. And rightfully so: The best way to change the behavior of anti-conservative students and administrators is to show them we’re not going anywhere.
After all, there’s nothing cut-and-run leftists hate more than steadfast conservatives.Download file "The new campus brownshirts"