FIRE loves when students beautifully express the principles of individual rights. We recently saw a copy of a great letter that University of Delaware student Alyssa Koser, a self-described “progressive democrat and environmentalist,” sent to the officers of Students for the Environment (S4E). She eloquently expresses the difference between supporting an agenda and foisting it on others. As a student in the dorms for a number of years, Alyssa knows very well what ResLife has been doing to indoctrinate students, and she wants it to stop—even though she believes largely in ResLife’s social and political agenda. Here’s her letter, reprinted with permission:
Hello S4E Officers,
My name is Alyssa and I’m the Events Coordinator for the College Democrats [REDACTED]. I was told that administrators have contacted S4E and told them “conservative students were protesting sustainability” and that you should come counter this protest at Monday’s Faculty Senate Meeting.
As someone who is a HUGE believer in sustainability and environmentalism, I would like to let you know that administrators are lying if they have told you this is what students are protesting. The Residence Life plan is highly focused around “sustainability”- but not just environmental sustainability. Their definition of sustainability has included social justice and economic equality which are very politicized concepts.
As a progressive democrat and environmentalist, I personally am very in favor of reducing the gap between the rich and poor and advocating for gay rights which are two of many examples of economic equality and social justice. However, those are my personal choices and beliefs that I have decided for myself and those types of decisions should be made by individuals and not taught by a residence hall education plan.
One big misconception of the new ResLife plan is that sustainaility means teaching students to turn off the lights or use less plastic. [REDACTED] I can tell you that is not the case. In ResLife, they use ‘sustainability’ to justify education relating to a specific political ideology which is very left-leaning.
Please consider whether you want the definition of sustainability to be twisted by Residence Life into meaning that everyone should adopt a specific set of political beliefs in order to be a ‘good citizen.’ If you are like me, you will probably believe that each person should be able to form their own set of beliefs without feeling bad for not agreeing with ResLife beliefs.
I am very liberal and I would love if all students valued the political issues I do. However, it is no one’s responsibility to ‘educate’ students on a specific ideology and make them feel bad for having different opinions. The university should be a place which fosters the discussion of a broad range of ideologies, and the residence halls should not intimidate or educate students on any specifc political ideology.
I hope you see why members of College Democrats, College Republicans and many other student groups are joining together to advocate a limited definition of sustainability which only includes an environmental aspect and not a political aspect. We all believe, whether we are liberal or conservative, that your personal ideology should be your own choice and that students rights and freedoms should be protected from political indoctrination.
The Faculty Senate meeting is Monday, May 12 at 4 PM in Gore 104. I hope to see you there supporting our right to make up our own minds about our personal beliefs rather than allowing ResLife to educate us on the things they feel that we should believe.
Thank you, and if you have any questions, please e-mail me.
Great job, Alyssa!