I just finished reading an article concerning the rising problem on college campuses of squashing free speech in the name of political correctness. Shippensburg University in Pennsyvania defined harrassment in April of 2003 as “unwanted conduct which annoys, threatens, or alarms a person or group” (McElroy). Washington State’s College of Education requires that all students be subjected to “diversity testing” and, although it was struck down by the courts, once required a student to sign a contract that committed him to further political testing and re-orientation. (McElroy) WHAT?!? Even certain groups (usually Christian groups, but not always) have been banned from campuses because they are deemed “dissenting”. ETSU, right here in Johnson City, TN, requires faculty and staff to attend “diversity training”. While I’ve not been subjected to this required brainwashing, the effect seems to be that professors are annoyed at the time wasted – they could be off grading papers or, you know, teaching their students.

Everybody who has read this blog for any period of time knows by now that I’m a conservative Christian attending a public university. While I am clearly not going to join (or even attend the functions of) the gay, secular, or liberal organizations on campus, I’m glad they’re there. I don’t even mind that a few of my tuition dollars go to support these organizations (now, the Ludacris concert is another issue altogether…see previous blogs for my opinion on that). When universities attempt to “re-train” their students by limiting their speech or refuse to fund certain organizations because they’re offensive, a couple of things happen: 1) it makes people angry. Talk to someone (a professor at ETSU, for instance) who has recently attended “diversity training” (if they’re willing to speak about it – they might lose their jobs if they say too much…). Most are irratated, offended even, that they were forced to endure x number of hours listening to someone tell them how they should treat this group or that one. This can actually lead to increasing hostility to the groups seen as the ones that caused the training by calling “foul”. 2) worst of all, it limits free speech. People are afraid to say that their religion sees homosexuality as a sin for fear of being deemed “intolerant”. One can’t, oh, I don’t know, speak out against a Ludacris concert without being dubbed a racist. The university sould be a hotbed of debate, not a place where one is afraid to say something because they might be charged with a lack of “diveristy awareness”.

As a member of a group (Christianity) that is becoming an increasing minority on public university campuses, I don’t want people to be afraid to disagree with me. I’m a conservative christian philosophy major, for crying out loud! Talk about being a member of a minority! I am not afraid for people to challenge my beliefs – how else will I learn to defend them? Neither should gays, feminists, blacks (oh, I’m sorry, African-Americans), or purple-people-eaters be afraid of being challenged. Not only is it possible that you might learn something by being challenged, you just might teach someone else something about what its like to be you.

So speak up! Call me crazy for being a Christian, talk about why you think homosexuality is a sin (or not), or mention the fact that you think that racism is no longer a problem. We all just might learn something…

McElroy, Wendy. Campus Conscience Police? Accessed Dec. 22,2005 from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,179321,00.html.