The University of Colorado’s (CU) new regent said she is committed to injecting more conservative voices into the school’s classroom to make the school more politically diverse.
Heidi Ganahl, CU’s newly elected regent, believes the school needs to foster political diversity by introducing conservative thought into at the student, staff and faculty levels. Her November victory keeps Republicans in the majority on the board of regents, 5-4.
“Well, I think that’s a national problem,” she said in a wide-ranging interview earlier in January about the lack of conservatives on college campuses. “So it’s something that I certainly want to dig into a bit and address and make sure that students are hearing both sides of the story. It’s very important to me.”
Ganahl, the founder of dog day care company Camp Bow Wow, managed to overcome a well-funded environmentalist-led campaign to take over UC to force the school to divest from fossil fuels.
One way to balance out the political atmosphere on campus, she said in the interview, is to introduce classes that are co-taught by liberals and conservatives. It gives students a wider understanding of political thought, according to Ganahl.
“And the kids love it. It’s always full, there’s always a waiting list to get a class, and that’s just an example of how students really do want to hear both sides of the story and have feisty debate about tough issues and have conversations about things that they really need to figure out where they stand on,” she added.
The Colorado Republican’s comments and her Election Day win comes a few months after professors at UC Colorado Springs told incoming students last year to drop their classes if they intended on debating climate change in class.
UC Colorado Spring’s sister campus, University of Colorado Denver, meanwhile is offering a three-credit course for the spring 2017 semester called “Problematizing Whiteness: Educating for Racial Justice,” a course attracting more liberal students than conservative ones.
UC should stop treating its students with kiddie gloves, and instead respect the rights of conservatives to invite controversial speakers to campus, Ganahl said, referring to a student-led move to invite alt-right firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos to two Colorado campuses.
“Well, I think that student groups invited him and sponsored his appearance, and we need to recognize their right to bring a variety of speakers and events to campus,” Ganahl said, adding that, UC is a place “where open debate, discussion, are encouraged, even from speakers that we disagree with or may have views that we don’t all agree with.”
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