Conservative Leaders Respond To A Laughably Slanted Account Of Conservative Campus Activism
Last week, the college-focused website Inside Higher Ed published a laughably slanted, 2,472-word article expounding the proposition that conservative student groups on campuses across America “view academe with disdain,” focus on “attracting controversy” and spend their days orchestrating divisive events “designed to rile people up.”
The lengthy piece, by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, is entitled “Trickle-Down Antagonism.”
In support of his thesis that conservative campus groups exist to cause controversy, Bauer-Wolf relies largely on Amy J. Binder, a sociology professor at the University of California, San Diego.
Binder recalls how she once attended a speech by Ann Coulter at the University of California, Irvine in 2008 — nine years ago. Coulter “stirred the crowd into frenzy” and “didn’t lend anything to the conversation, but rather served as more of a political entertainer,” according to the Inside Higher Ed account of Binder’s recollections.
“I know this sounds really quite extreme, but I whispered to the person I had come with that I know how fascism works now,” Binder said.
“National conservative organizations, like Young America’s Foundation, stoke mistrust between students and institutions, using language that evokes a sense of war — that universities are battlegrounds and professors will indoctrinate you,” the sociology professor also explained, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Who is Amy Binder?
Inside Higher Ed presents Binder as an expert on conservative campus groups because she wrote a book in 2012 entitled “Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives.”
Binder’s curriculum vitae shows little expertise in this area. Her chief academic specialty appears to be Afrocentrism, an academic model that “suggests all discourse about African people should be grounded in the centrality of Africans in their own narratives,” according to Molefi Asante (born Arthur Lee Smith Jr.). Asante is a Temple University professor who largely pioneered the concept.
Binder, who is white, mentions the term “Afrocentric” or “Afrocentrism” 17 times in her curriculum vitae.
In 1993, Binder authored an article in the American Sociological Review entitled “Constructing Racial Rhetoric: Media Depictions of Harm in Heavy Metal and Rap Music.” The protracted treatise includes an in-depth analysis of public perception of the lyrics of 2 Live Crew, Anthrax, Slayer and Tone Loc.
In February, the taxpayer-funded professor took to Facebook to blame President Donald Trump because she felt ill.
Binder’s Facebook likes include Impeach Trump, Black Lives Matter and Occupy Democrats.
Conservative groups respond
The Daily Caller sought responses to the Inside Higher Ed article from the leaders of multiple national organizations which frequently sponsor conservative events. The basic theme of these responses is that America’s college and universities have become increasingly intolerant of views which fail to conform to prevalent liberal norms.
“The need for any of the conservative campus groups only arose because the universities aren’t presenting conservative ideas,” Ron Robinson, president of Young America’s Foundation, told TheDC.
“Campus leftists have endless opportunities to advance their ideas thanks to liberal administrators who fund leftist speakers, support liberal causes and actively suppress any ideological opposition from conservative groups,” said Young America’s Foundation spokesman Spencer Brown.
“This idea that conservative students hosting a speaker who represents their views is done for attention or provocation is laughable,” Brown also said.
Ian Walters, a spokesman for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), similarly observes that leftist and liberal causes tend to enjoy strong and dynamic support from professors and powerful administrators.
“Conservatives operate the way they operate because they don’t have institutional support,” Walters told TheDC.
“Liberals want opposing viewpoints to go away,” Walters also said. “This is the exact opposite of tolerance. Conservatives are eager and willing to engage in debate. College campuses should be forces for an open exchange of ideas and vigorous, civilized debate over ideas.”
Cliff Maloney, the president of Young Americans for Liberty, notes numerous instances when school administrators have limited speech on campus — by cancelling events, for example — or attempted to institute restrictive speech codes in the name of combating “hate speech.”
“Administrators with their own political agendas have attempted to stifle freedom of expression on campuses nationwide,” Maloney said.
Matt Lamb, a spokesman for Turning Point USA, points out that left-leaning groups host plenty of events at which speakers make radical declarations.
As an example, Lamb notes that campus groups have hosted DeRay Mckesson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement who has charged that America’s police officers “are engaged in ethnic cleansing.”
“Controversial events representing all ideological and political persuasions occur routinely on campuses all over America,” Lamb said. “By their very nature, culturally and socially relevant topics are likely to provoke strong reactions — given the hyper-polarized nature of the current national dialogue.”
Inside Higher Ed’s vast, cosmically gaping void
Inside Higher Ed asserts that “national right-wing organizations” support “Republican student groups” by providing “splashy signs and money to help espouse a particular brand of conservatism.”
The Inside Higher Ed piece singles out affirmative-action bake sales — common events on college campuses which attempt to highlight the unfairness of preferential treatment based on skin color, ethnicity and other factors. The bake sales often draw large crowds and howls of protest.
Affirmative-action bake sales are “meant to poke at those on the other side of the political spectrum and hopefully goad them into responding in an uncivilized way,” according to Inside Higher Ed’s account of statements made by Binder, the professor trotted out as an authority on conservative campus groups.
“Such strategies may lose some campus goodwill, but likely among those that Republicans weren’t trying to please anyway.”
Meanwhile, Inside Higher Ed utterly ignores the incredibly numerous — and sometimes bizarre — instances when students, professors and administrators have staged blatantly left-wing political events or instituted radical policies favored by the radical left on college campuses.
Incidents of incendiary leftist politics by students, professors and administrators on college campuses are so common and so legion that any comprehensive listing would be impossible. But here are 18 examples from just the last few years to illustrate the phenomenon:
Earlier this year, a large group of militant, black-mask-wearing leftists staged riotous and destructive demonstrations on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, forcing the cancellation of a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos. A speech by Coulter was also cancelled out of fear of more riots. Prior to the Yiannopoulos riot, the UC Berkeley student newspaper published an op-ed inviting students to show up to protest. (RELATED: The Cal Berkeley Student Newspaper Promoted Protest-Turned-Riot The Day Before Milo Event)
In perhaps the most famous recent case of left-wing campus agitation, a group of black students at the University of Missouri led by Jonathan Butler, the son of a millionaire railroad executive, led a series of campus protests in late 2015. Butler went on a hunger strike and convinced 32 black Mizzou football players to boycott all team activities. There was a poop swastika. There were false reports of people wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods. A now-fired professor, Melissa Click, threatened a student cameraman with mob violence when he tried to cover the ongoing protests. The activists who led the protests demanded a fire pit to keep themselves warm and cozy as they camped out in an occupied area of the campus quad during chilly November nights. School officials helpfully provided additional electricity. (RELATED: After Caving To Race Protesters, Mizzou Suffers Steep Enrollment Drop)
More than 230 American colleges and universities — 143 of them lavishly funded by taxpayers — have launched bias reporting systems encouraging students to report each other for incidents of offensive speech and other kinds of “bias.” The speech and conduct of some 2.84 million students in the United States are subject to evaluation under bias reporting systems, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The personnel who investigate student speech — usually called some variation of “bias response teams” — frequently includes law enforcement officials as well as school administrators. Upon a finding of “guilty,” the teams of cops and bureaucrats summon students for hearings, which are often intimidating and quasi-disciplinary. (RELATED: The 12 Dumbest ‘Bias Incidents’ On America’s College Campuses)
In 2016, Virginia Tech disinvited Jason Riley, a senior fellow at the free market-oriented Manhattan Institute, from speaking on campus because they feared “protests from the looney left.” Vijay Singal, the chairman of Virginia Tech’s finance department, decided to nix Riley’s appearance because he “has written about race issues.” (RELATED: Virginia Tech Nixes Black Conservative’s Speech Because ‘Looney Left’ Might Protest)
In March 2017, left-wing students at Middlebury College forced Charles Murray to stop his address before a campus audience. Some of the chants the students shouted included: “Who is the enemy? White supremacy!” and “Charles Murray go away. Racist. Sexist. Anti-gay.” Murray had been invited by the American Enterprise Institute Club to speak about his 2012 book, ‘Coming Apart,’ and how its analysis of working-class white people explains the rise of Donald Trump. (RELATED: Angry Students Disrupt Conservative Scholar’s Speech At Middlebury College)
In April 2017, Women’s March on Washington speaker Donna Hylton, a convicted felon, spoke on a civil rights panel at a Manhattanville College. Hylton — and Manhattanville’s entire administration — failed to mention that she was convicted in 1986 for participating in the kidnapping of a man, forcibly sodomizing him with a steel pole and then torturing him to death. When a student at the event asked Hytlon about the heinous crime, a second panelist loudly berated the student for having “embarrassed” Hylton. (RELATED: College Speaker Whines About Prison But Fails To Mention That She TORTURED AND KILLED A Man)
In February 2017, the student senate at Santa Clara University rejected a petition to form a campus chapter of Turning Point USA because opponents of the group complained that its presence would make them feel “unsafe” — and because of the “mood” on campus since Donald Trump was elected president. A full-time school employee had primed Santa Clara student senators with a lengthy PowerPoint presentation associating the conservative campus organization with vile, fringe white supremacist groups. (RELATED: Campus Conservative Group Rejected Because It Makes Liberal Students Feel ‘Unsafe’)
In 2016, officials at the State University of New York at New Paltz cancelled a planned campus debate between Jeff Cohen, a notable left-wing media critic, and Cliff Kincaid, a notable right-wing media critic, because Kincaid has right-wing views. The last-minute cancellation occurred the day the debate was scheduled. Emails obtained by the SUNY New Paltz campus newspaper show that school officials aborted the debate because a sociology professor, Anne Roschelle, complained about Kincaid’s political opinions. (RELATED: College Cancels Debate Between Conservative And Liberal Because Conservative Was Participating)
In 2013, school officials at Minnesota State University Moorhead selected communist revolutionary and admitted terrorist Bill Ayers as the 2013 College of Education and Human Services “visiting scholar.” In a 2001 book, Ayers, a co-founder of the Weather Underground and the son of a former CEO of Commonwealth Edison, admitted that he participated in bombings of the New York City Police Department headquarters, the U.S. Capitol Building and the Pentagon in the early 1970s. His wife, Northwestern University law professor and fellow Weather Undergrounder Bernardine Dohrn, was once a permanent fixture on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list. In 1969, Dohrn expressed support for Charles Manson and his murderous followers because “they killed those pigs.” (RELATED Bill Ayers Is Now A Feted ‘Visiting Scholar’ At This Taxpayer-Funded University)
The three-school University of Illinois system has employed — or attempted to employ — two left-wing terrorists as professors. One of those professors is Ayers, who taught for 23 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hired, then sacked, then re-hired James Kilgore, a felon convicted of murder and a former member of the infamous Symbionese Liberation Army, the notorious terrorist organization that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. The group also attempted two bank robberies. Kilgore participated in a 1975 bank robbery during which bank customer Myrna Opsahl was murdered. Opsahl, who bled to death on the floor of the bank, was a 42-year-old mother of four. (RELATED: The University of Illinois System Keeps Hiring Terrorists)
In February 2015, taxpayer-funded Texas Tech University paid lifelong far-left activist and former U.S. Communist Party leader Angela Davis $12,000 — slightly less than three months of pre-tax income for an average American household — for a single speech on campus. In 1970, Davis was arrested, tried and acquitted on a charge of conspiracy related to an armed takeover of a California courtroom. There was a hostage situation. Four people died during the siege, including a judge. (RELATED: Texas Tech College Republicans Petition Against Angela Davis Speech)
Another 2015 incident occurred at Georgetown University when feminist student activists demanded “trigger warnings” at a speech by American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers. The protesters said they feared that Sommers could traumatize rape victims by giving a lecture entitled “What’s Right (and Badly Wrong) with Feminism?” Protester showed up to the event with signs reading “Feminists Against RAPE Apology!” and “Trigger Warning: anti-feminism.” Officials at Georgetown University then unsuccessfully tried to pressure an off-campus group to edit a raw YouTube video showing the protest. (RELATED: Militant Georgetown Feminists Demand ‘Safe Spaces’)
Also in 2015, the University of Michigan briefly cancelled a screening of the blockbuster movie “American Sniper” because student protesters claimed the film “sympathizes with a mass killer.” The movie, which was nominated for several Oscars including Best Picture, tells the life story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his struggles in Iraq and back at home. In place of “American Sniper,” the University of Michigan had planned to show “Paddington,” an animated movie for children about a loveable bear. (RELATED: University Cancels ‘American Sniper’ Screening Because It’s ‘Racist’)
Clemson University, which officially apologized in 2015 for a Mexican-themed dorm cafeteria food night, has spent nearly $27,000 for online diversity training materials which instruct professors that it is wrong to advise straggling, late people that “in our country, 9:00 a.m. means 9:00 a.m.” One person’s “cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other,” the materials tell taxpayer-funded professors. (RELATED: Public University’s ‘Diversity Training’: Expecting People To Show Up On Time Is Racist)
In 2014, a fraternity and a sorority at Dartmouth College cancelled a “Phiesta” fundraiser for cardiac care after a single student, Daniela Hernandez, complained that the event featuring virgin strawberry daiquiris and guacamole presented “various problematic structures and ideologies.” (RELATED: It’s Official: At Dartmouth, The Word ‘Fiesta’ Is Racist And White People Can’t Use It)
In April 2017, a group of black students at Pomona College sent a lengthy open letter to their school president charging that the search for objective truth is a white supremacist invention used for “silencing oppressed peoples.” The letter criticized free speech as “a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions.” The letter came in the wake of a campus speech by Heather Mac Donald, a generally conservative social critic. (RELATED: Black Students At Absurdly Expensive College Call Objective Truth A White Supremacist Myth)
Also in April 2017, the University of Colorado Boulder announced the creation of a special new residence hall that will segregate black people away from the general student population. The “Living Learning Community” for “black-identified students and their allies” will provide a “supportive, social and communal space for students” who identify with “elements of the African & Black Diaspora.” The University of Connecticut announced plans for a similar residence hall in 2016. (RELATED: Taxpayer-Funded University LITERALLY Creates Segregated Dorm For Black People)
In 2014, members of a radical leftist group at the University of Minnesota demanded that the school confess that it “exists as a product of” colonial evil and must therefore restructure to conform to their organizing principles. The group’s list of demands — which was over 1,000 words longer than the Declaration of Independence — included gender-neutral bathrooms in all campus buildings and “meditation and healing” rooms. The activists delved into considerable detail discussing exactly how these healing rooms must be decorated. (RELATED: Minnesota Radicals Demand Mandatory Transgender Classes Because Of Colonialism)