Hilltop Views

American Dilemmas professors provide safe foundations for conservative views on campus

St.+Edward%27s+University+provides+freedom+for+different+political+ideologies.
St. Edward's University provides freedom for different political ideologies.

St. Edward's University provides freedom for different political ideologies.

St. Edward's University provides freedom for different political ideologies.


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In a time where conflicting political views only seem to cause tension among others, it’s nice to know that St. Edward’s professors offer a respectable environment for students to express their views; especially in politics related courses such as American Dilemmas.

Students, such as sophomore Corinna Gonzalez, have noticed that the reason for this issue could be the students’ fear of sharing their views among one another.

“[In my American Dilemmas course], we’re more scared of our peers and their views than from our professors who actually want us to speak up,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s because we see each other everyday. We don’t want to say something that will cause this tension within the classroom.”

In my American Dilemmas class, professor Jonathan Davis welcomes students to share their political views in class discussions. Professor Davis provides this welcoming foundation by making note that whatever is said in the classroom should not leave the classroom, out of respect to his students.

Davis, who began teaching at St. Edward’s University in 2011, has noticed a change in the student body’s majority view throughout the years.

“I get the feeling that the student body has moved to the left–it’s more liberal,” said Davis.

While I understand some students who hold conservative views may feel like they are unable to express them due to the liberal majority on campus, I would like to argue that the reason for this is not on the professors, but rather the student’s personal fear that they might be judged.

Davis suggested that the student’s reason for this fear could be the embarrassment of being associated with the current president Donald Trump, who verbally states his conservative views.

“I think the presidency of Donald Trump has made people ashamed of their conservative views,” said Davis. “Some students might not feel comfortable expressing conservative views in the fear they might be associated with Trump, maybe.”

Davis said that while his observation may just be his opinion, regardless he encourages students to participate effectively in class discussion.

“[Students] are welcomed to have whatever viewpoints,” said Davis. “I hope [students] feel able to speak up.”

Relating this back to my essential argument, a professor cannot change a student’s personal views. St. Edward’s University might be a university with a liberal atmosphere, but what else would you expect from a school located in Austin?  If a student feels like they need to agree with a professor’s liberal view for approval, or even praise, then that is more of a personal issue.

Along with the open-minded environment that the professors create for their students, the university provides students with various opportunities to express their views, aside from the required CULF courses. Student organizations such as Topper TV and even Hilltop Views always want to hear from students who have views they would like to share.

The resolution is simple: speak up. The foundation is there. You can’t expect your voice to be heard if you aren’t willing to stand by your own beliefs.

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American Dilemmas professors provide safe foundations for conservative views on campus