11 Conservative Victories on College Campuses in 2011
By Morton C. Blackwell
As the year comes to a close, the Leadership Institute is proud to recognize the conservative college students and campus groups that fought for conservative principles at American colleges and universities - and won. Here are the top 11 conservative student victories of 2011 in no particular order.
University of Colorado - Boulder - In March of 2011 conservative students at UC-Boulder fielded a ticket of 33 candidates for student government and won each of those seats. These conservative activists now control one of the largest autonomous student budgets in the nation and plan to cut unnecessary spending and stand up for conservative principles on campus.
Brown University - In the spring of 2011, several students brought a course on conservatism to Brown University through the Leadership Institute's Conservatism 101 initiative. The course, Modern Conservatism in America: Conservative Thought in the 20th Century was taught by visiting professor Steven Calabresi and offered students a for-credit course on conservative principles. The course caught media attention and was featured in the Boston Globe, ABC News, and other outlets.
Northern Arizona University - Members of the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Conservatives were thrust into the public eye after the university administration tried to shut down their YAF 9/11: Never Forget Project event right before September 11, 2011. When the students refused to shut down the event, citing free speech, two students were charged with misconduct violations. The students contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) which brought a lawsuit against NAU on behalf of the students. The conservative students held their ground and submitted revised speech code proposals. The charges against the students were dropped and the school formed a committee to change their speech codes to protect students' first amendment rights.
Yale University- Undergraduates for a Better Yale College (UBYC), a conservative campus group at Yale University, made it their mission to do away with the school's sponsorship of "Sex Week at Yale", a biennial event which encourages promiscuity and invites stars and producers from the pornography industry to give talks and demonstrations on campus. UBYC circulated separate petitions to students, alumni, and parents, asking them to support their group in telling Yale's administration to "Say No to Sex Week." On November 10th, 2011, Yale's President Levin responded to a report from the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate which had found serious problems with the effect Sex Week was having on the campus culture at Yale. President Levin officially banned the use of Yale's name or facilities for Sex Week in 2012.
University of Texas at Austin - The Young Conservatives of Texas at Austin, a conservative student group, pushed for a Conservatism 101 course to be taught on campus. The students accomplished their goal and in the fall of 2012 the course Contemporary Conservative Philosophy will be offered.
Furman University - Furman's Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow (CSBT) raised awareness on campus about a bias exhibited by the university's Cultural Life Program Committee regarding the political ideology of guest speakers. The story was covered by the Washington Examiner, and due to the coverage given to the conservative student group's actions, the committee chairman was asked to step down by Furman's president, Rodney Smolla.
University of Nevada Las Vegas - Conservative students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas decided to make a difference in the student government by running for office. These students now control a majority of the student government seats and plan to stand up for conservative principles on campus.
Ohio State University - The conservative group Buckeyes for Concealed Carry on Campus was featured in several media outlets for their group mission and activism after a string of robberies around the school raised the issue of personal safety. They were featured in various campus, city, and national publications including: Uweekly, the Lantern, the Columbus Dispatch, NRA-ILA, and the Buckeye Firearms Association website. The press coverage from Buckeyes for Concealed Carry activism led to a Concealed Carry on Campus legislation that was recently submitted in the Ohio legislature.
University of Montana School of Law - Until recently, student funding allocations at the University of Montana School of Law depended upon a group's viewpoints. After the Christian Legal Society was denied funding or official recognition, they filed a lawsuit with the assistance of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). The school agreed to change its funding procedures and the Christian Legal Society dropped their lawsuit. They will now enjoy the benefits that other officially recognized groups enjoy in addition to fair funding.
University of Central Oklahoma - When conservative students recruited for their pro-life campus group, the university police told them they had to stop. The students, asserting their first amendment rights, insisted on handing out flyers to the campus community. The campus police then cited the students for violating the university's speech code. The students contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) who contacted the university administration. The administration officially reaffirmed support for students' rights and stated that the campus police and university officials will participate in training to ensure that all students can express their First Amendment rights on the campus.
Stanford University - Members of the Stanford Conservative Society, a conservative student group, circulated a petition on campus to reinstate the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) that was banned from campus by faculty in the Vietnam War era. The petition gained enough support that the Associated Students of Stanford University placed a referendum on the spring election ballot asking students whether ROTC should be returned to the university's curriculum. ROTC won an overwhelming majority at the polls, providing a strong measure of support for the Faculty Senate to officially reinstate the program only a few months later.
Many of the students involved in these events received training and support from the Leadership Institute.