YAF study finds just ONE conservative book on major freshman reading list
The only conservative book assigned to first year students was Vivek Ramaswamy’s 'A Nation of Victims.'
'It’s clear many colleges and universities are only interested in advancing one specific narrative – the left’s,' YAF spokesman Michael McGonigle told Campus Reform.
Despite constant complaints from leftists about books allegedly banned from classrooms, a report shows that conservative books are more restricted from campuses.
A recent report from Young America’s Foundation (YAF) found that just one conservative book was assigned as part of a nationwide campus reading program for the 2023-2024 school year. By contrast, 142 books that promoted liberal ideas like the LGBT agenda, critical race theory, and climate panic, were assigned.
“It’s clear many colleges and universities are only interested in advancing one specific narrative – the left’s,” YAF spokesman Michael McGonigle said in a statement to Campus Reform. “YAF and its chapter members across the country are working hard to reverse this trend, ensuring students are exposed to the tested principles of conservatism and challenged to think critically.”
The study examined the texts assigned or recommended to universities that participate in the “Common Reads” program for freshman college students from publisher Penguin Random House. “Common Reads” is the largest such initiative in higher education. YAF assessed each book by reviewing its description, genre, customer reviews, and background research conducted on the author of each book.
The only conservative book assigned to first year students was Vivek Ramaswamy’s A Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence; the book was assigned by Northwood University, a small private institution in Midland, Michigan.
By contrast, 142 of the books assigned were overtly left-wing in their content and messaging. The books themselves are some of the most controversial texts in recent years. One of the titles, assigned to students at Albion College in Michigan, is Gender Queer: A Graphic Memoir by Maia Kobabe. Gender Queer has been at the center of the heated debates about radical gender theory in K-12 schools. The work’s graphic memoir contains lewd illustrations of masturbation, oral sex between an adult male and a young boy, and other sexual acts.
Another one of the books on the list is Why Didn’t We Riot? A Black Man in Trumpland by Isaac J. Bailey, which was assigned as summer reading to freshman students at American University in Washington, D.C. The book is Bailey’s memoir of experience as a black man and a police abolition activist during Donald Trump’s presidency. Bailey also makes an argument for political violence in the work.
Other titles in the list include: His Name Was George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels, How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, Gordo by Jamie Cortez, The Octopus in the Parking Garage: A Call for Climate Resilience by Po Bronson and Rob Verchick, and Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming.
YAF also found 118 books that lacked inherent ideological bias, such as Mary Shelley’s horror classic Frankenstein, history books, and self-help books. There were another 39 books for which YAF could not identify any ideological bias.
Campus Reform reached out to Ramaswamy and Common Reads for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.