Why so few conservative student clubs? Faculty are unwilling to sponsor them.
Students at Texas A&M, University of Arkansas, and Miami Dade College report being unable to find faculty advisors for their clubs.
One student told 'Campus Reform' about 'openly conservative faculty being intimidated, demoted, and mistreated by the deans of their respective schools due to ideological differences.'
Conservative students across the country are facing difficulty when they attempt to start a right-leaning student organization on campus due to a lack of faculty members willing to serve as the advisor.
Most universities require prospective student organizations to obtain a faculty advisor before the school will consider recognizing the organization as an official on-campus club.
Texas A&M University, for example, requires every “recognized” student organization to have a faculty or staff advisor.
Campus Reform spoke to TAMU senior Cristina Bills who hoped to start a Young Women for America chapter on campus but was unsuccessful because she was unable to find a willing faculty member to serve as the club’s advisor.
“As conservative women we wanted to start a Young Women for America chapter here on campus at Texas A&M. To be affiliated with campus, we needed a campus advisor to be over our organization. Sadly, we could not find a professor or faculty member that wanted to be affiliated with us,” Bills said.
Bills admitted that she and her fellow officers searched for a faculty member for nearly six months before deciding to end the search and host the club’s meetings off-campus instead.
“Just because of our beliefs we couldn’t start the organization on campus, yet other left-winged organizations can and have advisors,” she told Campus Reform.
[RELATED: Catholic University of America denies students’ request to launch TPUSA chapter]
The University of Arkansas also requires that student organizations acquire a faculty advisor before being officially recognized by the university.
Junior Addison Pummill is the founder and president of the Network of Enlightened Women chapter at the University of Arkansas. She told Campus Reform that the “huge lack of conservative professors” at her university makes it “impossible” for her new club to meet the faculty advisor requirement.
Pummill is a Campus Reform correspondent.
University of Arkansas junior Nate Harris also told Campus Reform that it is “difficult” to find conservative faculty and staff on campus.
“It seems that there are only a few conservative professors present on the campus,” Harris said.
Even if a prospective club’s founders find a conservative-leaning professor, there are still obstacles to overcome, according to Pummill.
“Unfortunately, the rare conservative professor cannot take on another club because they are already the faculty advisor for too many other clubs,” she said.
Harris echoed this when he told Campus Reform that “vocal conservative” faculty members are “typically advising multiple groups and have little time for new conservative groups.”
[RELATED: Harvard survey shows just how rare a breed conservatives are at the Ivy League school]
Providing a hypothesis for why this is the case, Harris revealed that there is an “effort to drive out the conservative faculty members.”
“There are accounts of openly conservative faculty being intimidated, demoted, and mistreated by the deans of their respective schools due to ideological differences,” Harris said.
“This reality is disheartening and a barrier to political engagement at the University of Arkansas. The administration seems devoted to promoting ‘diversity’ but not intellectual diversity," he continued. "Sadly, it seems that the administration will go on with business as usual in promoting a liberal agenda as well as continually making it difficult for conservative groups to form without impediments."
“Without a more politically diverse faculty, there is no hope for conservative students to spread their ideas, educate their peers, and be involved on campus,” Pummill told Campus Reform.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni echoed Pummill's sentiment in a statement to Campus Reform.
“Unfortunately, on most campuses, conservative faculty and administrators are on the verge of extinction," the statement read. "While one’s political beliefs should never be the basis for hiring decisions, institutions must address when students do not have equal access to educational opportunities."
Sophomore Cristen Lameira is attempting to start a Turning Point USA chapter at Miami Dade College Kendall Campus but is also having a hard time finding an advisor.
Lameira is a Campus Reform correspondent.
She told Campus Reform that she is facing difficulty because “professors are afraid to lose their job if they are associated with political activist organizations like TPUSA.”
If Lameira does not find a faculty member willing to serve as advisor to her new club by September 24, she will be forced to “dismantle” her goal of starting the organization on campus.
In spite of the difficulties conservative students are facing on-campus, Bills offered a positive outlook on the situation to Campus Reform.
“Despite these hardships, we must keep up the good fight & be strong in our beliefs & know that they are true through these crazy times!,” Bills concluded to Campus Reform.