Democrats are less tolerant than Republicans on campus.
A whopping 71% of Democrats on campus won’t go on a date with and 37% won’t be friends with someone who voted for the opposing presidential candidate, according to Generation Lab/Axios polling of 850 college students nationwide conducted in November. Republicans are much more tolerant; 31% of Republicans said they won’t go on a date with and 5% said they won’t be friends with someone who voted for the opposing presidential candidate.
With the dominance of liberal campus culture, the difference is likely partly attributable to necessity as Republican students would find it more difficult to make friends if they wiped out Democrats on campus from their list.
Conservative students have for years documented the bias they have faced from professors and administrators. This survey shows students themselves taking on the role of censors in campus life. As the president of the Network of enlightened Women, an organization for conservative college women, I have been hearing more stories from students about the social ostracizing they experience from peers because of their political views.
Last fall, Katherine Lauer at the University of Kansas was placed on probation by her sorority Kappa Alpha Theta for showing “unbecoming” conduct because she shared her conservative views on social media. The sorority ordered her to “keep track of your individual social media posts” and “assess their alignment with the Kappa Alpha Theta online social media contract” and required her to watch a video selected by the sorority’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. She brought her story to Fox News: “I still don’t know exactly what I’ve done, and to me, I feel like they’re really trying to suppress me and silence me.”
Lauer added that many of her sorority sisters thanked her for speaking out: “I’ve had actually a lot of Thetas reach out to me and thank me for my post and say that they really appreciated my bravery because a lot of the conservative friends that I have do not feel comfortable speaking their opinion.” She quit the sorority and started a NeW chapter at her school.
My NeW colleagues and I have heard from other conservative students being mistreated by their sororities — and from students who have faced negative social pressure in everyday interactions with their peers, such as when trying to recruit for and launch chapters.
When student leaders recruited at Dickinson College this year, they faced attacks on Yik Yak, a social media platform that allows people to post anonymously and connect based on geography (“what even is ‘conservative feminism?’ it sounds like an oxymoron”). Also, leftist students yelled at Alex Amsden and her friends at the University of Vermont when they set up a table to recruit.
After one student played a big role in getting NeW approved on her campus, the student government association passed a new rule specifically targeting her as she served as a student senator as well. It changed the rules so that no student senator could be an executive board member of any school club, so she had to step down from her official chapter role on campus.
While concerns about grades incentivize some conservative women to keep their views quiet in the classroom, social pressure serves as a silencing force outside of the classroom. I hope students, especially Democrats on campus, will see this poll and give someone who voted for the opposing candidate a chance. Learning how to engage with new and different ideas and the people who hold those ideas is something we need more of on campus.
Karin Lips (@klips) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is the founder and president of the Network of enlightened Women and a senior fellow with the Independent Women's Forum.