The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 4, 2006

Underground conservatives

New publication launched to counter ‘lack of ideological diversity’ on MSU campus

MANKATO — Take a jaunt through almost any public college campus, pick the brains of the faculty, survey the bulletin boards’ announcements of discussion groups and coffee klatches and sustainable biofueled vegan meetings.

Chances are you’d walk away from it all with the distinct sense the goings-on within the halls of academe drift toward the liberal end of the political spectrum.

For the most part, you’d probably be right. But not everyone on a typical public college campus is a Democrat-voting, card-carrying liberal. And a few right-minded students hope their new publication, The Maverick Underground, can knock down what they say is a myth that all students are liberal.

“This is something we’ve been mulling over for a few years,” says Adam Weigold, managing editor of The Maverick Underground, the first edition of which hit the Minnesota State University student body Jan. 26.

Conservative backlash in what have traditionally been bastions of liberal thought is a bit of a growing trend.

More and more, conservative faculty members at college campuses around the country are voicing opposition to what they see as an overwhelmingly dogmatic environment of liberalism.

Growing divide

During fall semester 2004, a professor at the University of Montana’s law school needed a mediator to be allowed to teach a constitutional law class. In an appeal to one of his rejections, tenured professor Robert Natalson wrote, “The law school apparently views this course as politically sensitive and has kept it in liberal hands for over 20 years.”

Nothing so drastic has happened at MSU, but Weigold and Maverick Underground editor-in-chief James Dye say they’ve both been in classrooms where the liberal bias shown by the professor has been overbearing and made them uncomfortable.

They also say they’ve heard stories from other students who suspect their grades on papers or other assignments were negatively affected by their conservative beliefs.

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