Whitman College in Washington State is big on diversity, except when it comes to politics. In order to change things, one brave student named Alexandra Calloway-Nation created a campus club for conservatives.
Sarah Cornett of The Whitman Pioneer recently wrote a piece about the college’s conservative club and the challenges they face.
Campus Conservatives Club Opens Political Dialogue
It is no secret that Whitman is a predominantly liberal campus community. The vast majority of students identify with left-of-center political viewpoints, and oftentimes it can be difficult to find differing perspectives on political issues. Last year, a conservative student, sophomore (then first-year) Alexandra Calloway-Nation, decided to create a safe place for students with similar political beliefs to share their views.
“A lot of what I’m trying to do with the Campus Conservatives Club is to create a place for people with ideas that aren’t the standard liberal ideas at Whitman,” said Calloway-Nation. “I’ve tried to create a safe place where people can come and express their ideas and share dialogues with other people and spread the word around Whitman that there are other people with varying viewpoints.”
Though Whitman emphasizes diversity and openness, many students like Calloway-Nation are surprised that those themes don’t carry over to political views.
“I have some friends who are afraid to come to club meetings because they don’t want people to know who they are and that they have conservative views,” she said. “When I was looking at Whitman, I was thinking about the great education I would receive, and didn’t consider the political dynamic on campus. I learned [about] that last year in my dorm having discussions with people who weren’t very tolerant of conservative views.”
To people who have recently come to Whitman, the political dynamic seems to be extremely confined. Martha Sebald, a junior transfer student from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a member of Campus Conservatives, said she has been surprised by the one-sided nature of political discussions.
“There’s no political diversity. I’m sure any conservatives are more closeted conservatives because it can be awkward here,” she said.
Campus Conservatives Club Opens Political Dialogue (The Whitman Pioneer)