Young people at our nation’s colleges and universities are not as radical and left-wing as the media would have you believe, but it’s not for a want of trying by woke administrators and radical faculty members.
That’s the take of New College of Florida president Richard Corcoran and former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. They joined Peter Schweizer and Eric Eggers who guest-hosted Sean Hannity’s radio show this week. In the battle for free speech on campus, both Walker and Corcoran want to go on offense.
The problem, they tell Peter and Eric, is that most students on campus are more moderate but afraid to say so. Walker is now president of Young America’s Foundation, YAF.org. His organization brings conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro, Michael Knowles, Matt Walsh and Katie Pavlich to campuses and polls students on their political views, privately. The leftist reputation of most elite colleges reflects not so much the consensus view at those schools, but a loud minority that has become expert at seeming larger and intimidating other students into silence.
“It’s about getting to them,” Walker said. “The Left actually helps us do it by protesting our presentations, which won’t convert the radicals but will appeal to the curious, who want to hear these ideas.”
Corcoran joined New College as Interim President on February 27, 2023. He took over what was known as “the most liberal school in the state,” according to various college rankings. As he wrote in a letter to the Tampa Bay Times recently, his goal as president is to turn the school around. Commenting on a report by the American Association of University Professors on the school, he writes, “[such reports] shed extreme light on the polarized landscape taking place in higher education, and our position on classic liberal arts and educational freedom is a stance on which we will not yield.”
What do they say to high school students preparing for college? Should they just keep their heads down, and go along to get along and stay silent?
“Speak up,” Walker said. “You don’t need to be the lead debater but ask questions.” Ask “where is this coming from? I don’t have this information…”
The other thing is for alumni to bring pressure to bear on these schools by withholding donations or tying their giving to initiatives that encourage free expression and intellectual rigor.