All students deserve representation

By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer

It’s no secret that Baylor and its student body have a reputation for leaning conservative when it comes to politics. Baylor University itself has a ​​history of racism and conservative policies that have thankfully changed throughout the years. But, there is a significant amount of liberal students on campus who deserve outlets for their opinions as well, yet they don’t seem to have the same sorts of opportunities to get involved that conservative students may have.

Last semester, Turning Point USA and many other clubs aimed at engaging with conservative students tabled outside the Bill Daniel Student Center, like Young Conservatives of Texas or Bears for Life, an anti-abortion group. I was handed several business cards promising abortion pill reversals by Bears for Life on my way to class last semester. On the other hand, I have personally never seen a single liberal or progressive group being vocal or advertising itself in the same way.

According to Connect, where a broad selection of student organizations can be found, there are far more conservative groups than liberal ones. There are the Bull Moose Society (which takes its name from the Bull Moose party begun by former President Theodore Roosevelt), the College Republicans at Baylor, the Network of Enlightened Women, Turning Point USA, Young Conservatives of Texas, Bears for Life and more. These groups advocate for “traditional values,” individual freedoms, strong national defense and more.

Not counting causes like climate activism/environmental activism — which, like public health advocacy clubs, should be bipartisan — the only progressive groups listed on Connect are the College Democrats, Texas Rising and the Young Democratic Socialists of America Club. There is clearly a large imbalance of groups for liberal-minded students who may want to be involved with women’s rights, anti-racist causes and more.

College is a time in people’s lives when they’re exposed to new ideas for the first time through meeting people from all across the world or those from different economic or racial backgrounds. It’s important that engaging in different ideas and opinions is encouraged — and especially that it’s easy and accessible to do so. All students deserve to feel seen and represented on their campus and not like exceptions or alienated because they don’t align with others’ opinions.

As a university and as a student body, I think we can encourage more people not to be afraid to voice their opinion, even when it may be unpopular, by chartering new student organizations, inviting diverse speakers to campus and simply being vocal. All students should be able to feel comfortable enough to speak their mind on their college campus, and it’s on everyone to create an environment that fosters open discussion.