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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

On the importance of conservative perspectives at Tufts

Although conservatives are a minority at Tufts, it shouldn’t prevent them from sharing their views.

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American flags viewed over the U.S. Capitol.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Daily Opinion section. I have learned a great deal about journalism, made great friends and written timely articles that have resonated with many members of the Tufts community. A large part of my Daily experience has also included butting heads on various issues with my fellow section members.

As my imprint on the Tufts community became more prominent, I began receiving thoughtful feedback from my peers, many of whom wished they had seen articles and viewpoints like mine earlier in their time at Tufts. Their feedback eroded the internal stigma I had long felt as a conservative on a liberal campus. Because I am the only conservative staff writer for the Opinion section, I began to have a feeling of responsibility to my peers to continue speaking my mind and publishing pieces in the Daily. But as my time at Tufts comes to a close, it is worth posing certain questions: are there other conservatives on campus, and are they willing to voice their opinions in the Daily?

At this semester’s DailyCon, the Daily’s semesterly training for new and existing staff, the Intentionality & Inclusivity Committee Chairs discussed their role within the Daily and yearly Diversity & Inclusion Report. At that moment, I became curious about the findings of past reports. No shock to me was this key data point from the spring 2022 report: nearly 50% of those surveyed felt that the Opinion section might not represent a wide range of viewpoints. However, it actually gets worse: the same report found that conservative voices on campus are few and far between. The data showed that just over 88% of the Daily’s staff “said they are very liberal, liberal or lean liberal” and only 0.85% of respondents said they are very conservative, conservative or lean conservative.

The 103:1 ratio of liberals to conservatives within the Daily should not deter conservative students from expressing themselves. The Daily and the Opinion section are dominated by liberal voices, yet the sincere feedback I have received only motivates me to keep writing. As of now, I am alone in this journey. But come May, the Opinion section will lose its only conservative voice. What will become of the section then?

For starters, conservative students should not be afraid to speak out. Liking Donald Trump or his policies should not warrant being called a racist or transphobe. Liking the Babylon Bee should not warrant instant pariah status. When I began writing for the Daily, I was extremely hesitant to assert my opinions because I thought I would receive immense retribution. Over time, my confidence grew, and I became less fearful of any potential consequences, whether that be lost friendships or harsh negative feedback. Sure, Tufts’ student body skews liberal, but that should not prevent the university from fostering a community of diverse perspectives. In the classroom, diverse perspectives should be prioritized over partisanship. We came to Tufts to learn how to think, not learn how to politicize everything.

Conservative students deserve to be heard. There have been times when telling people that I’m conservative provoked reactions such as “ugh, you’re one of those?” Behavior like this is unbecoming and immature.

All students should be willing to hear and learn from one another. Civil political discourse is healthy for everyone, as it allows us to build bridges within our communities and learn about new perspectives you otherwise would not have heard. More conservative voices in the Daily will expose people to new ideas and attitudes, ultimately facilitating a more comprehensive dialogue at Tufts. Diversity of thought allows us to challenge our own conceptions and grow as thinkers and as people.

I encourage all those who are afraid of openly sharing their views to do so. Maybe submit an op-ed on an issue you care about or join the Opinion section. Either way, the Daily and Tufts University have a responsibility to promote an ideologically diverse community and respectful culture where all opinions are accepted. I hope that I have sparked a flame inside the conservatives at Tufts. We are a larger population than meets the eye, and it’s time others take the next step and contribute their opinions to the Daily and to the wider Tufts community.

Tufts and the Daily should be an open forum for students to voice their opinions, no matter if they are ostensibly partisan. When the members of the conservative opinion column “MisCONceptions left the Daily to found the New England Spectator, it showed me that they felt defeated and let down by the system. Conservative students deserve to share their opinions, no matter how much disagreement they cause. Diversity of thought is paramount to a successful educational experience.