UA-76843172-1

Conservative students open dialogue about being conservative on liberal arts campuses

Simren Shah
Associate Features Editor

On October 9, Point Park’s student newspaper The Globe, published an article written by Logan Dubil, a conservative student at the university. In his opinion article titled “Conservative student speaks against vulgar comments,” Dubil said he received hateful comments on the whiteboard outside of his dorm room for being openly conservative. The comments included, “You are racist” and “You can’t have an opinion.” 

Dubil said the comments were written in response to a political poll he had posted on his whiteboard. He said he did not express his opinion in the poll. In his article responding to the messages he received, Dubil said, “It makes me wonder…is speaking my opinion making me a political activist or a target?”

Like Point Park University, Millersville is a liberal arts university which conservative students also attend. 

Halle Mosser, MU senior, identifies as conservative. She said her openness about her political affiliation “depends on the place.”

“I was just in Florida this past week and I passed a whole bunch of people who had their ‘Make America Great Again’ hats on and all that stuff and I’m like ‘yes, love your hat!’ Here I don’t talk about it,” Mosser said.

College students are encouraged to be politically active, especially with the upcoming election, but are are conservative views unwelcome at Millersville?

“Lancaster county is a very conservative area,” Mosser said. Yet, she hesitates to share conservative views on campus.

She talked about a time when she shared a post via Facebook from a conservative group on campus.“No one said anything to my face, but they were quick to comment on my opinions on my Facebook post,” Mosser said.

“Maybe it’s because conservatives kind of allow it because they don’t want to get into that area, but if a conservative were to share something about gun control or abortion or something like that on the internet or even say it, it’s going to instantly come under attack,” said Mosser.

Mosser says she notices liberal views being displayed in a way that she would not feel comfortable doing herself.

“I was just walking around McComsey and I saw somebody had a ‘Nasty Woman’ sticker on which is a Hillary Clinton thing. Now I feel that if I walked around with a ‘Women For Trump’ shirt on it would not be received in the [same] way…” Mosser said.

“I think there is a lack of maturity with people being able to converse in politics,” Mosser said.

Mosser kept up with various news sources and debates during the 2016 election, however she said “this time around I don’t think I could have that conversation.”

“I have an acquaintance who told me I’m the most likable republican, the only likable republican that he knows, which is kind of a sh*t move, kind of unnecessary to say,” said Mosser.

Mosser said being conservative does not align with “automatic assumptions.” 

“Not everybody that’s a democrat is waving their political d*ck around and not everybody that’s republican is a stingy, wealthy white person,” said Mosser. As an African American Studies minor, Mosser also disagrees that conservatives are racist.

Mosser said she has not experienced anything to the extent that Dubil experienced. However, Dr. Adam Lawrence, faculty advisor for College Republicans and College Democrats, provided an example of an incident that occurred on campus last year.

Lawrence said, “Last year, Jewish students were the target of hate-filled attacks in student housing on campus. One of those Jewish students was president of Hillel and College Republicans.” 

Nicholas Romano, President of MU’s College Republicans, also offered his perspective on being a conservative student at MU.

He talked about an instance where he and other College Republicans received hate via Facebook for posting a photo of their group attending an event together. They were “saying mean things toward us, toward the women in our group, toward the whole group in general saying stuff along the line that we’re white supremacists…”

Romano said his organization declines to respond to hateful comments directed at them because it keeps them away from debates that could turn nasty. He said he does not affiliate himself with the negative stereotypes surrounding conservatives such as sexism and racism.

Romano said that having open discussions about politics is “better for everyone.” “Everyone has that idea of liberal arts education meaning liberal spaces,” said Romano. He implied that younger people generally are more liberal despite Lancaster being a red area. 

“As republican president, we try to get people talking. I go to the democrat club meetings. I just love to hear the other side and I love to talk with people although it might not be in the classroom, that’s a different thing,” said Romano.

While there are certainly bad people on both sides of the political spectrum, Mosser and Romano expressed that not all conservatives align with the stereotypes attached to their party. Conservatives are not often thought of as a minority, but both students expressed the view that inequalities in freedom of political expression exist.