Reacting against what they said is a liberal campus environment that is hostile to conservatives, nearly 70 students gathered on the Diag yesterday to “come out of the closet” and reveal their conservative beliefs.
As part of the day’s activities, pictures were taken of students holding a poster that stated, “I came out on National Conservative Coming Out Day.” Participants also received stickers that read “conservative pride.” Yesterday was recognized as the first national conservative “coming out day” by the Campus Leadership Program, a department of the Leadership Institute, a national organization committed to supporting conservative youth. Students at more than 30 campuses nationwide participated. The event was also sponsored by the Young Americans for Freedom, the College Republicans and the Caucus for Conservative Action.
Matthew Gage, an LSA senior and events chairman of College Republicans, said he coordinated the event in hopes of creating awareness of the conservative presence on campus while simultaneously recruiting new members for a wide variety of conservative campus groups.
“After talking with many fellow students here on campus, I feel like there is a greater conservative presence than one would expect,” Gage said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, top-tier universities – typically dominated by left-wing intellectuals – create hostile environments for these students in which to express their views. That’s why we are encouraging students to “come out” and not be ashamed of their beliefs.”
Many students who attended the event were enthusiastic about voicing their opinions and identifying themselves as conservatives.
“Amidst all this liberal propaganda – I think if you voice your opinion, especially as a conservative, you feel ostracized,” LSA junior Jason Reinglass said.
Many students said they felt relieved after participating in the event and were glad to find other students who shared their political opinions.
“It would be great if we could all come out freely without being targets of aggression from liberals,” LSA junior Kim Peters said. “I think this will help because people will see that there are other people with them.”
Allison Kasic, campus services coordinator for Campus Leadership Program, voiced her hopes regarding the outcome of the day’s events and how it would affect students and conservative student groups.
“Ideally, we’d like to live in a world where everyone’s political beliefs are respected, but at many colleges where most of the professors are liberal Democrats, it’s up to these students to stand up for their beliefs and spread the word,” Kasic said.
LSA junior Brandon Adkins, who is the website designer for YAF, also had high hopes about the outcome of this event.
“This is just the beginning,” Adkins said. “From here on out, it’s in the hands of the students who participated. It’s up to them to start expressing their views with other students.”
Adkins also stressed the purpose of the event as an opportunity to encourage awareness as opposed to creating negative feelings.
“This day isn’t really about trying to show the world that the University has a liberal bias; it’s really just about showing other people what you believe in.” Adkins said. “I think conservatives and liberals alike should take this (event) in open arms and embrace this.”
With a total of seven schools participating, the state of Michigan had the most schools involved in the event nationwide. Ultimately, the day was a success, according to the event coordinators, with nearly 200 University students signing up to receive more information about conservative groups on campus.
This event kicked off a series of national activism events that the Campus Leadership Program has planned for the near future.
In the upcoming months, a National Sovereignty Day, as well as a Save Christmas Campaign, are in the works.