UMass wants to maintain its liberal identity

Diversity of thought is needed on campus

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

By Brendan Lally, Collegian Columnist

At the University of Massachusetts, we have a very diverse campus with people from all walks of life. There are people from all over the globe converging at this institution to grow, learn and become functioning members of society. This common goal is something that unites the student body, though we often forget that.

In 2018, our nation is divided by politics. It’s no secret that the majority of students on the UMass campus categorize themselves as liberal, which means, at least here, politics unifies us instead of dividing us. UMass has been a majority-liberal campus for a long time. The administration knows it, the professors know it and so do the students. But are these left-wing political views being imposed on the entire campus?

On any given morning, students can grab a coffee and a bagel at the Procrastination Station, located on the first floor of the W. E. B. DuBois library. The lines are usually about a five to 10-minute wait, which leaves plenty of time to glance up at the several flat-screen televisions hanging from the walls. But every TV just so happens to be playing the exact same station. CNN runs on those TVs all day, every day. There has yet to be a time where I’ve walked in and seen anything other than CNN on those screens.

Every informed and aware citizen understands that both CNN and FOX News have political agendas to fulfill. CNN’s agenda is liberal, and the network will seize almost any opportunity they have to criticize President Trump and the GOP. The same can be said for FOX: The network’s agenda is conservative and it will defend the president in almost any situation. Without completely succumbing to either station’s propaganda, the best way to stay informed is to take the information on each station with a grain of salt. So, why wouldn’t the Procrastination Station have both sides of the political coin equally represented?

There’s no doubt in my mind that if you asked employees at the Procrastination Station to change the channel to FOX or any other station, they would. Though it’s no surprise that CNN is the default news outlet on a liberal-leaning campus. Too often, people watch the news station that supports their own political beliefs without even tuning in to the other side. It gives them a sense of reassurance that their own political compass is spot-on and that the other side is utterly wrong. But what about those who haven’t found their political stance yet? It would be a shame if we formulated a lifelong philosophy based solely on the media we’re exposed to.

And it’s not just the Procrastination Station either – many speakers who come to UMass possess a left-wing ideology. When I attended the Feinberg Series lecture earlier this semester, Rev. William Barber II of the NAACP had no trouble projecting his compelling liberal views to a cheering audience. But the fact that left-wing voices are more frequently than not the ones preaching to these crowds is a little concerning. Maybe if students were shown another side of the political argument, they’d be able to make better-informed political decisions.

If the University focused a little more on a balance of opinion, instead of on solely-liberal ideology, maybe we’d see a lot more conservative voices come out of the woodwork. However, the University may not want that since, if more Republican students voiced their opinions, it could threaten the societal norm of a liberal campus. If the University can keep a majority of its students believing relatively the same ideology, then there would be no reason to divide.

But the University is mistaken: Difference of political opinion would not destroy our unity. As young adults, we should understand that politics doesn’t need to seep into every aspect of life and if it does, there’s something wrong. Just because two people have clashing political views doesn’t make them enemies.

At the end of the day, there is no room for hate at UMass. As long as there is respect, empathy and dignity present on both sides, there’s no way the unity of our UMass student body could be destroyed.

Brendan Lally is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]