Liberal professors can hone conservatives’ beliefs

Clay Olsen

Fellow Longhorns: You go to a liberal university. Even if you are a freshman, this probably is not news to you. And if you are a freshman and have been to a liberal arts class already, you have probably sat through a lecture that makes this very apparent. Get used to it because nothing will change during your time here.

According to the Texas Ethics Commission, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis had received $17,088 from 179 contributions made by various faculty and staff members at the University as of Aug. 20. During the same time frame, the Republican candidate, Greg Abbott, received $3,664 from three faculty and staff members at the University. It also must be pointed out that two UT System regents gave a combined $175,000 to the Abbott campaign. However, these two individuals will not be the ones at the front of the classroom lecturing, so for the sake of this article, we can disregard their contributions.

I do not mean to sound incredibly frustrated with the overall political landscape on the 40 Acres. Most of the professors here hold a liberal mindset, but silencing their voices would be even more offensive to me. You see, I am a proponent of exchanging of ideas. Debate is how you sharpen arguments, and questioning your own principles is how you strengthen your beliefs, whether they be the same or new ones. One thing that worries me is what I have witnessed the past three years on this campus: accepting the liberal mindset is considered the most acceptable thing to do.

However, what concerns me even more is that this has also become the easy route to take. Some students will disregard the work of digging deep into issues and thoughts and instead take the views of those teaching them and regurgitate it. With no questioning of these received beliefs, they are being led down a path blind and without understanding. This does not help nurture their minds or establish a beneficial system of thinking.

What I do appreciate about my experience in liberal arts classes taught by liberal professors is that they attacked almost everything I believed in, and whatever they missed, I was trained to re-evaluate myself. What the professors want you to do is to establish critical thinking skills. They want you to examine the facts, hear the arguments and ask, “Why?” As a freshman on the other side of the political spectrum, I had a tough time taking the punches. However, I was thinking about things in ways I had never thought before, and new perspectives were being shown to me. There was nothing to be angry about. They simply told me their thoughts. I took their opinions for what they were worth, and I believe I am better for it.

So do not get angry or super-defensive about there being a majority of liberal professors on campus. Just understand that they may hold different views from you, and that is okay. In reality, it is the students who hold similar beliefs to the professors that have more work to do in challenging their own thoughts. No matter who is teaching you, learn to think critically.

Olsen is a finance senior from Argyle.