It's not easy being a conservative on a college campus, let alone supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Daniel Bonevac writes for the Washington Post's "PostEverything."
Bonevac, a philosophy professor at the University of Texas at Austin, recently signed a letter with 145 other scholars and writers expressing support for Trump. But he writes, "For every Trump supporter who agreed to join us, several others declined, believing that coming out publicly in favor of Trump would harm their careers."
He continues, "I've been upfront about my conservative views for more than 30 years, since before I got tenure," and "I'm fortunate to teach at a university committed to diversity in all its forms, including diversity of thought."
But as a conservative in higher education, Bonevac says it has become increasingly difficult to express political opinions without being derided.
Why are so many professors politically liberal?
"The left has come to dominate college campuses over the past 20 years, and I can't blame anyone whose views are not already well-known for declining to become a target," Bonevac writes, adding that this year's election cycle has made political conversations even more challenging.
And, according to Bonevac, it's not just conservative professors who keep quiet on campus. He writes, "Periodically, conservative students seek me out, relieved to find someone on the faculty with whom they can talk openly."
Though "I try my best to keep politics out of the classroom," there are exceptions. He recalls how a liberal student recently "challenged my interpretation of why different regions tend to vote Democratic or Republican in presidential elections." The "constructive conversation" that followed resulted in "some refinements in my (and I hope his) understanding of the red-state/blue-state divide."
But those conversations are rare, Bonevac writes. "Most of the people who talk politics with me are those who agree with me or are on the fence" about who to vote for. "People who definitely oppose Trump don't even want to debate the issues with me anymore," he writes (Bonevac, "PostEverything," Washington Post, 10/12).
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