University isn't as liberal as you think
No matter where you are, you're never more than ten feet away from a conservative
by Rosie Benny
When I first got to university, I was under the general assumption that whilst everyone was from different countries, different cultures and spoke different languages, there were some things that all students were on the same page about. I figured that everyone around me was as social liberal as I was.
At least, that’s what I thought.
Last semester I was invited to an event run by the Christian Union entitled ‘Grill a Christian’ by a mate. Now I am not a member of the CU, but I have been to so many of their events I may as well be. It should also be said that members of the CU are generally the friendliest, most generous people on campus that I have come across.
The format of the event was as follows: a panel of third and fourth year students were sat at the front whilst the audience could either ask questions directly or text them in. The questions varied widely, from academic theological questions to simple ‘how to’ tips on prayer.
During a bit of a lull in the questions as everyone grabbed extra snacks, I decided to text in, “What is your opinion on women priests?” Different denominations of the church have different views on whether or not women should be priests. Generally, Catholics and the more conservative aspects of the Church of England do not allow or approve of women being priests. But I assumed that these student panellists, who couldn’t have been more than a few years older than me, would believe as I do: such policies are sexist and outdated.
Oh how wrong I was.
All three panellists explained in a polite, mild mannered way that they do not believe that women should be priests, insisting that all of the apostles were men and that women can be involved in the church in other ways that are just as meaningful as being a priest.
You can imagine my utter confusion and total outrage. What seemed even more shocking than this was that of the 30 people there, I seemed to be the only outraged one.
On the walk back home some forty five minutes later I was still reeling. How could it be that some many of those around me subscribe what I felt to be sexist view?
You can therefore imagine my surprise to find that the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and innovation Sam Gyimah recently crucified universities for being a ‘monoculture.’
Gyimah insisted that some ideas – whether they be views on Brexit or the far more sensitive identity politics – are deemed ‘unacceptable’ because they are not on ‘trend.’ You can tell by his use of the word trend that this guy understands us young people.
Granted, it is perhaps a little difficult to find a politics lecturer who is pro-Brexit but this is Scotland, a country that would rather leave the UK than the EU. That being said, I personally know a handful of students who are pro-Brexit. One of them an economics student. We have a Conservative society on campus and a corresponding Labour society for them to disagree with. The Aberdeen Student Parliament is brand new this year, encouraging students to debate ideas and be a member of mock political parties.
If Gyimah had spent any time talking amongst student he would have realised Universities are far more diverse than you realise. They are made up of people of so many different nationalities, different religions and different political persuasions. They are far from a monoculture and if you have an opinion on something I bet I can find someone who disagrees with you.