What It’s Like to Be a Conservative on a Liberal College Campus

Ryan Struyk, ABC News, April 25, 2014

When Luka Ladan started his freshman year at Vassar College in southeast New York, he started noticing a difference between himself and the majority of his classmates.

“We were talking about the upcoming election,” he said. “I was in a class talking about Republicans–Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. Whenever a name was mentioned, one kid would snicker and then five to seven would just laugh at the name.”

When the 2012 election finally rolled around, it didn’t get much better for Ladan when President Obama won and the campus seemed to erupt in celebration.

“[All the students] were just packed into a building. Everyone was cheering, ecstatic that they won,” he said. “I remember sitting in my room because I voted for Romney.”

The College Republicans dove into exposing this demographic this week by starting a Twitter campaign called #MyLiberalCampus, encouraging conservative students to speak out on their experiences.

“Sometimes I’ve questioned my beliefs because so many of my fellow students believe in something different,” Ladan said. “Am I wrong with believing this? Is there something wrong with me? I remind myself that you should show resolve, but it’s tough.”

And there’s no College Republican group at the 2,500-student school, he said, because GOP supporters could “never manage to” get the necessary 25 signatures.


This is a common experience in this age group: 66 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds voted for Obama in 2008 and 60 percent did in 2012–the largest numbers in decades, according to the Pew Research Center.


Several students pointed to the latest debate that will play a central role in the upcoming 2014 midterm elections: Obamacare.

“From all the talk on campus, if you don’t want this healthcare, you’re a bad person. But that’s not what we’re trying to say. We’re saying there’s a better, more financially responsible way to do it,” said [Northeastern student Megan] Haas. “They’re not thinking of their future. They’re not being responsible. Someone’s got to be the voice of reason.”

Ladan echoed similar experiences at Vassar College.

“There are classes where we talked about Obamacare in the class, and 90 percent of the class is obviously for Obamacare,” he said. “It’s tough to be confident about what you believe in when there are so many people stacked up against you.”



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