She tried to voice her opinion, but was immediately told to “’shut up” and known as “weird” because some of her opinions agreed more with those of President Donald Trump, rather than the majority of the liberal students her age.
“I go to school feeling embarrassed and scared because of what I believe in,” said Vasvi Patel, a 19-year-old student at De Anza pursuing a business major.
Many younger generation students do not agree with the common liberal values of a college student, but are hiding their beliefs due to fear of facing public ridicule, according to an article in a recent New York Times article.
The author and an award-winning journalist, Marin Cogan interviewed many students at various college campuses, including the president of the Harvard Republican Club, Kent Haeffner.
“There’s a good chunk of closeted conservatives that feel very suppressed,” Haeffner said. The article describes republicans like Patel and Haeffner as closeted conservatives, or people who feel that their opinions are not being heard or represented just for having conservative values.
This idea of closeted conservatism came about because majority of the college campuses and students seem to openly fight against people who are even slightly republican, just because they hate Donald Trump.
“Being republican in today’s world is something that’s synonymous with supporting Donald Trump, and people hate the man. So of course, they hate us,” said a 34-year-old professor who wished to remain unnamed, but empathized with many of the students.
One of the professor’s students overheard the interview with the professor and joined the conversation since he agreed with the professor.
Dan Brown, a 21-year-old De Anza student pursuing a major in Biology, said that he has a sister who attends U.C. Berkeley and she almost got jumped by a group of people at night once, just because they knew that she was a Republican.
Brown said that he understands why people would be mad, “but a lot of republicans don’t even agree with Trump.” He continued,
“People have the mindset that just because we are right-winged, we like the Muslim ban, or that we want to build the wall too.”
Students like Brown and his sister go to school in fear, not just because their beliefs are questioned and disapproved of, but also because they constantly face physical danger.
But universities are not doing much about this because majority of the younger generation are anti-Trump and there are too many liberals who cannot discriminate between being a republican and being a Trump supporter.
Students go to school with fear and tension that they feel suppressed, in a society where we have free speech.
“You would be surprised at how many conservative people there are, that do not agree with everything Donald Trump says!” said Patel. “But liberals seem to be the only ‘right’ people, so why do our opinions even matter?”
Graphic of a Stanford University study: