Balancing Red and Blue Views: Paint the College Purple

Nathan Ackerly


Middlebury College is a school that touts its commitment to campus diversity and tolerance as one of its greatest strengths. However, the real make-up of our student body and the one-sided bias of our campus media is a glaring contradiction to what is said openly. Our student body and its political views are essentially homogeneous. This is mostly due to Middlebury’s flawed recruitment strategy, which ignores at least half of the nation and discriminates against the vast majority of American citizens through economic means.

The recent debate surrounding some offensive graffiti aimed towards the LGBT community brought out a nasty side to Middlebury’s usually complacent and apathetic student body. The first reaction was one of disbelief: “how could anybody on our campus hate gay people?” The second reaction was one of righteous anger. The weeks following the incident were full of accusations about which group of Middlebury’s students was responsible and therefore should be “re-educated.” The whole thing smacked of McCarthy’s communist witch-hunt, with those groups considered to be “homophobic” forced to vehemently pledge their innocence in the event or be forever socially blacklisted as homophobes.

On our primarily liberal campus, the person that expresses the “unsafe” view is usually ostracized. The majority of Middlebury’s hyper-liberal student body is simply intolerant of anything that does not jive with their point of view.
Just because somebody expresses misgivings about something like gay-marriage or the adoption of children by members of the LGBT community does not mean that they think members of the LGBT community are evil. However, should a person express this view in Middlebury, they will deal with a thirty minute sociology lecture from the nearest student activist during which other students glare at him or her with righteous anger.

It is this suppression of conservative views in Middlebury that causes tempers to explode and paint to be sprayed. My guess is that the perpetrator was sick and tired of not being able to have his opinions taken seriously, and thus resorted to shock value, probably writing something that he or she might not have really meant. While the crime is inexcusable and hurtful, its motive may not have been as sinister as we all think.

The lack of a healthy dialogue is caused by Middlebury’s biased recruitment policy. The majority of our student body is comprised of students from either New England or the Mid-Atlantic States. How many of these states have swung republican in the past few elections? Very few have. Middlebury recruits heavily in this region and almost not at all in others. The South, Southwest, and Midwest (made up of predominantly red states) are underrepresented at Middlebury.

The chief reason for the under-representation of the red states at Middlebury is our school’s abysmal financial aid policy. Don’t forget that the red States are also some of the poorest states in the union. There must be thousands of kids from rural towns that could make the cut for Middlebury academically, but would not be able to attend because they could not afford it and might not qualify for financial aid.

Since our overseas recruitment and financial aid are outstanding, our inability to adequately recruit within our own borders is inexcusable. We have an endowment of over 900 million dollars, and for some reason our administration have upped tuition, making it even harder for the working poor (of any race or ethnicity) to afford a decent education. As a direct consequence, our campus suffers from the lack of dialogue that a more conservative point of view would provide.



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