What are some ways to combat bias on campus in 2019? According to one American University student, professors should admit any political bias they might have and call for tolerance in the classroom.
Riya Kohli, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs at American, writes in her campus newspaper The Eagle that the school’s affinity for politics has enhanced her experience so far.
“Students are encouraged to hold an opinion and defend it with rhetorical skills taught throughout their educational experiences,” she explains. “Issues arise, however, when professors are not transparent about their own views.”
“It’s no secret that AU and a multitude of college campuses across the nation are largely liberal, and that this dynamic can create a potentially hostile environment in the classroom,” she continues.
When students and professors alike make both subtle and overt jabs at the purported invalidity of conservative ideals, it alienates a conservative minority. If you are a student with pro-life views sitting in a class with 40 other students laughing along to a joke the professor made about being pro-life, it can become an isolating and uncomfortable experience.
The result? A classroom experience that can be negative because a group of students may feel scared to express their opinions.
“Professors, with their authoritative positions in the classroom, should lead by example by being clear about their own political views and promote an environment of tolerance in their courses,” Kohli argues. “Professors should support the students with unpopular opinions who have sufficient arguments to back their statements up.”
This transparency can help foster more healthy debates in the classroom, and ensure every voice on campus is heard, she concludes.
IMAGE: Artur Szczybylo / Shutterstock.com