FILE - Leslie Odom Jr. speaks in collaboration with the UI Lecture Committee at Hancher Auditorium on Monday, Mar 27, 2017. Odom Jr. gained recognition and a 2015 Grammy Award and Tony Award for Best Actor for his work in the musical Hamilton. (The Daily Iowan/Lily Smith)

Jaimes: University Lecture Committee displays liberal bias

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The University Lecture Committee fails in their mission to host thought-provoking lecturers, often only hosting left-leaning political speakers.

By Marina Jaimes

marina-jaimes@uiowa.edu

According to its website, the goal of the University Lecture Committee is “To stimulate thought, discussion, and engagement, the University Lecture Committee presents an intellectually diverse program that brings the broader University of Iowa communities face-to-face with the world’s notable thinkers throughout each academic year.”

In its mission to host thought-provoking and intellectually diverse speakers, the committee has failed to provide students with more than one viewpoint, often only scheduling politically active leftist speakers. After sitting through a full day of classes, students — who supply a portion of funding through student fees, have yet another opportunity to attend an hour-or-so lecture of liberal talking points that their professors have already provided them.

While not only excluding conservative- and liberty-minded students, the Lecture Committee has failed to challenge liberal students who have rarely been exposed to an opinion that does not reflect their own. As conservative students are constantly challenged in the classroom, liberal students are denied the right to other ideas. They are comforted in their mentality and never encouraged to step outside of the liberal groupthink provided by universities.

Here are some examples of lecturers brought to the UI:

Lisa Lucas, the director of the National Book Foundation, tweets: “Is it too early tsend a letter to Santa? Because I know what I want, and it involves Trump and Supermax.”

Khzir Khan, Gold Star father. Known for criticizing President Trump at the Democratic National Convention.

RELATED: Khzir Khan encourages patriotism, unity in Englert lecture

Jane Elliott, former schoolteacher and anti-racism activist. According to the Journal Sentinel, “Diversity trainer and human-rights activist Jane Elliott said racism has increased under President Donald Trump, and his supporters were determined not to let a woman run the country for four to eight years after having an African-American in charge.”

#BlackLivesMatter activist Patrisse Cullors. As an organization, Black Lives Matter protesters were heard on the streets of Minnesota chanting, “Pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon.” As an activist, Cullors has described President Trump as the epitome of evil and even compared him to Hitler.

Zach Wahls, author and featured speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, tweets: “The best time to speak out against Trump was two and a half years ago. The second-best time is today.”

Angela Davis, social-justice activist, said, “Over the next months and years, we will be called upon to intensify our demands for social justice, to become more militant in our defense of vulnerable populations. Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero-patriarchy had better watch out … The next 1,459 days of the Trump administration will be 1,459 days of resistance: Resistance on the ground, resistance in the classrooms, resistance on the job, resistance in our art and in our music.”

If the Lecture Committee cherished diversity of thought as much as skin color, a broader range of students would benefit from learning the perspectives of others. The continued sheltering of college-age students from those who disagree with them establishes a childish and intolerant atmosphere. In a city known for having protesters block a major highway in retaliation to an election decision, the UI needs diversity of thought now more than ever.

 

 

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