John Pence Commentary: Back to School? Be Aware of Indoctrination Over Education

by John Pence


It’s college orientation time again for millions of students. Sadly, many incoming students—and their parents alike—are discovering for the first time that campus administrators prioritize political indoctrination over critical thinking.

The examples are more abundant than ever.

This month at Virginia Tech, students were forced to list their preferred gender pronouns on their orientation name tags. Last year, Colorado State University offered an “Inclusive Language Guide” as a free resource for students worried about “saying something unintentionally that might needlessly offend someone.”

The indoctrination goes well beyond policing speech too.

In New Jersey, Rider University banned Chick-fil-A after administrators decided that the Christian-owned company was not “welcoming enough,” even though students had already voted in favor of allowing the chicken vendor on campus. And now campuses are banning burgers and plastic straws to save the world.

The list goes on.

Many students have begun to speak out against the suppression of conservative speech and thought that has become commonplace on campuses, and fortunately, they have a champion in President Trump who’s got their back when they call out liberal administrators for their bias. In fact, the President signed an executive order this spring that threatens the federal funding for colleges and universities who suppress free speech of any kind.

This is the greatest act of rebuke ever against the liberal establishment that took hold of most major institutions of higher learning decades ago, and will no doubt be applied aggressively by the Trump administration to stem this tide of political speech policing on a grand scale.

The current state of higher education should alarm all Americans, no matter their political leanings. Universities should be places where students learn the critical thinking skills they need to thrive professionally and to participate meaningfully in the democratic process — not a place for partisan administrators to impose their personal political views on malleable young minds.

This isn’t a new issue, but our colleges today are flush with more taxpayer money than ever before, and are increasingly institutionalizing partisan bias in a bid to indoctrinate America’s future leaders.

Campus indoctrination isn’t just a disservice to students, though. It also represents a threat to the health of our republic, which depends on an engaged and educated citizenry capable of thinking critically about important issues.

College campuses, of all places, should be a place for vigorous debate on all issues. When partisan administrators put their thumbs on the scale to indoctrinate instead of educating students, they deprive all of us of the innovative ideas those students might have brought to the table if they had been allowed to think for themselves.

In the meantime, President Trump is working to make sure that leftist indoctrination centers aren’t able to siphon taxpayer dollars from the federal coffers by pretending to be institutions of higher learning. The President knows that there is a fundamental difference between education and indoctrination, and while Americans are happy to contribute to world-class institutions that prepare the next generation of leaders and innovators, we must stop schools from suppressing free speech and promoting the political agendas of administrators.

College orientation and the start of the fall semester is a time for new beginnings for millions of students. Schools who choose indoctrination over education need some new beginnings of their own.

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Pence is a senior adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign. He is a graduate of the College of William & Mary, holds a law degree from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and a business degree from New York University. His views and opinions are entirely his own.





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