Loomis Chaffee prides itself on fostering diverse and inclusive discussions regarding a variety of issues in the world around us. However, in recent months, the administration has neglected a large portion of students in their pursuit of creating an intellectually diverse community. Conservatives on the Island have seen their political views marginalized by students and faculty alike, solely due to the administration’s concern with maintaining a sheltered environment for its students. Teachers and fellow classmates have publicly shunned and questioned my outspoken support for the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
Our community fails to value the importance of differing opinions, while condemning those who care to question. Ultimately, this indifference towards students’ opinions creates a secluded and unpleasant environment for everyone involved. Subsequently, conservative students are apprehensive about sharing their views in social settings, dorms and even classroom.
Furthermore, the school hesitates to hold open dialogue based on the stereotypes that conservative opinions are sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. The less ‘fashionable’ or ‘trendy’ ideas (or so it seems) headed by Republicans are evaded in every aspect of Loomis Chaffee life. Discussions led by teachers regarding politics, almost all, carry a liberal bias, leaving myself and others afraid to speak our minds.
Moreover, at such a crucial point in our nation’s history, it is frightening how polarized we as a community have been regarding this year’s election. My personal support for Donald Trump has not only “annoyed” my fellow classmates, but has also seemingly provoked them. Rash accusations fueled with remarks of racism, sexism and bigotry were branded on to me. While those students certainly control the right to speak their own opinions, the manner of these startling insinuations confused me. As I sought to discuss with those people the logic behind my endorsement, I only received more disreputable backlash and assertions of narrow-mindedness. Our inability to have civil, respectful discourse on something as elementary as a presidential election should concern faculty and students alike.
Each day, be it convocations or common good seminars, we are reminded to broaden our perspectives with differing opinions from our own. To preach is different then to practice and our school has failed to accomplish the latter. I love Loomis. Every morning I have the privilege of attending class with future doctors, lawyers, and politicians. Every afternoon I get to play sports with future world leaders. In saying that, it is upon the school to foster an inclusive, open-minded, and most importantly, respectful environment.
Failing to provide a second opinion is inevitably failing us students as eager learners. Following our conclusive understanding of different opinions, we are able to collectively regard the media and conceive our own opinions on such sensitive topics, especially during such a crucial time with the election underway. As preachers of the “liberal arts” way of learning, Loomis needs to understand the importance of differing opinions. Monopolizing our political ideals based on a preconceived bias negates any progress elsewhere.