The UW System has a great mission statement, part of which says the university should develop students’ “intellectual, cultural and humane sensitivities.” But this cannot be accomplished when conservatives are largely not speaking on campus, as Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, argued in a column for Right Wisconsin.
In his piece, Vos claimed that only a “handful” of the 50 top paid speakers at UW System campuses in the past year were conservative. He asserted this was due to the universities not inviting right-leaning individuals to speak.
As of now, there is no publicly available data to support or refute Vos’ claims. But drawing from my own experience on campus, I’m not able to point to even one prominent conservative figure who has spoken at least UW-Madison.
So Vos seemingly makes a legitimate point. Still, I’m not entirely sure it’s the complete fault of the university system. College campuses are generally left-leaning, so potential conservative speakers might want to stay away from a potentially hostile, politically opposite college crowd.
But Vos isn’t completely free of blame himself. When has he been a guest speaker at a UW System campus? He spends part of the year in Madison. Would it be that hard to speak at a campus event? He should encourage his Republican colleagues to appear at UW-Madison, possibly as a joint panel, where Vos and company can talk about Wisconsin politics.
If he is really committed to having a stronger conservative presence at Wisconsin universities, then he should help lead it.
Aaron Reilly ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in social work and economics.