By Abe Kenmore
At Guilford, diversity of race, religion and sexuality are all discussed frequently. Rarely, however, is the topic of political diversity raised. Does Guilford — a college that tends to emphasize the “liberal” in liberal arts — actually have many different political views?
According to many Guilford students, the answer is yes.
“I think all college campuses tend to lean liberal a lot of times, but … I think there is more diversity at Guilford than people recognize,” said senior Pamela Rhyne, President of Young Americans for Liberty, Guilford’s Libertarian club.
The diversity of beliefs on campus includes members of both major political parties along with those who do not fall neatly into one or the other.
“I think it is great, absolutely terrific, how much diversity we have on this campus in terms of political opinions and different creeds,” said junior Josh Weil, President of Guilford College Democrats. “I think the school is generally liberal, but I do not think that necessarily means Democrat. There are a lot of students here who are socially liberal … but they do not agree with the Democrat Party or the Republican Party.”
This wide diversity may be concealed, however, by a number of students who are simply apathetic about politics.
“I think the Guilford bubble is kind of a problem because when you’re at Guilford you seem very content,” said first-year Davia Young, President of the Guilford Peace Society. “Everything seems like it’s going fine, when it’s actually not.”
Students may also keep quiet because they feel that their political opinion will be unpopular with the rest of the campus.
“I think one of the big challenges (to political diversity) is people who think ‘you have to agree with me 100 percent,’” said junior Alexander Morales, Secretary Candidate of the North Carolina Federation of College Republicans. “It makes it easy to ostracize people … I am sometimes more reluctant to share political views because I don’t want to alienate people.”
Despite these challenges, however, political diversity continues to grow on campus. There are at least three new clubs on campus focused on issues of political activism and education — Guilford Peace Society and Guilford College Democrats, both old clubs that have been re-started this year, and Young Americans for Liberty, which was founded last year.
And even within these clubs, diversity of thought continues to manifest itself.
“When you talk to people one on one, you realize there are a lot of varying views … among people who put themselves in block groups like ‘Oh, I’m a liberal’ or ‘I’m a conservative’ or ‘I’m a moderate,’” said Morales. “There is actually diversity within these blocks.”
It may not always be obvious or well expressed, but it seems that political diversity at Guilford is here to stay