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College Tour 2012

On the night of Feb. 1, Bay Buchanan, President of The American Cause, addressed a crowd of 150 predominantly liberal Colorado College students gathered in Gaylord Hall. Bay presented her speech "The Failures of Feminism," a favorite which she has presented on many college campuses.

Not surprisingly, the speech caused a stir at the liberal college, and spurred considerable passion.  The following article, written in the "Catalyst" Newspaper, gives a thought-provoking, albeit liberal, review (please note the highlighted material toward the end of the article).  (You may find the original article at http://catalystnewspaper.com/article/2012-02-05/respect-rage-inducing-republican)

Respect the rage-inducing Republican

February 3, 2012, Comment & Debate
By Brett Bustos, Guest Writer

I figured Bay Buchanan's talk, "The Failures of Feminism," would touch on issues that many CC students feel passionate about, but I did not expect the explosion of frustration, anger, and disrespect that erupted from those in attendance. Buchanan addressed what she saw as failures of feminism: high incidents of abortion, a hook-up culture that devalues personal relationships, and a sense of entitlement that values the desires of the individual over the needs of family. Much of what Buchanan said raised hisses, snickering, and cries of disbelief from the crowd. The incensed whispering of friends and neighbors was ever present while Buchanan spoke. But the real spectacle came with the Q and A that followed. Before long, all order was lost as students and even a CC administrator cried out in rage from their seats, disrespecting Buchanan and those who were waiting in line to speak.

Everything Buchanan said was greeted with vigorous headshakes of disagreement, gasps and a smorgasbord of other signs of dissension and even disgust. Yet anything an audience member said was greeted with whoops, hollers and enthusiastic applause. As the Q and A session dragged on far beyond its scheduled time, order, politeness, and respect were thrown out the door. Groups of students and some administration gathered in a corner, talking amongst themselves, laughing and congratulating each other on their own personal commentary. One student even engaged in a yelling match with Buchanan in which the student flat out said, "You are wrong," in response to Buchanan categorizing feminism. As I walked out of Worner I could not help but feel as if I had just left a boxing match rather than a speech.

Despite all the unrest, anger, disbelief and even tears Buchanan's speech created, she is one of the best speakers to have visited our campus. Why? Because she broke the cycle of groupthink that is rampant at our school. Buchanan holds a value system that is rarely heard at CC (despite being present in Colorado Springs). In our day-to-day lives we rarely encounter someone who holds such fundamentally opposing opinions and values from the vocal majority of CC. Can anyone imagine a student speaking out against same-sex adoption in a class discussion or claiming that there is a natural instinct in women to nurture and care for children? I certainly do not encounter such claims in the classroom often.

There is something Buchanan said that I think most people in attendance forgot in all their anger. And that is to listen. Listen to the opposing opinion and challenge yourself by engaging in a constructive discourse. Argue, debate and defend your beliefs, but strengthen your argument by listening to and considering what the other side has to say. There is nothing more harmful to discourse than a simple dismissal of the opposing beliefs. I respect that much of what Buchanan discussed has deep emotional meanings for many students and stirred up strong feelings. I also understand the desire to rise up from your seat and loudly declare your beliefs when someone is fundamentally disagreeing with you, but is that the most productive way to engage in a dialogue? No. Such conduct only creates aggression and makes for a spectacle. I commend the students that were able to ask Buchanan pointed and direct questions and then respectfully return to their seat and give the others in line a chance to speak. I, too, was frustrated with Buchanan's failure to fully answer questions but by no means does that frustration justify unruly impolite conduct.

I just hope that the behavior of some students and administrators does not discourage other speakers from coming to our campus and engaging in a discourse. Do we want to be a school that is known for shouting and walking out of a speech feeling so self-righteous and indignant that we are unwilling to even listen? Do we want to be known as a school that has to beef up security so as to diffuse potentially threatening situations? I certainly don't. And I don't think anyone here does.

As liberal arts students attending a school that prides itself on intellectualism, should we not be looking to challenge our accepted beliefs by hearing what others have to say? Did Buchanan say a lot of things that I found offensive and whole-heartedly disagreed with? Yes, she did. But I am glad she said them. It was nice to see students shake their head in respectful disagreement rather than in agreement. It was nice to hear someone challenge our school's widespread beliefs rather than affirm them. I hope student organizations continue to bring speakers on campus who challenge the majority opinion. I just hope next time we can take all our passion and direct it toward a more productive and polite discourse, revel in the opportunity to listen to a differing view point, challenge our beliefs and opinions and strengthen them by doing so.