• Flux Magazine

Go Woke or Go Broke: The Conservative Plight of College Students Today by Luke Gover

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

     I can remember vividly when all the times my parents, friends, other peers would jokingly tell me “don’t turn into a liberal!” before I entered Sonoma State University. I knew I was not the only one in my age group being told this, and even though it was a nonchalant phrase, there should be realistic fear that California State Universities encourage students to veer to the left or be left behind. I received my first taste of this concoction called “higher education” when I attended a course called Natural Hazards. This course is what many scholars consider a hard science, which leaves little room for interpretation or political ambiguities. Despite these facts, my professor would often throw in off-the-cuff remarks that were detrimental to the current presidential administration. I grew accustomed to the use of our commander in chief being utilized as comic relief. This strategy went insofar as to be accepted in the most professional of situations, almost as if it meant “okay I know we might disagree with this, but can’t we all agree our President is *insert anything regarding President Trump here*”. By anything regarding Trump, I mean anything, because being the fact-checking umpire at a university translates to right-wing extremists in these so-called bastions of knowledge. Although my Freshman year none of this bothered me too much, I was willing to forgo my honest opinions in exchange for a decent grade, except it was when I was forced to say first-year instead of Freshman I took things personally.


I worked many hours at the Recreation Center on campus in hopes to make ends meet, but it just was not enough, so I ran for Student Government. I managed to win that election but admittedly this was not something to tout too high as I ran unopposed, except I was very happy to be there at first. I was able to meet all of my fellow senators a couple of weeks before the academic year began for training. Part of the training was a retreat that took place at an Air BnB on beachside property. When I objected to the wastefulness of student fees (because that is how we fund our non-profit corporation), I was told it would not make a difference as the funds were already allocated. This was not the first time I felt as though fees were being wasted, and it always made me wonder what we had against coming under budget. I felt upset when were handed a list of words or phrases that were deemed inappropriate by our coordinator, and on that list, we were not to say “freshman” due to the word “man” being contained within the word. On the list from what I can remember was “homeless”, “powwow”, “hungry” and “rule of thumb”. The penalty would always be one abhorrent clap from whoever noticed. A small punishment but a deterrent. Knowing the iron-clad protection to the freedom of expression, I took this personally and voiced out against it, but we were more focused on making sure others did not feel uncomfortable. After training, I realized that showing my true colors could prove dangerous, and possibly lead to my impeachment. As a result, I decided to try to do my job the best I could by representing the students whenever possible, which luckily for me meant voicing the opinions on the far left. There were some successes within my tenure as a Senator, but I still view the experience as an utter failure to the student body.

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