Liberal and Conservative Campus Culture Wars Come Home for Summer

Political discourse has parents and students clenching fists until school is back in session.

August 1, 2017 10:46 am
NYU students protest to make their university a "sanctuary campus" after a Muslim student prayer room was vandalized.
NYU students protest to make their university a "sanctuary campus" after a Muslim student prayer room was vandalized. (Pacific Press/Contributor/Getty)

College students engaged in both left and right-leaning culture wars on campus have brought the debate home for summer, the New York Times is reporting. Parents and students from all backgrounds are struggling to make nice under the same roof until classes resume, with kids wondering if their parents are stuck in decades past, and parents wondering what those tuition dollars are really paying for. Here are a few highlights. Can you relate?

Jennifer Lin is a senior at Swarthmore College; a self-described liberal and supporter of Black Lives Matter, she and her mother Wei Xue, who volunteered for the Trump campaign, go head to head on issues involving racism.

“Asian-Americans are touted as a model minority, which has sheltered us from some of the effects of modern-day racism. Coming to Swarthmore has helped me diversify my friend group, which is really good. In part because of Black Lives Matter, I understand there are pervasive negative stereotypes about black people,” Jennifer told the Times, noting that she doesn’t like fighting with her mom, though they sometimes disagree. “In many ways, she’s a role model to me.”

Wei says college “definitely” changed her daughter’s views, though she does respect them, and she “hopes she’ll respect mine.”

“I totally understand why she thinks all these beautiful things: that everybody should be equal and rich people should give away all their wealth to the poor. In China, I was told that was the way society should be. But since I’ve lived in the United States of America for over 20 years, my view has changed,” Wei told the Times, clarifying that regardless of differing political views, she loves her daughter unconditionally. “As a mother, I love my daughter no matter what.”

Anti-abortion activists demonstrate near Notre Dame University in May 2009.
Anti-abortion activists demonstrate near Notre Dame University in May 2009 after the university invited then-President Obama to deliver the commencement address. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Nicholas Duffee is a sophomore at the University of Chicago, and disagrees with his mother Livia, a New York City lawyer, on abortion rights. Nicholas says that after converting to Catholicism, abortion has become “very important” to him.

“I’ve adopted a traditional Catholic or conservative approach to that issue… My mom doesn’t like it. She would definitely describe herself as pro-choice,” Nicholas told the Times, recalling an argument they had about whether or not Planned Parenthood was engaging in illegal activities, and the conversation ended “very badly.”

Livia says Nicholas is a passionate young man who sees the issue of abortion as “black and white.”

“He can’t see introducing anything else to that analysis. I’ve tried,” Livia told the Times. “I’m counting on his thoroughness in researching new ideas and hoping he changes. He is very respectful of my views. I’m, frankly, the one who gets more angry.”

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