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“Coming Out As A Conservative On Campus”

“Coming Out As A Conservative On Campus”

Last Monday I appeared as a guest of The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization to give a talk at my alma mater, Hamilton College.

AHI is not affiliated with Hamilton. To the contrary, as discussed here before, Hamilton would not allow AHI on campus after the left-wing faculty who control the school objected, as detailed in my post at College Insurrection, Western Civilization driven off campus at Hamilton College.

Nonetheless, AHI has become a force on campus not only at Hamilton but increasingly elsewhere, through its scholarly activities and student outreach.

My talk was titled “Coming Out As A Conservative On Campus.”

There’s a little inside baseball I need to explain for you to fully understand the discussion.

I make reference to Kirkland College, Hamilton’s sister school across the street (literally) from the original Hamilton campus.  Kirkland was founded in 1968 as an all-women “alternative” type of college, with a heavy focus on the arts.  Kirkland and its artsy/hippie girls stood in contrast with the rather staid Hamilton all-male student body and curriculum.  It actually was a wonderful mix.

We always were convinced that “Emily Dickinson College” to which the frat brothers in Animal House made a road trip, wherein a “Fawn Liebowitz” was killed in a kiln explosion, was modeled on Kirkland.  The Kirkland girls loved their clay, too.

Kirkland could not survive financially, and it merged with Hamilton in the fall of 1978, my sophomore year.  Even after Kirkland officially was gone, the Kirkland side of campus retained its identity in practice. A few memories of Kirkland are maintained at the Hamilton website and also at a Kirkland alumnae website.

I also referenced a boycott organized against Jack Greenberg at Harvard Law School, indicating it was a year or two after I graduated. Turns out it was while I was still there, here are some links to the controversy.

Now for the rest of the story.  My apologies for the audio, which was made with a handheld recorder and did not pick up the questions from the audience very well. (Video also here.)

Update 4-5-2013 The AHI has posted some photos on its website of the post-lecture reception and dinner:

Dinner at Alexander Hamilton Institute for William Jacobson Cornell University Law School

Student Guests at AHI reception for Law Professor William A Jacobson Cornell University Law School


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“Coming out as a conservative on Campus” = The new definition of “Coming out of the closet”.

    Mary Sue in reply to Paul. | April 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    It’s exactly that without the welcoming arms of MSNBC hosts anxiously awaiting anyone who dares step foot outside the closet. If they’re waiting, it is to slam the door hoping to inflict some bodily harm in the process.

    This was a great presentation, I really enjoyed listening.

    Sadly it is not a joke. It is really that stressful and full of risk.

Thank you, Professor Jacobson. That was a great talk.

My question about this is if there is any hope for a change in faculty behavior and a change in curriculum in the liberal arts. I’m not sure there is given that the current faculty hires the younger generation and due to the oversupply of PhD’s they have their choice of the most liberal, most identity-politics-obsessed, most environmentalism-obsessed, most marxist academics.

    Liberal arts?

    Oh yeah, those classes that students pursuing STEM and business degrees have to take for their General Studies requirements. Useless busywork.

    What’s that? People actually MAJOR in those things?

    Anyone who does that will be up to their eyeballs in student loans that they’ll never be able to repay. Kinda hard to service xx,xxx in loans when you’re making x.xx an hour as a barista at Starbucks.

    Wait!!! Is that why they call it a BA degree…for Barista?

[…] FACING UP TO BIGOTRY: “Coming Out As A Conservative On Campus.” […]

I issued a tweet yesterday based on this article.

While it only garnered 1 RT and 1 Favorite, this coming out of the conservative closet meme is powerful, in my view.

[…] A. Jacobson who spoke on “Coming Out As a Conservative on Campus.” Professor Jacobson recently blogged about his discussion on Legal Insurrection and his talk can be heard […]

[…] “Coming Out As A Conservative On Campus” Last Monday I appeared as a guest of The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization to give a talk at my alma mater, Hamilton College. […]