Politics and college: should students be forced to be informed?

Election season is upon us and in the fall, America will pick a new leader.

College is all about figuring out what you do and don’t believe, whether it is on your own or taught in a classroom.

An author named Larry Winget once wrote to college students, “You need new, scary ideas that challenge your beliefs and expand your thinking. You need ideas that will offend you, stomp on your toes and make you mad.”

Winget said that college students need this in order to grow. They shouldn’t be offended by everything, and college should be a place where they should have to question their own set of beliefs.

But where does that challenge come from? Should it be from a class, or is it up to students to inform themselves on opinions that contradict their own?

“I don’t think it’s the place of an institution to pick and choose what beliefs get put into the education system,” said Dave Dulio, a political science professor. “I tell students all the time that my politics don’t matter, but I will give you the tools to become an informed participant.”

Just as every newspaper has a bias, every professor has a bias. Teaching liberals about Marco Rubio and teaching conservatives about Bernie Sanders would be near impossible to do without having bias interfere.

Even within each political group, there are different beliefs.

“There are a wide range of beliefs under both conservatism and progressivism. You have John Kasich and Ted Cruz who are very different,” Dulio said.  “Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are very different.”

Andrew Baker, a junior studying political science, said that he thinks students should educate themselves. He feels well-rounded in his understanding of his own views and the views of those who don’t agree with him.

“I do a lot of independent research,” Baker said. “Students should do their research and see another opinion other than what they’ve been taught their entire life.”

Ryan Fox, a junior studying public administration and German, said that he also thinks it’s important to do a lot of your own research.

“Even though I’m a leftist, I have taken time to understand how a conservative believes through research,” Fox said.

Instead of telling students what another side believes, Dulio said that schools should make an environment where students can learn through one another.

“I think it’s up to the institution to provide an environment for students to learn because there are some things that they will simply have to do on their own.”Dulio said

He added that it is good for students to have to defend their sets of views because it will make them understand things better.

“I’m a diehard conservative. I get my views challenged all the time,” Baker said. “I’m fine with having my views challenged and I enjoy defending them. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t agree with you.”

Fox also said that he doesn’t mind defending his views and thinks it has just further solidified his beliefs.

When elections roll around, it’s important to be informed and not just vote for who your friends and family like.