One of the biggest misconceptions about VASSAR is that it is not liberal. It most definitely is! VASSAR has always been known for its strong academic programs, but what many do not realize is that these strong academics include diversity initiatives, social justice movements, and overall liberalism.
VASSER students are encouraged to become active members of at least one club in order to strengthen their student experience. Some examples of clubs at VASSAR include multicultural groups, political organizations, and professional development opportunities.
Many people believe that attending an exclusive college will prevent you from being exposed to different ideas, but this couldn’t be more wrong. At VASSAR, we aim to educate our students as fully rounded individuals who can interact with all types of people. This includes having open discussions about controversial topics and learning how to listen to other points of view.
Faculty and staff at VASSAR work hard to promote inclusivity and understanding of diverse cultures and viewpoints. Many times they speak openly about politics and current events, creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed and understood.
There are many protests held on campus
Many students at Vassar take part in various protest groups around the world. Some of these include environmentalist groups, anti-war movements, and even feminist organizations to address issues such as gender inequality.
There you have it! That is just some examples of how liberal Vassar is. If anything, Vassar encourages student activism and participation in social causes.
It also shows that not only does Vassar teach students about different cultures and philosophies, but they also promote an open dialogue about controversial topics.
There are many conservative students
At Vassar, there is always at least one student or group of students that are very liberal. They make it known constantly through social media posts and speeches who they vote for in elections and how liberal their beliefs are.
Some examples of very left-leaning groups include The Feminist Club, which encourages women to speak about feminist issues, and the Queer Student Union (QSU), which offers events and services such as counseling for queer students.
There’s also an organization called “Change or Die!”, which raises money to help fund organizations that promote environmental change. Many people join this organization so much that it becomes hard to tell whether those joining are doing it because they really care about saving our environment or if they just want to be part of a community that values sustainability.
These types of groups show that not only do some students feel strong about certain ideologies, but they are able to connect these ideas with improving the world for other people.
There are many liberal professors
Many people associate prestige with being more liberal, but that is not always the case at prestigious universities like Vassar.
Vassar has some of the most well-known alumni in America, including President Trump, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and actor Ashton Kutcher.
However, despite their famous status, few if any of these individuals ever experienced much diversity outreach while they were students here.
This lack of diversity was very prevalent before 2007 when Professor Emeritus William Ogden became Vassar’s first black professor. He still teaches here today!
He says he never received one bit of encouragement to pursue an academic career while he was a student here. It took years for him to realize how important his education would be as a tool to help him succeed in life.
More recently, there have been several initiatives aimed at changing this culture, starting in 2011 when Professor Christina Baldwin founded VASSAL (Victim Assistance Support Systems After School) which offers free services to Vassar students after school and during weekends.
Since then she has helped over 200 young survivors get through difficult times and make changes to improve their lives.
There are many conservative professors
At Vassar, there is never an absence of debate or discussion. Many topics that get discussed at Vassar can be categorized as liberal, neutral, or conservative. Some examples include discussing whether capitalism is better than socialism, if abortion should be allowed, if affirmative action is ethical, and what social justice policies work and do not work.
Many students perceive these debates to be very political but they are only discussions about ideas. They are not about trying to influence others into believing a certain way. This may surprise some people because Vassar is known for having strong academic programs so it is assumed to be more politically active.
Academic departments such as English, history, psychology, sociology, and economics all have significant amount of politics involved. In fact, studying any field with depth requires you study both sides of every argument!
It is important to remember that most academics use logic and reasoning to defend their positions. These professionals often take great pride in being able to convince other people of things so they do not shy away from sharing their beliefs.
Some students make the mistake of assuming everyone agrees with them so they do not try to talk to anyone who does not. It is common to feel isolated when you go to school here and this feeling grows even stronger during times like finals when no one seems to know anything.
A good rule of thumb is to assume your fellow student has just as much passion for his/her major as you do.
There are many students who are not politically involved
Let’s look at some examples. Almost every student is familiar with the names of each college community club, but very few know what political stances these clubs represent. Some may have heard rumors about certain groups having strong Republican or Democrat affiliations, but that is only true for a small percentage- those in powerful positions such as senators and presidents!
Most social organizations at VASSAR promote diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion. Many advertise free snacks and drinks during events to draw new members. These advertisements almost always include pictures of people of different cultures eating something delicious so why not be a part of this culture and join their group?
By and large most students do not get actively involved in politics until they attend high school. When they do it is mostly because of media influence or someone else talking about an issue. Students come from all over the world, so it is easy to find people with similar cultural backgrounds. Therefore, developing friendships outside of class is a way to learn more about yourself and others.
There are many students who are politically involved
Many people at Vassar take part in political activities, whether it is marching with an organization or attending a rally or meeting to discuss issues. Some even go as far as running for student government or holding positions such as treasurer, president, etc.
Many things contribute to this active involvement. For one, there is always something going on somewhere around campus that someone can join. Almost every event has a free entrance so anyone may come and participate without paying anything!
Another reason why there are so many politicized individuals at Vassar is because of the way classes are organized. Most professors allow their students to ask questions during class, which often includes asking about politics or what they learned in previous lessons. This gives some students the opportunity to get more information beyond just what the teacher said in class.
Some courses also have assignments related to current events or studies of politicians or ideologies. These give students the chance to explore the topic further and connect ideas together.
There are some similarities between the students and professors
At Vassar, there is an internal student organization called “Vox” (Latin for voice) that acts as a platform to promote liberal issues. Vox members organize events with speakers who agree with their beliefs, work together to ensure every student can access health care, and create groups oriented around political ideologies.
Many of these groups focus on current affairs, such as politics or social justice. For example, one group encourages students to read either Marxist theory or Freudian psychology depending on if you believe capitalism has negative effects or not!
Other groups encourage students to explore different religious philosophies, study ethics related to gender, learn about racial equality, and more. All of these topics are geared towards creating awareness in marginalized communities that may be ignored by others.
These groups also offer help and resources for those in need, whether it is through financial aid or direct services. For instance, one group organized a sleep-out to raise money for refugees coming into America.
There are many differences between the students and professors
Between liberal and conservative at Vassar, there is no clear definition. What makes someone consider themselves as more liberal than others is dependent upon their personal values and beliefs.
Some people may refer to student groups that promote social justice or racial equality as “liberal” but these things are not universal practices. In fact, some schools with much higher attendance rates of liberals have very limited resources for minorities.
Many large universities spend money on expensive football teams instead of scholarships for underprivileged kids. The rich kids in the school can easily cover the cost of tuition so why should they?
In addition to this, most major sports leagues are dominated by wealthy, mostly white men which does not help create an open environment for marginalized peoples. This goes beyond just college sports either.
Another thing that comes down heavily on the side of liberalism is capitalism. People who argue against socialism usually believe in free markets, where companies are allowed to exist without regulations.