The fact that conservative beliefs are underrepresented is not the issue-they are, without a doubt. A small Massachusetts liberal arts school is bound to be disproportionately liberal; students applying here take that into account, as do potential faculty members. The question is whether the administration should care and whether there should be a concrete effort to increase awareness of conservative issues on campus.
The hope behind coming to an open, intellectually-stimulating college like Amherst is that your beliefs will be challenged and strengthened by those with opposing viewpoints. But how is this to be accomplished? Should more conservative students, in a twisted version of affirmative action, be accepted in an attempt to politically diversify Amherst? Should the same guidelines be applied to faculty hiring? The answer to these questions is a resounding no. Still, the question remains, is it up to the administration to “give a voice” to an unpopular and ostracized group? Obviously not. It is neither the administration’s place nor duty to broaden the College’s horizons politically. To bring in students who have decided on their political beliefs at such a young age is to discourage intellectual introspection and exploration.
If the student body feels that they need a stronger conservative voice on this campus, they will create forums and groups to accomplish exactly that-without administrative help. However, if certain groups, faculty or student-based, need to go outside of the school for funding for events with a decidedly conservative slant, they should be able to do so (and it seems one faculty member has already done so). Though the conservative viewpoint is underrepresented at Amherst, to manufacture a more “even” political environment is futile and unfair to both faculty and students.