University of Virginia senior Emma Camp, a self-described liberal, in a Monday New York Times essay blasted campus cancel culture.
Camp, who "welcomed an environment that champions intellectual diversity and rigorous disagreement," instead found "strict ideological conformity" at her university.
"Students of all political persuasions hold back—in class discussions, in friendly conversations, on social media—from saying what we really think," she wrote.
Those students include Camp herself, who "became a little less likely to speak up again" after classmates got angry at her for saying non-Indians can criticize Indian ritual suicide.
And "the consequences for saying something outside the norm can be steep." Many students fear "lower grades if they don't censor themselves." Camp herself has "lost friends and faced a Twitter pileup"—just because she "implored students to embrace free expression."
Many students are afraid of that kind of reaction, Camp said. That's why universities "must do more than make public statements supporting free expression"—they need to foster a "campus culture that prioritizes ideological diversity and strong policies that protect expression in the classroom."
Unless colleges allow students to be "challenged in ways that allow us to grow," Camp warns, students will never be able to "experience the full benefits of a university education."