Two resolutions passed by the North Dakota Young Republicans at their annual convention in Bismarck this past weekend addressed key issues being debated nationally. The first, a “Resolution Affirming Free Speech with Emphasis on Educational Environments”, introduced by NDYR secretary Rory Somsen, speaks to the fact that college campuses have increasingly demonstrated an alarming amount of bias against conservative and Republican students.
It’s an especially relevant issue in the state right now, because a question has arisen with some policy changes the University of North Dakota is considering, and the possible negative effects on free speech. Their press conference on January the 14th went into some details on the changes; apparently there have been concerns with discrimination regarding the LGBTQ community, and the administration is looking to resolve them.
The problem is that often what’s defined as “discrimination” is really just people exercising their right to free speech. For example, if you hold to the basic biological realities – male is male, female is female, and say so, you could be accused of “hate speech” – or, discrimination, harrassment, “misgendering” etc. If that is UND’s definition of discrimination in their new policies, then free speech is threatened on their campus.
The second, introduced by NDYR National Committeeman and District 24 Representative Cole Christensen, is a “concurrent resolution recognizing parents as the chief stakeholders of the future and education of their children.” It points out that the ones ultimately responsible for any child’s education are the child’s own parents – not the state, not the federal government. This past year the controversy over Critical Race Theory in public schools has highlighted that parent’s rights to have a say in what their children are taught are often ignored or ridiculed. Leadership in the public educational system can assume that because they are the “experts”, they know what’s best for a child. In reality, parents are the ones who know their children the best and care the most about them.
Both of these issues – free speech on college campuses and parental rights in education – are essential issues that need to be resolved, considering that they are connected to some of the most basic freedoms we have as Americans. These two resolutions are a good start.