Classes begin at Virginia Tech soon, so perhaps now is a good time for us to say a brief prayer for the son of Penny Nance.
He’s a freshman in Blacksburg and she’s the president of Concerned Women for America, a conservative organization that, in its own words, has spent more than 30 years “helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.”
Nance attended orientation with her son, whose intention is to study engineering. This we know from an outraged essay she subsequently penned for The Federalist, an online conservative magazine.
The screed’s title is “My Son’s Freshman Orientation At Virginia Tech Was Full Of Leftist Propaganda.” An introductory line adds, “Now that I have witnessed college propaganda firsthand, I refuse to ignore the indefensible and discriminatory behavior of the liberal campus bullies anymore.”
Here are a couple of the subtitles: “The Madness Begins” and “Taxpayers Funding Heavy Political Indoctrination.”
This is how Nance’s essay begins: “Are taxpayers funding academic institutions to indoctrinate our kids? That disturbing and irresistible question plagued me during the long drive home last week from college orientation.”
What so upset Nance that she felt compelled to write 1,268 words of higher education fear and loathing? There are a few answers to that one.
One was the orientation’s kickoff. The university, Nance writes, “made the stunning choice to open orientation by recognizing two Native American tribes on whose land the college was built (with the implication that it was stolen).”
How dare they?
Nance argues that it would have been more apropos for Tech to honor its fallen ROTC cadets, or the 32 people slain in the 2007 massacre. (Perhaps we should assume she missed the campus monument of remembrance to the latter.)
Another thing that triggered Nance is pronouns. Alas, progressive tentacles are so vast and far reaching through American society that even a humble figure of speech has become a conservative bête noire.
“The college filled the next two hours with speaker after speaker who introduced themselves with not just their names and titles but also preferred pronouns — as in, ‘Hi my name is Penny Nance, and I identify as she and her.’” Nance wrote. “At that point, I noticed all the new students’ badges contained not just their names but also their preferred pronouns because the school had made it part of registration.”
Nance adds: “Parents left the venue in shock.” Well, at least we know one of them did. Nance later notes in the essay: “As a mom, part of me wanted to load my son in the car and head up the road to Liberty University.” No surprise — that’s Nance’s alma mater.
There are a few ways to look at this brouhaha. One of them is with sympathy for Nance’s son. Moving away to college can be a stressful experience, even without a mother who publicly anguishes in a national magazine about her offspring’s chosen institution.
Another is, Nance might want to thank her lucky stars her son now lives in Blacksburg rather than in Charlottesville.
Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, was so notorious a free thinker that he rewrote the four gospels of the New Testament, removing the miracles Jesus performed because they conflicted with reason. When Jefferson ran for president in 1800, opponents reviled him as a “howling atheist.”
At least Virginia Tech bears no such historical stain.
On the other hand, Tech offers plenty of reasons for someone like Nance to view the university with heaps of suspicion and dread. Consider its student clubs and organizations, which seem heavily tilted toward liberalism.
For example, the campus has two different Democrat-oriented student groups. One is the Young Democratic Socialists of America; the other is Young Democrats at Virginia Tech. Meanwhile, the GOP has only one — the College Republicans at Virginia Tech.
It appears there’s also a heavy pro-environmental sentiment in Blacksburg. Consider: Greens at Virginia Tech; the Environmental Student Organization; the Environmental Coalition; and the American Water Works Association & Virginia Water Environment Association.
Meanwhile, among the hundreds of student clubs and organizations, not a single one bears the term “coal” in its title, or promotes burning that fossil fuel — I checked. (There is, however, a chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.)
Four clubs appear to be focused on mining. But — you guessed it — at least two and perhaps three of those appear to be liberal oriented.
The stated goal of The Bevlee Watford Society is to promote diversity in the mining industry. Another is the obviously liberal Students for Sustainable Practice. The third promotes robotic mining of gravel on Mars, presumably rather than on Earth.
We could go on and on. Virginia Tech has all kinds of racial and ethnic identity organizations for students and professionals. Not one has the term “white” in its title. There are chapters of organizations whose names hint at globalism, such as Model United Nations and the International Relations Organization. But nary a one for nationalists. Unfair, unfair, unfair!
Which brings us to the Squirrel Watching Club. Even that, it seems, has been infected with progressivism.
That’s not apparent either from the group’s title or the first sentence of its self-description: “The Squirrel Watching Club at VT is an organization committed to observing and loving all of the squirrels on campus here at Virginia Tech!”
But the next sentence gives it all away: “We are a group of environmentalists dedicated to the everyday antics of squirrels on the Virginia Tech Campus.”
Oh my God. What’s a conservative helicopter parent to do?