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Conservative Women on College Campuses: 'We're Not a Dying Breed'

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College can be a challenge for anyone, but especially when the culture is going against you.

"I think a lot of the time on campuses if you're conservative you feel like you have to be closeted because so many Millennials do tend to lean liberal, so if you don't agree with that viewpoint keep your mouth shut," said college student Sophia Czerniecki.

She's a student at Catholic University in Washington, DC and says even there, she's been a victim of liberal bias.

"My freshman year I actually received a lower grade on an exam than I expected because it was subjective and my political views didn't align with the person that was grading it," Czerniecki told CBN News. 

Conservatives Held to Higher Standard

Harvard student Grace Bannister says culture there is so different to hers that she feels the need to hold herself to a higher standard in order to be taken seriously.

"You have to be more articulate, more well thought out than your liberal peers because your words will be scrutinized, they will be examined, they will be held up in front of everybody. But your friend that's liberal will get the benefit of the doubt if they say more or less anything," Bannister explained.

"Liberal Group Think" at Harvard

She had only been on campus for a few weeks before experiencing what she calls "liberal group think."

"I went to my classes and I realized that a lot of my peers would have the same repetitive discussions about issues and no one was disagreeing with each other. They were just nodding and then I would say something like, 'I don't think that's right,' and everyone would get very confused," Bannister said.

As Bannister and Czerniecki worked to find community within their respective schools, they heard about a conservative women's group. The Network of Enlightened Women (NEW) started with a mission to educate and embolden the next generation of conservative female leaders.

"The NEW organization on my campus, that I am so honored to be president of, has really created this sense of community on campus for me and so many other girls across the nation to really provide this upbringing and group of like-minded individuals who really want to come together and help strengthen and embody the conservative message," Czerniecki said. 

Sharing Their Message in She's Conservative

"I think having this network of supportive friends, supportive women, in particular, is really helpful because they've shared a lot of the same experiences and have dealt with it before," Bannister said.

Both women wrote essays in a book published by the group called She's Conservative: Stories of Trials and Triumphs on America's College Campuses. Bannister says she hopes it will inspire others like herself to speak up. 

"There are a lot of young conservative women, but not a lot of them who want to stand up and say that about themselves," she explained.

Czerniecki says her message is more directed to the schools.

"People are so concerned with making sure that their campus is very culturally diverse but I think being intellectually diverse is something that they've kind of strayed away from."

Young conservatives on campus may be in the minority, but as they engage their peers, this next generation is working to bring back civility that seems lost in Washington and elsewhere. 

"Some of my best friends are fairly liberal...we disagree on almost everything and we can argue until we're red in the face and just come to the conclusion that, 'I love you so much, you are one of my best friends, but I fundamentally disagree with the way that you view the world,' and, 'I may disagree with you but I think we're both working towards what we think is a better future and we just totally disagree about how to get there,'" said Bannister.


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About The Author

Caitlin Burke Headshot

Caitlin Burke serves as National Security Correspondent and a general assignment reporter for CBN News. She has also hosted the CBN News original podcast, The Daily Rundown. Some of Caitlin’s recent stories have focused on the national security threat posed by China, America’s military strength, and vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid. She joined CBN News in July 2010, and over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to cover stories both domestically and abroad. Caitlin began her news career working as a production assistant in Richmond, Virginia, for the NBC affiliate WWBT