by Nicole Johnson, former CBLPI Fellow
Three months have passed since the historical election that spurred cancelled classes, a university wide vigil, and cry fests during class time devoted to talking about feelings at the University of Virginia. However, some progressive students have yet to figure out constructive and mature ways to deal with overflowing emotions. In the February 2017 Student Council Elections, these self-proclaimed “tolerant” students ruthlessly targeted third-year student Kelsey Kilgore.
Kilgore was considered the “outsider” running for student body president. As a former varsity athlete, member of the Greek community, and blonde-haired white woman, she embodied a fantastic target for disgruntled progressives. The only thing Kilgore had going for her (in their eyes) was her gender.
They attacked her for everything but her platform— her campaigning methods and spending, her activities on campus, her father’s political positions, and, best yet, wrote an anonymous message to the University Community declaring: “She has expressed her unapologetic support for President Donald Trump, as well as for “alt-right” provocateur Tomi Lahren.”
Progressives: A Duty to Slander
In a shallow and petty attempt to position Kilgore as a threat to diversity, these anonymous hypocritical cowards play around with some hot irony.
It is a sad time for our democracy when a student who holds moderate to conservative views cannot run on the basis of concrete ideas and an established platform in a student election. Progressives see it as their duty to slander any individual who holds different political ideals.
Kilgore’s platform was entirely overlooked by the University “elite” consisting of the University’s newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, and current members of student council. Kilgore stated on her campaign page: “I will improve student safety, promote academic initiatives, encourage transparency, and expand the Student Council conversation. It is my passion that any students who want to join in on the conversation become involved.”
There was no mention that Kilgore was nominated and selected to serve for the Meriwether Lewis Institute, a multi-year fellowship at the University of Virginia focusing on leadership at the University. No merit was given to Kilgore’s acceptance into the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University.
There was an immense lack of these positive narratives surrounding Kilgore’s campaign; the progressive student elites played dirty. And their candidate won.
Visitors to Grounds during the student council elections would have thought another national election was taking place due to the nasty rhetoric against Kilgore and arbitrary statements made against her campaign.
This was a university student council election! Not to devalue the importance of the University of Virginia’s student council, but I would bet that the great majority of students could not even tell you one thing the “governing body” did last year.
Conservatives on campus must continue to support each other by speaking out. The College Republicans at the University of Virginia and other conservative groups on grounds shied away from doing so.
The attacks against Kilgore were attacks against anyone that does not preach progressive ideals. It is dangerous. Levelheaded students on campuses nationwide need to wake-up and learn to think for themselves.
Nicole Johnson is a student at the University of Virginia majoring in Foreign Affairs.