Republican students can fall into “spiral of silence” in class discussions

Madison Rexroat

Sure, Republicans won the presidency and often enjoy the privileges of sticking with the status quo, but that’s not always the case on college campuses. College atmospheres tend to lean toward the liberal side, but where do conservative students fall in the mix?

Whether Democrat or Republican, the current political climate has polarized and intensified political discussions to the point where almost everything becomes an argument. Falling into the spiral of silence – where you hold back your thoughts because you think you’re the only one thinking them – can hinder classroom discussions and create unresolved tension among college communities.

At a school like UK, Republicans aren’t typically the minority, but they usually are among other campuses in more liberal areas. Classroom discussions on sensitive topics can cause rifts between student-Democrats and student-Republicans, where if either side feels like they’re a minority or that their views will simply be dismissed, they might be more reluctant to contribute their thoughts.

Social media can also play a role in this spiral of silence. Depending on who you follow, social media feeds could be saturated with exclusively liberal or conservative ideas whether they correspond with your own ideas or not (and whether they adequately represent the population or not).

To read the full article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, click here.