A senior undergraduate student at Cornell University has been getting threats after sharing her conservative views on TV last year.
In an essay posted on The College Fix, Neetu Chandak said that her comments on “Fox and Friends” criticizing the description of a college course called “America Confronts the World” for its anti-Trump and pro-Obama rhetoric attracted threats on her life. She claimed that she was constantly harassed to the point that she feared leaving her apartment and finally sought therapy.
Chandak appeared on the Fox TV show in May 2017. She argued that the terms “xenophobic nationalism” and “pragmatic cosmopolitanism” in the course description, attached respectively to Trump and Obama, easily established negative and positive connotations and promoted what has been termed a “liberal bias”.
She said on air:
“If I were to walk into the classroom I don’t think I would feel comfortable expressing my views. I am somebody who likes to take a fair stance. I think it’s important that we are critical of the president but we also recognize the good that he’s done. I don’t think that would be encouraged in this class.”
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“When you have a professor telling you what is right and what is incorrect rather than having the students decide for themselves, to research beyond the headline and analyze the situation, I think they just take whatever the professor tells them and they are not able to see the indoctrination.”
While Chandak expected some disagreement from other Cornell students, she said that she was unprepared for the mental and emotional backlash.
She was particularly alarmed after receiving threats on Messenger, when someone expressed the intent to hurt her. The fact that the university’s College Republicans president was physically assaulted after Trump’s victory only worried her further.
Chandak explained in her essay that she did the interview not to take one of the two clashing sides, but only “to show the ridiculousness in comparing eight years of Obama’s presidency to the first 100 days of Trump’s term.”
In an earlier interview with The Cornell Daily Sun, Chandak said that she appeared on the show to shed light on the experiences of conservative and moderate students at the university, where “sometimes they feel like they can’t speak up in class with their points of views without getting shut down, without getting ostracized or without having the fear that their grade could be negatively affected.”
Chandak said that she is much better now. She argued that threats to safety must be reported, while hate speech must be dealt in “more respectful conversations.”
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