Campus ideology under fire · 05 September 2003


By Peggy Lowe, Rocky Mountain News
September 6, 2003

While legislators and a national conservative group begin work on the plan to bring more Republican ideas to play at Colorado colleges, a local group already is working on a similar plan.

The Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Golden, has founded the Campus Accountability Project, which seeks to work on free speech and ideological diversity issues on local campuses and to be a watchdog for the individual rights of faculty and students, according to its mission statement at www.i2i.org.

But its first focus is squarely on the University of Colorado's Boulder campus, which the group's director, Jessica Peck Corry, criticizes as one of the most liberal campuses in the country.

Corry, who earned her undergraduate degree at CU in 2001, also was among those meeting with David Horowitz at his June gathering of legislators in the Brown Palace.

The event that triggered Corry's project was a workshop in Boulder in April called "Stop Hate on Campus." Corry said she was denied entrance into the campus meeting of minorities because she is white. That, she said, is "segregation."

" I think it's pretty sad in 2003 that you have to teach student activists that segregation isn't OK," Corry said.

Corry met with CU administrators about the incident and they've apologized for the mistake the group made. The workshop's organizers were well intentioned and only wanted to have some sessions in which students could have intimate discussions about race, said Ron Stump, vice chancellor for student affairs.

Stump stressed the workshop was an anomaly and no one is ever shut out of a meeting because of ethnicity. Stump has met twice with Corry and said he will continue to work with her and explained that CU has many student groups with a variety of backgrounds and interests.

" We provide support programs for athletes, musicians, people of color. It's done so they can be successful in this environment. It's not done to be closed off to others."

Corry said she also is committed to bringing conservative speakers onto CU's campus.

" We think this project is so important because nobody was serving as a civil rights watchdog on our campuses. Nobody," Corry said. "We're going to be relentless. We're going to be on campus. We're going to talk to students.

" A good university should see its obligation to present a diversity of viewpoints to students, to challenge them to think outside the box," she said. "That's how we really learn."