Category Archives: News

Senator Bernie Sanders delivers 58th annual Green Lecture

Sanders delivers the 58th annual John Findley Green Foundation Lecture inside Westminster’s Champ Auditorium on Sept. 21. Members of the Churchill Singers and select students and faculty members sat onstage during the speech. PHOTO BY JIM MALVEN.


U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., delivered the 58th annual John Findley Green Foundation Lecture at Westminster College on Sept. 21. Sanders is the longest-serving independent in U.S. Congressional history and ran for the Democratic party nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Young conservative advocate promotes open, respectful dialogue in first event of 2017 Symposium

Dillon speaks in Hermann Lounge on Wednesday, Sept. 19. PHOTO COURTESY OF LONE CONSERVATIVE. 


Conservative journalist and political commentator Kassy Dillon spoke to an audience of Westminster students, faculty and board members on Wednesday, Sept. 19, in the first event of the 2017 Hancock Symposium.

In her talk, entitled “Campus Conservatism and Social Media,” Dillon discussed issues regarding conservatism on college campuses and explained how social media can be used as a tool for conservative and non-conservative activism. She also promoted open, respectful dialogue among all peoples on all subjects.

Dillon defined conservatism as “the idea that a well-ordered government is necessary to a well-ordered society, but is not the solution to the problem of society.”

She added, “Conservatism is based on the ideas of conserving the values of the Constitution. Government exists to defend the right of the people, not to be the source of those rights.”

Dillon argued that conservative ideals are being repressed in the world of higher education and that this repression is unhealthy for students of all political affiliations.

“Conservatism is based on the ideas of conserving the values of the Constitution.”

To support her first argument, she gave the example of what she implied to be an extreme reaction to conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro coming to speak at the University of California, Berkley, in September. Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Buzz, was lined up to speak, but, Dillon said, excessive pushback coming from liberal-sided students, faculty and administrators led to the school charging the Shapiro organization $600,000 for security measures.

Dillon also described an incident that occurred at Hampshire College, a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts, last November. On the night before Veteran’s Day, Hampshire students pulled down an American flag and set it on fire. In response, the president of the college ordered the removal of all American flags found on campus, to avoid further controversy.

These examples highlight the pressing issue that Dillon explained throughout her talk: the difficulty that conservatives face in expressing their beliefs.

In addition, Dillon said that the restraint of certain beliefs, including conservative rhetoric, is harmful and has no place in higher education.

“College is supposed to be a place where students are exposed to new ideas,” she said. “It is not the job of a college to protect its students from ideas, but to teach them how to confront them head-on.”

She said that academia should be a place for “an open, respectful dialogue which celebrates the idea of diversity of thought,” adding, “Diversity of ideas is as important as any other kind of diversity.”

To promote political diversity for college students, Dillon founded Lone Conservative, an online platform where young, conservative-minded college students may voice their opinions and inquire about issues in our society today. Dillon created the blog to provide an easy way for conservatives to acquire the information they want or need, as well as serve as a forum for discussion and debate over certain topics.

“The Internet, and social media in particular, is a great place to connect with other conservatives, learn from each other and develop platforms,” she said. “Social media is great for political activism because it opens so many doors that were never there before.”

Dillon said that the Internet plays a vital role in the cultivation political opinions, which is why she said her blog is so essential to the millennial conservative culture.

“It is not the job of a college to protect its students from ideas, but to teach them how to confront them head-on.”

However, Dillon also spoke of some of the downsides to the use of social media in the world of politics, namely that social media can lead to gross generalizations and false conclusions.

She said that “the drive to fit ideas into 140 characters and the constant desire for attention means that both sides are pushed to further and further extremes.”

On the conservative side of the spectrum, the furthest extreme is the “alt-right.” The alt-right, which has been associated with racist and fascist ideas, is not affiliated with the official conservative party. Members of this group have been known to take the idea of freedom of speech and warp it into their own perception, which is that we should be able to speak about whatever we want, regardless of its offense to other people, Dillon said. These movements are the sources of many of the United States’ difficulties on social media and in the real world, including the Neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, and many more hate crimes across the country, she added.

Dillon explicitly stated that the conservative party in no way adopts or condones the actions of extreme white nationalists, and that it is unfair to attribute the actions of such a small group to the entire the Republican Party.

Because of these misconceptions regarding the party’s platform, Dillon  explained, the Internet, although a useful tool for our education and advocacy, can be quite dangerous. The alt-right will continue to spread false conspiracies, causing people who side to the left to condemn the right even more, eventually pushing people from either party to be polar opposites of the other, she said. Dillon said that she wants to break open these barriers by cultivating true dialogue between those who differ in ideology in order to attain a more compete perception of each political standpoint.

Toward the end of her talk, Dillon stated what she believes to be the most important way to initiate change in society, and that is to simply talk about it and create dialogue that was not there before.

When asked by a Westminster student how students can “restore sanity to [the] college campus,” Dillon replied: “I think it’s important that students speak up, but do it respectfully. Talk to you professors, make friends with them. You have to speak up. Organize.”

“I think it’s important that students speak up, but do it respectfully.”

Then, in a follow-up question, another student asked how they may speak up if they are a minority. Dillon answered: “I would talk to people, have discussions. One-on-one chats are my favorite thing.”

Dillon suggested that students make relationships with those who disagree with them, in order to try to create new opinions while also attempting to learn from the opinions of others as well. She urged the students in the audience to voice their opinions and to act on their beliefs with all of their heart.

Creech to remain acting president of SGA following Pope’s resignation

SGA Vice President Lydia Creech (second from left) became acting president this June, following the resignation of Carson Pope. She is joined here by SGA Treasurer Daniel Epler, Secretary Nicole Hall, Constitution and Elections Chair Missy Rolseth, and Speaker of the Senate Isaac Coronel. PHOTO COURTESY OF LYDIA CREECH.


Westminster’s Student Government Association (SGA) recently underwent senatorial and class presidential elections, bringing in a group of new representatives. In November, students will elect five executive officers. One student, though, transitioned into a new position in the SGA during the summer.

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Bernie Sanders to speak at Westminster on Sept. 21


United States Senator Bernie Sanders will deliver the 2017 John Findley Green Foundation Lecture on campus later this month, according to an announcement made Friday by Dr. Carolyn Perry, Westminster acting president, and Dr. Kurt Jefferson, director of the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement.

Sanders was a candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential election and is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history.

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Perry addresses Westminster’s presidential transition

Dr. Carolyn Perry was appointed acting president of Westminster College on Aug. 18, 2017, after having served as senior vice president and dean of faculty for five years. 


More than 50 student organization heads and members filed into Hermann Lounge on Friday, Aug. 18, in response to an invitation they received from recently appointed Acting President Dr. Carolyn Perry. Perry said that she would discuss and take questions pertaining to the leadership transition that students were informed of less than an hour earlier.

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Acting President Perry answers questions about leadership transition, Westminster’s future

Dr. Carolyn Perry listens to a student’s question in Hermann Lounge on Friday, Aug. 18. PHOTO BY JIM MALVEN.


On Friday, Aug. 18, Dr. Carolyn Perry, who earlier in the day had been named Westminster’s acting president, talked to students about the resignation of former president Dr. Benjamin Akande and the leadership transition that then ensued. Afterward, she answered students’ questions about the transition and the future of Westminster.

These questions and answers can be seen below. Please note that some have been edited for length or clarity.

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