Now this is interesting. A reader writes:
Your post today on Ryan T. Anderson and a certain Palo Alto-based institute of lower education reminded me of my 8 years of deeply closeted conservative life at UC Berkeley. There one quickly learns that certain opinions are simply no longer welcome in polite company. More so even than Stanford, the intellectual climate at UCB is hostile, indeed venomously so, to social conservative points of view. Although most of the faculty and student body has abandoned socio-economic concerns and now openly sneers at the few remaining old-style leftist agitators on campus, opinions on social issues have moved in the opposite direction, hardening to the point that any dissent, however mild, is treated as the rankest bigotry.
Yet funnily enough, the makeup of UCB’s undergraduate population is undergoing seismic shifts. In the scramble to make up for declining state funding (mitigated by Prop 30 in 2012), the university has opened its doors open to full tuition-paying international students like never before. The influx of Christian Taiwanese and Korean students has been particularly notable. Sure, they’re still a minority of the student population but their numbers are increasing and they’ve helped to revitalize Christian student groups on campus. In total, the international student population jumped from 870 in 2004 (my first year at UCB) to 3456 in 2013, the year after I left. Also notable was the increased visibility of second-generation Latino, Indian, and religiously-observant Muslim students, groups not exactly well-known for their social liberalism.
In short, I wonder whether Berkeley will be witness to increased tensions like that documented at Stanford. I certainly don’t expect the intellectual communis opinio on campus to shift rightward; the culture has changed too fundamentally for that. Still, the sturdy foundation of a secular, middle class, libertarian-individualist Californian student body upon which the the broad acceptance of gay rights issues has been founded at the UC is eroding. I doubt that the trads are going to go down without a fight. Anyway, just food for thought.