WATCH: 'I think that there is a real problem': A conversation with Professor Ilana Redstone

Earlier this year, Redstone wrote an article in Tablet about Campus Reform. In the article, Redstone states 'if any outlet is drumming up needless hysteria, Campus Reform would almost certainly be it.'

Campus Reform reporter Ophelie Jacobson talked with Ilana Redstone, associate professor of sociology at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, to discuss a course she will be teaching in the Spring titled “The Sociology of Political Polarization: Bigots and Snowflakes.”

The course syllabus states that “because the tilt on campus (here and elsewhere) is to the left, we will often focus on opinions and perspectives that are traditionally omitted (often associated with the center and the right). These often coincide with non-progressive (conservative or libertarian) views and some uncomfortable questions.”

Students in the class “will delve into topics and listen to perspectives that some will find distasteful or even offensive,” encouraging them “to consider ideas and perspectives that some have deigned unfit for public (or private) discourse.”

Jacobson and Redstone discuss the current political climate on college campuses, with respect to viewpoint diversity in the classroom:

Jacobson asks Redstone, "Do you still believe that diversity of thought exists on college campuses?"

Redstone replies:

I mean, it's in pockets. It's one of those things one says that they're against it..right? No one says they're against free speech, no one says that they're against viewpoint diversity...let’s say you have somebody who says, 'I think that trans women should not be allowed to compete in women's category sports.' So now this is where the rubber meets the road. Is that an opinion? Or is that a threat to the trans community? And from an administrative standpoint, how do you want to respond to it? I think that campuses largely are trying to please everybody...I'm not an administrator, I've never had an administrative position on campus. But this, from where I sit, this is what I see. And I get the pressures, and I see all of that. But it just also seems very clear that there has to be a better way to I'll come full circle to your question about diversity of thought: I don't think there's enough of it. Is there no diversity of thought? That seems a little extreme. But I don't think there's enough of it.

Redstone also wrote an article in Tablet about Campus Reform in June 2021. In the article, Redstone states “if any outlet is drumming up needless hysteria, Campus Reform would almost certainly be it.”

Redstone wrote, “we should condemn hyperbole and the harassment that often follows Campus Reform articles. We should also be open to recognizing that some of the events those articles describe raise legitimate concerns. We can actually do both.”

Jacobson addresses Redstone’s claims about Campus Reform in the interview. To watch the full video, click here.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @opheliejacobson