Conservatives voices on campus form "Network of enlightened Women" group
Starting next semester, the Network of enlightened Women (NeW) hopes to bring its campaign of encouraging students to "shatter the stereotypes about what young women believe today" to Rutgers.
NeW started in 2004 at University of Virginia during a book club consisting of conservative college women. The grassroots organization spread gradually and now there are more than 25 college chapters as well as young professional chapters, according to their website.
NeW received Rutgers approval in late September and hopes to "educate young women on conservative values ... (and to) cultivate a community in which to discuss and strengthen these values," according to their website.
The chapter hopes to exercise its values despite "the overwhelming liberalism at Rutgers," said Sarah Ma, a School Of Arts and Sciences junior via email.
The values taught to the members are not widely held on the university's liberal campus, she said.
“It also contributes to the intellectual diversity on campus, providing a counter to the prevalent progressive agenda held by our peers, staff and administrators of the university,” she said.
At Harvard University, one student recently became overwhelmed with majority political beliefs and started a NeW chapter, according to the College Fix.
A recurring message voiced by NeW is to bring students together and discuss the often-overwhelming liberalism they face each day, said Emily Hall, the student who started a chapter at Harvard.
“While a woman did not win the U.S. presidential election this year, millions of women exercised the right to vote and selected different candidates”, said Karin Agness, founder of the organization, according to Forbes.
The newly-created Rutgers chapter was inactive during the 2016 election cycle, Ma said.
“It is unfortunate to see that so many of our peers are unaware of what's going on in our government, and don't care to find out,” Ma said.
Agness said that the chapter may face hostility and protest from other students and organizations.
“Unfortunately, bias and even harassment remains a real problem in America’s college campuses,” she said. “In many cases, it’s conservative students who are the subject of unwanted pressure and hostility from their fellow undergraduates and faculty."
The club, Ma said, will have a presence at all involvement fairs, and wishes to encourage women that are interested in politics to attend meetings, adding “regardless of your political views, we encourage everyone to be informed and get involved, because these issues directly affect our futures."
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article inaccurately said the Network of enlightened Women (NeW) was founded at the University of West Virginia. It was founded at the University of Virginia.
Sharbel Skaff is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in exercise science. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.