Santorum: College Students Are ‘Ridiculed’ For Being Conservative

Rick Santorum doubled down Sunday on his remarkable claim that President Obama is a “snob” for wanting all Americans to be able to go to college.

He offered a few different explanations. One was that some people aspire to careers that don’t require a college education. Another was that conservatives are “singled out” and “ridiculed” for their beliefs on college campuses.

Santorum’s lengthy exchange with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week”:

STEPHANOPOULOS:  Now getting to college has been part of the American dream for generations, Senator.  Why does articulating an aspiration make the president a snob?

SANTORUM:  I think because there are lot of people in this country that have no desire or no aspiration to go to college, because they have a different set of skills and desires and dreams that don’t include college. 

And to sort of lay out there that somehow this is — this is — should be everybody’s goal, I think, devalues the tremendous work that people who, frankly, don’t go to college and don’t want to go to college because they have a lot of other talents and skills that, frankly, college, you know, four-year colleges may not be able to assist them. 

And there are other — there’s technical schools, there’s additional training, vocational training.  There’s skills and apprenticeships.  There’s all sorts of things that people can do to upgrade their skills to be very productive and —

(CROSSTALK) 

SANTORUM:  — and build their community.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  All he said was he wants, quote, “every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training.”  In your interview with Glenn Beck this week, you seemed to go further.  You said I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because they are indoctrination mills.  What did that mean?

SANTORUM:  Well, of course.  I mean, you look at the colleges and universities, George.  This is not – this is not something that’s new for most Americans, is how liberal our colleges and universities are and how many children in fact are – look, I’ve gone through it.  I went through it at Penn State.  You talk to most kids who go to college who are conservatives, and you are singled out, you are ridiculed, you are – I can tell you personally, I know that, you know, we – I went through a process where I was docked for my conservative views.  This is sort of a regular routine (ph).  You know the statistic that at least I was familiar with from a few years ago — I don’t know if it still holds true but I suspect it may even be worse – that 62 percent of kids who enter college with some sort of faith commitment leave without it.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  But Senator, when you put all this together—

SANTORUM:  This is not a neutral setting.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  — it makes it sound like you think there is something wrong with encouraging college education.

SANTORUM:  No, not at all, but understand that we have some real problems at our college campuses with political correctness, with an ideology that is forced upon people who, you know, who may not agree with the politically correct left doctrine.  And one of the things that I’ve spoken out on and will continue to speak out is to make sure that conservative and more mainstream, common-sense conservative and principles that have made this country great are reflected in our college courses and with college professors.  And at many, many, and I would argue most institutions in this country, that simply isn’t the case.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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