LOS ANGELES (ChurchMilitant.com) - A pro-higher education activist is urging Americans to stop writing checks to liberal-leaning colleges and universities.
Stacey Feinberg, a board member at the campus watchdog group Turning Point USA (TPUSA), told Church Militant on Aug. 4 she's withholding a seven-figure gift planned for Harvard University. Instead, she's calling on others to join TPUSA's new initiative, DivestU, which seeks to defund institutions that indoctrinate, not educate, students.
"I was in love with Harvard," confided Feinberg. "I'm heartbroken by how the school has changed."
Feinberg has spent considerable time on Harvard's campus as her son and various family members attended. She described why she had such affection for the school.
"Students were exposed to the most unusual, the most varied cultures and ideas. It was exposure to that vastness, that diversity, that was so exciting," she enthused.
The Northwestern University graduate believes those values have disappeared at Harvard and other elite institutions.
"Students are not taught how to think; they are taught what to think," Feinberg explained.
TPUSA announced its DivestU program in mid-July. The organization's website describes the initiative's purpose.
DivestU is TPUSA's "most aggressive project yet to combat rampant leftism at universities by striking colleges where they are most vulnerable — their wallets. Anti-American indoctrination can only thrive on college campuses thanks to multi-billion dollar endowments, fueled by the generosity of alumni," the organization states.
The initiative warned, "The radical, anti-American Left have hijacked our universities and any further contribution to those universities is a contribution to that force of destruction."
The site also quotes Dr. Keith Rose, who addressed Baylor University.
"Baylor: I could no longer be a spectator in the education of my kids — I had to get involved. The first thing I had to do was choose to not support a mechanism that wasn't teaching or educating my children, but was instead subverting them through ideology."
Catholic institutions are not immune from the promotion of liberal ideas. Notre Dame, for instance, recently gave failed presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg a one-year faculty appointment. The openly homosexual politician will be teaching a course, "Perspectives on Trust," at the Catholic university.
Another example is Jesuit-run Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where a faculty member's tweet created outrage from the College Republicans group as well as from the local police union.
Bowing to pressure, the university issued an apology July 10 for theology Professor Zachary Smith's conduct. Smith responded on Twitter to an Omaha World-Herald headline about a pro-police rally that read, "'Back the Blue' rally in Omaha to show support for law enforcement."
Reacting to the headline Smith tweeted, "Lemme fix this headline for you ... 'White supremacist rally in Omaha to showcase Midwestern racism.'"
Another Catholic institution, DePaul University in Chicago, is likewise hostile to conservative students. In 2016, The Atlantic reported on a student who said her support for Donald Trump made her feel unsafe.
The 22-year-old chair of the college Republicans told the magazine: "It's scary feeling like I can't walk around campus with a Trump shirt on — or a Trump hat — because I'm afraid of what people might do. At this point, we're the most hated group on campus."
Feinberg made an important point about the power of charitable gifts.
"Last October I was on UCLA's campus, and I saw how many buildings were named for conservative donors," she observed. "DivestU just makes sense. Alumni wouldn't give to a university that promoted sex trafficking. A lot of alumni aren't educated about what their alma maters are doing now. If they were, they wouldn't be giving."
Feinberg isn't alone in her thinking, and institutions are beginning to feel the effect. Earlier this month, DePaul announced to alumni that its financial aid pool had the second-lowest increase in a decade. While there is not a clear, causal relationship between the institution's hostility toward conservatives and the slowed growth in its financial aid funds, the possibility is not unreasonable.
Giving USA, the experts on charitable giving in America, told Church Militant that since its data is a year behind, it will be at least 18 months before the effects of DivestU will begin to show up.
Feinberg's message is for wealthy donors to be wise.
"Really look under the hood before giving," she encourages. "These are no longer the schools we once knew."