A Narrative of Conservative Student Affairs Professionals: Silenced in an Inclusive Profession?


  • Jeremy N. Davis
  • Matthew Birnbaum
  • Rosa I. Law


Public universities are often perceived as predominantly liberal environments where conservative voices are silenced. This stands in contrast to the idea that higher education, and student affairs in particular, should foster an environment in which multiple perspectives are valued. In this narrative study, we share the stories of ten self-identified conservative student affairs professionals and their experience at a public institution of higher education. To inform our study we used the spiral of silence theory, which suggests individuals having opinions diverging from the majority will remain silent about their beliefs rather than face negative consequences. Data analysis and findings provide an understanding of how conservative ideology influenced relationships, professional engagement and overall work environment.