Where’s the fence?
Senator Jesse Helms once said that the only solution for Chapel Hill was to put a chain link fence around it. He was referring, of course, to the fact that UNC had more commies, gays, civil-rights activists and other subversive elements than the rest of North Carolina combined.
Well, Jesse need fear no more. A recent poll indicates that UNC freshmen are continuing the steady trend toward the right of the past decade. Just under a fifth felt they were "liberals," compared to 35 percent a decade ago, while one fourth labeled themselves as "conservative".
The survey also marked the certain demise of college students past preoccupation with sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Although no specific reference was made to musical tastes, the disco-beach bop emanating from the likes of Jaspers is a far cry from the decadent beat of the 1960s. Meanwhile, only 38 percent of the sampled freshmen approved of pre-marital sex, a number well below the national average.
How is one to interpret this conservative shift? Could it be a passion fad, a youthful naivete soon to be discarded in a campus filled with hard-core partiers and English majors? Perhaps not. The survey also indicated the existence of a well-established conservative philosophy: two-thirds of UNC freshmen feel criminals have too many rights while almost half would prohibit homosexual relations. Maybe when they graduate these same people can help Jesse lock us all up for good.
It is difficult to speculate on the future of Chapel Hill's traditional radicalism or the new conservative swing. Whether this year's freshmen will hold fast to their values or succumb to subversive influences such as the DTH is anyone's bet.
The Daily Tar Heel's editorial on March 26th, 1981.