Politics in the classroom have always been a contentious topic.Which discussions are off-limits? Which will offend some of the students? Which are too controversial?These are difficult questions to answer.

Having grown up in Toronto, Canada, one of the primary differences I noticed after coming to USC was how political discussion infiltrates every aspect of life. Whether in the classroom, in clubs, or among friends, the student body is more willing to discuss politics and is invested in the global political climate. While this is often grounds for a lively and constructive discussion, I have noticed that the majority of the community that I have been exposed to hold similar political views. Thus, the controversial discussion that forces us to grow is no longer present.

After the polarizing election of 2016, it became more evident than ever that most Gen-Z and Millennials swing more left regarding social issues. The attitude that dominates my political science classes, whether that be comparative politics or law, is one where there appears to be one right view, and it is a left-leaning one. Most of our readings and discussions focus on exploring this liberal perspective or tearing apart historical pieces where conservatism was the norm.

I am incredibly grateful to be part of a community that amplifies voices and perspectives that tend to be underrepresented. Still, at the same time, I believe that one of the purposes of obtaining a world-class education is to examine our past and current circumstances from a neutral perspective. It is also vital to our growth that we engage in controversial conversations and foster an academic community where individuals are not scared to hold our progressive system to the same standards as they hold a more conservative one.

As a member of Gen-Z myself, I can confidently say that I stand with many of my peers who hold progressive views. However, it is difficult for me to grow intellectually and perceive new perspectives when my own opinion is the only one being reinforced in my community. As we look to the future, it is essential that we bring back controversy to our classrooms, student organizations, and groups and that people be more tolerant of opposing views. After all, the discussions trigger a deep sense of disagreement and passion that serve as the building blocks for a more vibrant community.