Conservatives on this campus say they feel stifled, marginalized and constrained from expressing their political views. This should not be the case. We laud the Brandeis College Republicans' Conservative Coming Out Week, which begins today, but lament the fact that such a week is necessary in the first place. Scoffs and sweeping insults directed at Republicans or conservatives are too often accepted in both social and academic settings at Brandeis. Snide remarks toward Republicans from friends, classmates or even professors frequently provoke laughter, regardless of whether the comments stem from stereotype or fact. This is a serious problem. The fact that we casually dismiss an entire range of political ideologies is immature and counterproductive to our goal of intelligent, informative dialogue. Arguments carry much more weight if their proponents first listen to advocates of the opposing view.

Conservative Coming Out Week, with its lineup of speakers, discussion and trips, gives Brandeis a chance to reverse the current trend. We encourage students and faculty to attend, among the other planned events, a formal debate between representatives from the Republicans and Democrats clubs on the issues of national security and foreign policy, to take place on Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium.

This applies even to students with no intent or desire to change their political views. Listening to the opposite side does not cause any harm, and can potentially fortify one's understanding of complex issues.

About 100 students presently belong to the Brandeis College Republicans. Club leaders believe other closeted Republicans exist here, afraid to broadcast their opinions.

We recognize that Brandeis is not unique in its overwhelmingly liberal atmosphere. Many college campuses are this way, perhaps due to the youth-oriented nature of certain Democratic social policies. However, we must not use the prevalence of liberalism as an excuse for stigmatizing a minority of students for their perspectives. We should instead work to create an atmosphere where all feel free to voice their political views-not just during an isolated and specifically designated week.