The American Dream seems like a relic of the past to so many. Work hard and play by the rules and anyone can make a good living and raise a family comfortably. And while we look to economic forces and trade policy for answers on this lost Dream, one must also look toward American Academia and how its influence on generation of young people is shaping our future.
I come from a family of hard-working and gritty entrepreneurs who came to America to chase the American Dream. My mother’s father is Stanley Winkelman of Winkelman’s Stores and my father’s father is Eugene Epstein of Vesco Oil Corporation. My loving parents instilled in me the values that made this country great—hard work, treat people how you want to be treated, stand up to bullies and don’t take freedom for granted.
Unfortunately, there are powerful people at our colleges and universities who no longer share these values many of us were raised with. There is a focus on diversity and inclusion, and the idea of merit is considered racist. Many institutions now stress the importance of a student’s emotional comfort rather than focusing on teaching them about some of the harsh realities of the world and passing on valuable life skills.
These institutions of higher learning have become less focused on preparing our youth for fulfilling careers and more focused on indoctrinating them with divisive, hateful ideology antithetical to what made America great. And they do this at exorbitant costs to both the students and to the taxpayers.
This crisis doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Millions of young people are being exposed to a strict political ideology that is more Marxism than anything else, and they’re being force-fed this absurd culture of woke-ism that aims to control every aspect of our public discourse. These young people move on from the campus environment, having been fully indoctrinated to question America’s greatness and focus on the superficial. These graduates are often ill-equipped and ill-prepared for a good-paying job with mountains of debt.
Quite simply, Higher Education in America is further hollowing out the American middle-class by foisting mountains of debt onto young people with degrees that may not land them a high-paying job necessary to both pay off the debt and build toward the American Dream.
We must consider, on top of the individual cost to so many young people, what kind of future are we setting ourselves up for as a nation?
It’s utterly ridiculous.
I’m quite familiar with the culture of American Academic elitism. I attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in Economics. I’m a proud Harvard graduate and learned so much during my four years in Cambridge. Interestingly enough, it was during this time that my conservative views were sharpened. I was exposed to a wide array of political ideologies and perspectives, and the more I soaked in, the clearer it became—I was a conservative living and learning in a bastion of liberalism. I took what I experienced at Harvard and brought it back home with me to Michigan where I now live and work.
After graduating from Harvard University and the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, I returned home to join our family oil distributorship.
I attended the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business while working with the company and serving on community boards. In 2016, I publicly announced my support for Donald Trump for President. He spoke to me, and to tens of millions of others, in plain, simple terms on the issues that mattered. He exposed the political rot in our system. He came out and said what so many Americans were thinking, and he wasn’t afraid to take on every major institution in America, including Academia. The permanent Washington political establishment wasn’t working on behalf of the American people and President Trump called them out on it.
President Trump stood up for hardworking Americans and he took on Hollywood, Silicon Valley, The Swamp, Wall Street and the Ivory Tower of Academia. No other President in American history—and no other candidate—was willing to tell the truth to the American people like President Trump did.
I’ve been inspired to get involved on the frontlines of the battle to save America, and that’s why I’m running for the University of Michigan Board of Regents—an 8-person volunteer governing body assigned to oversee the university and approve the budget. The University of Michigan has been riddled with serious problems of late, including the firing of University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel and the largest sex abuse scandal settlement ($560 Million) in the history of higher ed.
So, it’s time for a change. Not just at Michigan, but across this country. The massive increase in spending by universities for “diversity, equity and inclusion” officers will have a long-lasting impact on the students. It is important to remember that these students are at an age in their development where it is easy to be influenced. The irresponsible focus on race and skin color in the classroom is only going to divide this nation further. So will the silencing of views that may not be in line with what is acceptable in the faculty lounge.
It’s time to fight back.
That’s why I’m running for the University of Michigan, Board of Regents. To give a voice to the great silent majority of Americans who want sanity instilled back onto college campuses. We must defeat the Woke-Left and protect the future of this great nation. The alternative is unacceptable.
Lena Epstein is a successful business owner, philanthropist and conservative leader. She is co-owner of Vesco Oil Corporation and currently running for the University of Michigan Board of Regents.