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CampusReform: A Project of The Leadership Institute
The Leadership Institute (LI) describes itself as “the HR department of the conservative
movement.” It was founded in 1979 by
as a young adult organization for the
conservative movement. LI has already trained
like chief GOP strategist
Karl Rove, Rep. Joe Wilson (RSC), and Grover Norquist, head of Americans For Tax Reform.
includes organizations and foundations such as the Charles G. Koch Foundation, the
Heritage Foundation, and the Adolph Coorsfunded Castle Rock Foundation.
In 2009, the founder of LI launched a new site for college conservatives called CampusReform.
The stated purpose of the site is to expose “bias” in universities “completely dominated by the
left” and to give conservatives students a forum to report and organize against professors
perceived as abusive leftists.
Blackwell described the
motivation behind his ambitious project
to the American Prospect:
“I have had a longterm awareness of how the campuses have become leftwing indoctrination
centers, and many, many students can go their entire college educations and never see any
representations of conservative principles on their campuses — but they see innumerable amounts
of propaganda both in campus curriculum and with speakers and in campus newspapers. It has
always bugged me that conservatives have not done likewise.”
Toni Listi, a graduate of Texas A&M and CampusReform.org member, put this another way
when he wrote on the site that the goal was to, “
smash leftwing scum
.” There was originally a
publiclyaccessible CampusReform.org subsite for each of the 2,376 fouryear colleges in the
US which contained a blog, event listings, membership roster, and “access to a variety of
powerful weapons to identify, expose, and combat leftist abuses on campus,” though the
subsites are now said to be no longer accessible. The “weapons” consist of a
allows students to review “biased” textbooks, rate faculty and “hold professors accountable,”
report “leftist abuses,” and take a survey to record “specific injustices.” Originally, LI offered
a $100 prize each day for reporting “leftist abuse.”
CampusReform.org is a feeder for Fox News
More recently, CampusReform.org has described their project as a media outlet, with the tag
line “the #1 Source for College News.” Under the guise of “journalism,” CampusReform.org has
in the last year broken stories concerning three Black women professors
for sharing their views
on social media about White Supremacy
and other media outlets such as the
have picked up stories from CampusReform.org, lending further publicity to
the project’s stories. This coverage, in turn, informs
white supremacist organizations
, who have
responded by sending
and engaging in
oncampus flyering campaigns
to have the