Morgan Chalfant reports for the Washington Free Beacon on a disturbing reaction to a sensible idea at one of the nation’s top universities.

A petition to establish a two-quarter Western Civilization requirement for undergraduates at Stanford University has sparked controversy across campus.

In the weeks since the editorial board of the Stanford Review, a student-run conservative-leaning newspaper on campus, created a petition to establish the requirement, supporters have been branded racists and other derogatory names and confronted in dining halls, according to the publication’s editor-in-chief.

The editors of the Review are petitioning to place an initiative on the spring undergraduate ballot calling for the new requirement. If the petition accumulates 350 signatures by Wednesday, the initiative will qualify for a vote before the undergraduate student body. Harry Elliott, editor-in-chief of the Review, said that the petition was created in order to address the “perpetual decline in Stanford’s humanities core,” which currently mandates only one humanities class over four years.

“We wanted a requirement that would equip students directly for life after Stanford, both politically and socially; but we also wanted to ensure that the requirement would not degenerate in an academic race to the bottom, as occurred with past requirements when they were overly open-ended,” Elliott told the Washington Free Beacon in an email.

“Thus, we decided to focus on a single civilizational requirement that gave students real depth and academic common ground to discuss the topics they were learning in dining halls and casual conversation.”