Amelia Hamilton writes: We live in the age of inclusion where we are to be welcomed and treated equally, but, paradoxically, we are all to be labeled clearly so that everyone knows what status we may embody. Take college campuses, the incubator of liberalism gone amok. So-called “diversity training” has attempted to make students painfully aware of all of their differences (well, all differences but ones of opinion, since diversity of thought has become intolerable in academia).
“know your kind and stick to it. Don’t risk offending people from other backgrounds by trying to understand their worldviews.”
Student Carrie Pritt recently wrote of her experience as an incoming freshman at Princeton University, where different labels (white, male, wealthy) were rattled off and students were asked to stand if they identified with that group. “But what did it really accomplish?” she asked. “In compressing us into isolated communities based on our race, religion or gender, the minister belittled every other piece of our identities.” He faced a crowd of singular young adults and essentially told them that their heritage outweighed their humanity.
The message was clear: “know your kind and stick to it. Don’t risk offending people from other backgrounds by trying to understand their worldviews.” Although she understands that the university was trying to do something good, Carrie wonders, “Why were the university administrators, who speak so highly of diversity, choosing to strip us of our individuality?” It’s a good question. Read the rest of this entry »
The post-election freak-out on elite campuses is total, and is made all the worse because students on these campuses never meet anyone who disagrees with them.
Robby Soave writes: In the wake of the election, many college students at elite colleges and universities have come down with serious cases of PTSD: President Trump Stress Disorder.
Their inability to anticipate this outcome—the election of Donald Trump—should prompt the Ivy League to consider whether it’s really preparing students for life outside the liberal bubble of campus.
To equip students with the resources they need to refute Trumpism, colleges have to stop shielding them from ideas that offend their liberal sensibilities. They have to stop pretending that shutting down a discussion is the same thing as winning an argument. Silence is not persuasion.
“There were actual cats and a puppy there. The event as a whole seemed to be an escape from the reality of the election results.”
— UPenn student, Daniel Tancredi
Elsewhere, at campuses across the country, students begged professors to cancel classes and postpone exams, citing fear, exhaustion, and emotional trauma. Such accommodations were frequently granted: Academics at Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Connecticut, and other institutions told students to take some time to come to terms with what had happened, as if the election of Donald Trump was akin to a natural disaster or terrorist attack.
That wasn’t all. Law students at the University of Michigan were provided with a post-election “self-care with food and play” event, complete with “stress busting” activities like play dough, coloring books, legos,
and bubbles. Columbia University’s Barnard College offered hot chocolate and coloring. The University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution, created a healing space: more coloring books, and also puppies.
“The core of the problem is that the vast majority of our colleges and universities have made race and racial differences central to almost everything they do. And to make matters worse, those who accredit our universities make attention to race in admissions and programming a condition of accreditation.”
At Harvard, a group of law students launched a campaign to remove the school’s seal because it contains the coat of arms of a slave owner. At Dartmouth, students and faculty marched in solidarity with black students at the University of Missouri in what was called a “black out” (the marchers all wore black). After days of protects at Yale, the university president announced plans for more academic study of race and ethnicity and for improvements in the experiences of people of color. At Princeton a debate inspired by objections to the university’s use of the name of former university president (and president of the United States) Woodrow Wilson is ongoing. Everywhere, university administrators are scrambling to assure their students of color that their schools really do care.
“Do students of color hang out together because they feel disrespected and discriminated against—because they are excluded? Or is it a matter of choice rooted in racial pride, perceived cultural difference, and a desire to preserve and protect that difference from the dominant white culture?”
In response to the continuing protests, much has been written and spoken about how universities can best serve the interests of their students of color. Those who sympathize with the protesters argue that students of color, in particular, should be nurtured and protected from uncomfortable experiences that distract from their education. Others insist that true education depends on students experiencing discomfort so they are better prepared to cope with the discomforts they will inevitably face in the future. No doubt there are good points to be considered on both sides of the question. Every campus has its boors and jerks whose bad behaviors might warrant chastisement from university officials, although peer disapproval is almost always a more effective remedy.
“Are colleges and universities responsible for the isolation and exclusion the protesters claim to experience, and for the de facto segregation that exists on most campuses? In significant ways they are, but not, for the most part, for the reasons said to justify the protests at the University of Missouri and elsewhere.”
Whether and when offensive speech should be prohibited are more difficult questions. The boundary between gratuitous verbal assault and the free expression essential to the academy is not always easily drawn, although a few institutions have followed the example of the University of Chicago in making clear that their default position is free speech.
“Sadly, Americans seem to lose any capacity for reasoned discussion when alleged personal assaults are said to stem from racial animus. Disagreements deteriorate into verbal and often physical violence, with an almost conclusive presumption of racism whenever racism is alleged. In this climate, college administrators see only two options.”
Sadly, Americans seem to lose any capacity for reasoned discussion when alleged personal assaults are said to stem from racial animus. Disagreements deteriorate into verbal and often physical violence, with an almost conclusive presumption of racism whenever racism is alleged. In this climate, college administrators see only two options. The can resign, as did the University of Missouri president and the dean of students at Claremont McKenna (after writing an email to which students of color took offense). Or they can accede to protesters’ demands for safe spaces, sensitivity training, trigger warnings, expanded diversity offices, and rapid response to allegations of discrimination and hurt.
“The can resign, as did the University of Missouri president and the dean of students at Claremont McKenna (after writing an email to which students of color took offense). Or they can accede to protesters’ demands for safe spaces, sensitivity training, trigger warnings, expanded diversity offices, and rapid response to allegations of discrimination and hurt.”
But there is a third way. Colleges and universities should examine how their own policies and programs encourage racial division.
“But there is a third way. Colleges and universities should examine how their own policies and programs encourage racial division.”
At the time of the University of Missouri protests, a story in the New York Times reported that students of color at the university felt isolated and disrespected. They, particularly the black students, tend to hang out together. According to a student quoted in the Times story, an area in the student center where blacks sit is called “the black hole.” There is little real integration, say both white and black students. Visit the cafeteria of almost any campus with even a small population of black students and you will see the equivalent of the University of Missouri’s black hole. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for publishing my column. I’m a big fan of this holiday because few things are more American than boozing up and chowing down ’til your ankles swell and your corduroys pop. In between, you get to watch some football and share your thoughts on the trainwreck presidency of Barack Hussein Obama (hint hint). I consider myself a knowledgable debater because I read up on the blogs and I’m typically one
of the most “liked” commenters on the articles. The reason I’m writing this is because my brother’s dumb kid likes to get chatty with me. I’ve never seen anyone bring so many printouts to the dinner table.
“I’ll tell you what, why don’t you invite one of your ISIS pals around the house and we’ll see how much he likes it when I slash his guts out with the turkey knife. You think that’s what he wants? They want us to crush them?”
His “talking points,” he says. Reminds me of my last divorce, all those friggin’ printouts. This kid, my nephew, will never admit to being a communist, it’s always this “moderate independent” crap. But his Facebook feed is full of Bernie Sandinista, if you know what I mean, and he recently tweeted some gibberish about riding the bus in Czechoslovakia and identifying as a “human being” instead of what he is, an American.
“Tell me something, how did you feel when your Little League team got mercy-ruled by those country boys in the district finals? Is that what you wanted? Were you just phoning it in for the “participant” trophy? Is that why you’re too afraid to shave that pathetic beard?”
He’s been a “student” at some Ivy League circlejerk for the better part of a decade. I think he’s 29, who the hell even cares? If he’s the future, this country’s digging its own grave and I’m glad I won’t be there when it finally kicks the bucket. Read the rest of this entry »
Kerry Picket reports: A new Pew Research Center poll shows that 40 percent of American Millennials (ages 18-34) are likely to support government prevention of public statements offensive to minorities.
It should be noted that vastly different numbers resulted for older generations in the Pew poll on the issue of offensive speech and the government’s role.
Around 27 percent of Generation X’ers (ages 35-50) support such an idea, while 24 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) agree that censoring offensive speech about minorities should be a government issue. Only 12 percent of the Silent Generation (ages 70-87) thinks that government should prevent offensive speech toward minorities.
The poll comes at a time when college activists, such as the group “Black Lives Matter,” are making demands in the name of racial and ethnic equality at over 20 universities across the nation.
“Woodrow Wilson obviously … had a very ill-informed and ignorant view of race,” 1968 Princeton graduate Eric Chase told Reuters. “But he is a big piece of Princeton history and he should stay a big piece,” noting that it’s a push to “erase history and whitewash it and put something else in its place.” Read the rest of this entry »
Was the Constitution written in a way that was designed to protect freedom and limit the government’s size? Has it been effective in doing that? And what’s the Supreme Court’s record when it comes to protecting our rights? Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, answers these questions and more.
Meredith Somers writes: A few dozen demonstrators attending a rally on the Mall once billed as the Million Muslim March were vastly outnumbered Wednesday by a Christian group objecting to their event and a counterprotest consisting of motorcycle riders honoring Sept. 11 victims. Read the rest of this entry »
The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the National Security Agency’s dragnet surveillance of Americans’ phone calling records. On Monday, the ACLU asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction halting the program while its legality is litigated.
The program only collects metadata about Americans’ phone calls—who they call, when, and how long the calls last. In defending the program, the government has cited a controversial 1979 Supreme Court decision that held that phone records are not protected by the Fourth Amendment because consumers do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their calling records.