A college president turns a chicken sandwich into an intellectual adversary
Headline news of the week: Our college professors and presidents have completely lost their minds.
The most recent evidence of the intellectual insanity running rampant on today’s campuses comes from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, where President Gregory Dell’Omo took the bold and courageous stand of protecting his precious little corner of intellectual inquiry from the evil influence of one of the greatest threats to academic liberty ever known to man: Chick-fil-A.
Yes, you read correctly. That innocent-looking anthropomorphized cow with sad, pleading eyes that implores you to “eat more chicken” will not be permitted on Mr. Dell’Omo’s campus because, in his words, “We [have] decided to lean in the direction of creating a welcoming environment where differences can be appreciated and where each individual can expect to experience dignity and respect.”
As a corrective measure to the obvious dangers represented in allowing chicken sandwiches into the realm of liberal learning, President Dell’Omo called for his school’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion to schedule a forum, “so that the voices of students, faculty, staff and others can continue to be heard, and we can all grow from this experience.”
Now, if you aren’t in the habit of following academic news, you might be tempted to conclude this is an unimportant anomaly; something so absurd and stupid as to be an outlier in what is otherwise still a relatively normal educational world where you are expected to choose a college, go to school, select a major and, actually, learn something that is relevant. But, you’d be wrong.
No, the Rider University story is not new, but just one more in a growing series of absurdities that, frankly, has become the norm rather than the exception on campuses across the land from Brown to Berkeley.
Consider my alma mater, Michigan State University, where professor William Penn modeled his idea of openness, inclusion, tolerance and respect for differences by telling students in his class, “If you disagree [with me and my political views], then sit down and shut up or else.”
Or how about the faculty member at Florida’s Brevard Community College who actually forced her students to sign a contract that said: “I pledge to vote for Democrats up and down on the ticket.”
And, then there is Brent Terry at Eastern Connecticut State University who told his class that conservatives (i.e. anyone who disagrees with his politics and subjective standards of morality) are “racist, misogynists, money-grubbing people and want things to go back not to 1955 but 1855.”
At the University of Minnesota at Duluth we have the story of students being forced to engage in a series of lectures, billboards and videos that condemn “white people” for the freedoms they enjoy in a constitutional republic that was “[specifically] set up for them.”
No, this is not a short list. In fact, in my book, “Not a Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth,” I offer example after example of this lunacy. It is pervasive. It is everywhere, in nearly every university in every state.
There is the “Thanksgiving Toolkit” the faculty of the College of William and Mary provided for their students who were returning home for Thanksgiving break where — gasp of all gasps — these burgeoning young brownshirts might potentially be threatened by different points of view and alternative ways of thinking by their closed-minded and myopic family members, otherwise known as parents.
There are the “safe spaces” for tolerance, inclusion and academic freedom created at the University of California-Berkeley for transgendered individuals and people of color. One has to wonder how safe, included, tolerated and free all other people feel on this campus, which ironically fancies itself as the birthplace of free speech and a bulwark against racist privilege.
There is the story of Middlebury College professor Allison Strange, who was forced to leave an assembly hall and flee for her safety only to have student protesters block her retreat, reach into her car, twist her neck and pull her hair — all because she simply tried to facilitate a conversation and dialogue with an author the students didn’t agree with.
There is the list of school after school — Bay Path University, Colby-Sawyer College, North Iowa Area Community College, St. Vincent’s College and Drexel University, to name a few –that now have speech codes requiring professors to warn students in advance of ideas that have the potential of challenging them or making them feel uncomfortable.
Yes, the American university has completely lost its mind, and Rider University’s ban of Chick-Fil-A simply because the company’s founder, Truett Cathy, said he believed in the same thing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton once said they believed in — the 2,000-year-old standard of traditional marriage — is just one more example of how incredibly bigoted, intolerant, closed-minded, inconsistent, ill-liberal and irrelevant today’s educational industry has become.
As Rome burned while Nero fiddled, so Mr. Dell’Omo and thousands of other self-declared guardians of the ivory tower fiddle about while the flames of their foolishness consume our culture and our kids.
By the way, did I mention I am considering writing another book? The title: “Don’t Send Your Kids to College — It Will Kill Their Character and Destroy Their Soul.”
• Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is the author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).
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