Coddling college campuses and a crippled culture
Summer is over. School has started. Students from coast to coast have returned to their college campuses, and the nation waits with bated breath as to what will happen next.
Will the self-absorbed snowflake insanity persist? Will you continue to hear cries of “you offended me” and “trigger warnings” in the halls of the academy? Will the demands for “safe spaces” continue to trump the study of science? Will the fixation on “micro-aggressions” continue to be more important than teaching morality? Will victimization continue to trump virtue?
In the days ahead, what will the news from the ivory tower be? If the old axiom that the best predictor of future behavior is always past behavior is true, here is just a shortlist of what you can expect in the coming weeks and months.
Students at Emory University will renew their cry for counseling because someone used chalk to write the name of an unpopular politician on a campus sidewalk.
Young intellectuals at Yale will continue to demand the termination of professors because of their “hurtful” views on such critical issues as Halloween costumes.
Southern Illinois University will double down on its brilliant plan to host campus “naps” in its library so students can snuggle up together in sleeping bags as they seek to solve our nation’s ills.
In the coming academic year, millennials from campuses across the land will persist in their juvenile fits of rage.
At American University, the University of Wyoming and the University of California-San Diego, burgeoning scholars will, once again, receive coloring books to help them cope with their stress and anxiety.
At Pitt, 18-year-olds will continue to block streets and destroy public property. They will then form “healing circles” because they feel “unsafe,” not because of their self-destructive lunacy, but because of the results of the most recent election they don’t like.
At Berkeley, the “birthplace of the free speech movement,” free speech will continue to be silenced as protesters attack any sad soul who dares promote the “wrong” speech.
At Virginia Tech and Michigan State, professors will tell first-year students to embrace identity politics and deny science. The result will be nothing less than total ontological chaos. Some co-eds will face expulsion for refusing to embrace the misogynistic “preferred personal pronouns” of delusional men who want to pretend to be women.
Biological facts will continue to be flushed down the toilet, as college bathrooms become laboratories for social experimentation and university classrooms become platforms for ideological indoctrination.
In the face of this nonsense, women will suffer first and suffer most. They will lose their facilities, lose their sports, lose their privacy and even lose their identity. And all who dare to suggest that a female is a fact and not a fabrication will be harassed into silence.
Yes, you will watch America’s colleges prove over and over again that they are no longer bulwarks of free speech but rather bastions of speech codes.
You will see protests from Wellesley to Wake Forest simply because students don’t like a given speaker who dares to arrive on campus with a contrary idea. Professors at the University of Missouri will call for “muscle” to remove journalists who are just trying to do their jobs. Santa Clara and John Carroll will reject charters for conservative student clubs because their views might make someone feel “uncomfortable.”
Schools such as the University of Northern Colorado will tell professors to stop asking students to examine varying viewpoints on such “controversial issues” as biological sex, the meaning of marriage and the dignity of human life. Even “Christian” colleges, such as the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, will refuse to allow conservative black speakers such as Star Parker on their campus because her views are considered too “divisive.”
These stories will be endless. Millennials and GenZ’ers, who feel uncomfortable with anything that challenges their narcissism, will demand to be coddled. Spineless college administrators and feckless faculty will readily comply.
It may be tempting to think this all foolish academic theater disconnected from the “real world.” But such dismissal would be a mistake.
Today’s law students and business majors will be tomorrow’s judges and CEOs. The students who now want to ban Plato, Aristotle, Jefferson and Jesus from college curricula will soon be tomorrow’s teachers. The protesters you see in tonight’s news will be the politicians you see in tomorrow’s Congress.
Never forget this one rule: What is taught today in the classroom will be practiced tomorrow in our culture.
If we do not halt this slide into absurdity, our coddled campuses will produce a crippled America.
• Everett Piper, former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is a columnist for The Washington Times and author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).
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