Walter Olson has posted some highlights of student demands from around the country. Here’s a doozy.
I’m not sure how one would relate deviant sexuality to Physics or Astronomy or Engineering or Geography, all of which are subjects of study for undergraduates at Dartmouth.
Mona Charon has a piece over at Real Clear Politics about the current student unrest. The title is Snowflakes or Fascists?
Students are natural radicals. The job of academics in a free society that hopes to remain so is to instill respect for freedom of thought and expression. Our problem is that many of the students who were burning professors’ research notes in the 1960s are now on the faculty.
The article is insightful, but Ms. Charon should consider embracing the power of and. Read the whole thing
UPDATE—Smitty provides some editorial assistance for the student protesters over at The Other McCain. (H/T, Mind-Numbed Robot)
That slogan seemed to have a different meaning when I was in school back in the ’60s.
Jonathan Rauch suggests the following should be put on college admission websites and recruiting material:
“Warning: Although this university values and encourages civil expression and respectful personal behavior, you may at any moment, and without further notice, encounter ideas, expressions and images that are mistaken, upsetting, dangerous, prejudiced, insulting or deeply offensive. We call this education.”
The Gentle Reader has probably heard the story of the boy who was taken into custody by police and suspended from school because the school bureaucrats thought his homemade electronic clock looked like a bomb. Popehat has a few good thoughts on the incident here.
I’m not surprised at the way the young man was treated. When my son was in the 8th grade, one of Will’s teachers had overloaded an extension cord powering equipment she was using for some sort of presentation. The cord caught fire. When my son saw the smoke, he pulled the cord out of the wall outlet, and then he stomped out the flames. The teacher wanted him suspended for disrupting her class.
Later that year, he was in a class being held in a large room with no natural light. Electrical work was being done in that part of the building, and the breaker panels had been left open. Someone switched off the lights, leaving my son’s class milling around in a dark space. Will went over and flipped a breaker to turn on a light which allowed the class to evacuate the space. The Principal wanted to expel him for fiddling with electrical stuff again. When I was called to the school office, I rather forcefully pointed out that my son had probably prevented the incident from becoming more serious. The Principal was adamant; a middle school kid shouldn’t have his hands in the breaker panel. I agreed but pointed out two things to the Principal. First, Will had an amateur radio license, and one of the exam sections includes questions on electrical safety. Could the Principal document having passed an exam on that topic? Second, the way the panels were left open was an OSHA violation. Should we drop the matter or should I make a phone call? My son had no further trouble.
Pushback is necessary. If it fails, perhaps we need to bring back tar and feathers.
Mytheos Holt has an essay over at The Federalist suggesting that colleges should Expel People Who Demand Trigger Warnings. The purpose of a college education is to challenge the student’s mind with ideas that may be uncomfortable so that his intellect may develop and grow. The diploma is not supposed to be a receipt for the payment exorbitant tuition. It’s supposed to be a certification of successful completion of some rigorous work.
Just as it is unreasonable to expect a physically weak person from successfully completing boot camp in the Marine Corps, we should not expect someone lacking the mental and/or emotional capacity to deal with strong ideas to do well in college.
Like Plato’s philosopher, whose eyes burn in the light of the sun when he first emerges from the cave, stripping away your own mental illness’ illusions can be very painful. As in Plato, it is also worth it.
But if you can’t brave that light, you don’t deserve it. If you need trigger warnings in order to learn, then the only warning we should hear is a warning against letting you in the classroom.
Read the whole thing.