Angry groups of college kids on some campuses in America have decided to put on their big boy and girl pants, wave their cellphones around, and demand racial and social “justice” on their terms — all while their moms and dads foot the tuition bill.
What are they demanding? Apologies and contractual promises of change for such fuzzy offenses as anonymous posts on social media app Yik Yak, to name one. A free education, to name another.
They are also charging administrators with being “racially inattentive,” and with “micro-aggression,” a trendy new injustice that involves a verbal or nonverbal slight, snub or insult. At Princeton University, for example, students are now demanding that the school’s president strip Woodrow Wilson’s name from all buildings and programs, pointing to the former president’s history of racism.
“Having to walk by buildings that (bear Wilson’s name), having to walk by his mural, having to live in residential colleges that didn’t want our presence on campus, that’s marginalizing,” a black junior named Asanni York told a local news affiliate. “People are hurt by that. All this matters because, at the end of the day, black people’s feelings matter just as much as any other people’s feelings matter.”
Through these and other protests (right around exam time this fall, by the way), college students are diluting and ignoring serious national topics and are hardly preparing themselves for the years ahead. Using multiple hashtags on Twitter and an unfocused outrage, the young protesters are demanding sweeping new standards of “fairness” for the foreseeable future that are largely impossible to attain in the real — and often unfair — world.
Worse, some college administrators are kowtowing to these kids, bringing attention and heft to their demands that include, among other things, admitting more undocumented students to the colleges, reopening a decades-old murder investigation, and in the case of the University of Missouri Police Department, using law enforcement resources to chase down cases of “hurtful speech.”
“While cases of hateful and hurtful speech are not crimes,” the MUPD gently reminded students in an email, “if the individuals identified are students, MU’s Office of Student Conduct can take disciplinary action.”
Consider what’s going on at a few American campuses right now.
A student-led racial justice group called The Darkening has complained for months about racist messages that have been posted to Yik Yak, according to website The Root. Although the college sympathized with The Darkening’s feelings, use of the app is, as designed, anonymous.
Yet the college reaffirmed its commitment to “diversity and microaggression discussions” in a statement on its website, and then suggested students report any threatening language to the Public Safety Office on campus, or, simply “down-vote” any offensive posts. Just five down-votes will remove a Yik Yak post permanently.
In Massachusetts, a group of students calling themselves “Amherst Uprising” have been busy protesting posters on campus that read “All Lives Matter,” as well as “Free Speech” fliers, among other things.
Amherst Uprising’s list of demands includes this statement, posted to amherstsoul.com: “President Martin must issue a statement to the Amherst College community at large that states we do not tolerate the actions of students who posted the ‘All Lives Matter’ posters, and the ‘Free Speech’ posters that stated, ‘in memoriam of the true victim of the Missouri protests: Free Speech.’”
They’ve also demanded that the people behind the free speech posters to go through a “disciplinary process.”
The students requested administrators excuse them from classes and homework so they can participate in protests or sit-ins, and they want the school to warn alumni that critical responses to the protests will not be tolerated. They have also demanded that the school mascot Lord Jeff — a nickname for colonial soldier Jeffrey Amherst — be officially condemned, something the faculty has now done. Lord Jeff played a role in the 1760s in advocating the spread of smallpox among disaffected Native Americans.
University of Missouri
At this institution of higher learning, the student vice president declared that the First Amendment incites a “hostile and unsafe learning environment,” though apparently this student is just fine with the fact that protesting students converged last month on an open convertible that carried the university president and his wife at Mizzou’s homecoming. The president, Tim Wolfe, has resigned, along with R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor of the university’s Columbia campus.
Wolfe had been facing protests from students who claimed he ignored racial slurs and a racially motivated act of vandalism. Shortly after black players from the football team refused to play and a student commenced a hunger strike, Wolfe resigned.
University of Kansas
John Cowan, a 2014 graduate, last week began a hunger strike, which he terms “starvidarity,” until a list of 15 student demands is met. The demands are from a group called Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk, which took over a campus Town Hall meeting to present its list of diversity demands.
“I’m kind of at an advantage because of my white privilege, so my suffering is self-inflicted,” Cowan told the Lawrence Journal-World. “Others don’t have that choice. It’s inflicted upon them.”
Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk is demanding, among other things, that more undocumented students be accepted to the university; the resignation of the student body president, vice president, and chief of staff; mandatory and intense “inclusion and belonging” training for all students, staff, faculty and administration; a concealed-weapons ban on campus; and the reopening of a murder investigation of Rick “Tiger” Dowdell, a black youth killed 45 years ago.
They are operating under the hashtags #HowMuchMore and #RockChalkInvisibleHawk. The Student Executive Committee pledged its support for all 15 demands, as well as asking the student Senate to take up impeachment measures if the three student leaders do not resign, according to the Journal-World.
University of South Carolina
A few hundred students who call themselves “2020 Vision” walked out of their classes on Monday, marching to the administration building and demanding changes at the university.
The group is demanding that minorities, LGBT students, and disabled students feel more at home and included.
Earlier this month a group of angry protesters surrounded Yale’s first black dean on the quad, demanding a public response to recent racial incidents on campus.
The students want black faculty added, racial-sensitivity training for freshmen instituted, and any administrators termed “racially inattentive” dismissed.
The dean was reportedly brought to tears and whispered, “I will,” when challenged to act by one student.
Americans have fought and died to advance the causes and rights of black Americans, and to advance a just racial climate for all. What would these past heroes think of today’s protests propped up by trendy hashtags and immune to considered discussion or rational thought?
“It’s almost like victimization is part of the college curriculum these days,” John Brubaker, 55, a long-haul truck driver from Hampton, Iowa, told LifeZette. “Now, everybody’s a victim.”
Perhaps they would echo what television host Bill Maher said recently on his show when speaking of the Yale protesters: “Who raised these little monsters?”
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