Lauren Appell: Are universities finally standing up to the PC bullies?

In a shocking and recent twist, college administrators are showing they won’t be ruled and intimidated by the politically correct mob. They’re sending a clear message to the snowflake generation that people have different ideas and opinions in the real world and you have to learn to be — wait for it – tolerant.

The president of Taylor University in Indiana didn’t back down last week after students melted down when it was announced that Vice President Pence would be the commencement speaker at the private Christian college this year. Protests were immediately in the works and a change.org petition was started.

STUDENTS, ALUMNI OUTRAGED, 'SHAKING' AFTER VICE PRESIDENT PENCE INVITED TO GIVE COMMENCEMENT

Their grievance with the vice president speaking at graduation? They claim it makes everyone associated with the university “complicit in the Trump-Pence administration’s policies, which we believe are not consistent with the Christian ethic of love we hold dear.”

Puh-lease, you’re listening to him give an inspirational speech for roughly 45 minutes about all the opportunities that lie in front of you, you’re not being nominated for a Cabinet position.

The ringleader and Taylor alum behind the petition was a former Obama staffer — shocking. I suppose if Obama was the speaker, nobody would be complicit in anything and everyone could just “coexist.”  Isn’t that one of the pre-approved choice words of the PC crowd?

In fact, Amy Peterson, who’s an adjunct professor at Taylor, admitted just that, saying, “Had Taylor invited former President Barack Obama, the decision would have been a gesture toward reconciliation.” Of course it would have been. That’s because liberals define coexisting as existing together with their like-minded friends.

A counter change.org petition was started in support of the vice president, stating, “Taylor is by no means aligning themselves with the alleged controversial views of the Trump administration, they are simply giving a voice to all opinions and planes of thought.”

Freedom of speech, there’s a novel idea. For the politically correct mob who drive around with their “Coexist” bumper stickers, take note: this is what coexisting actually looks like. Respectful dialogue and discourse even with people with whom you don’t agree.

To its credit, Taylor is standing its ground, and in an original statement the university’s president Dr. Paul Lowell Haines said, “Mr. Pence has been a good friend to the University over many years, and is a Christian brother whose life and values have exemplified what we strive to instill in our graduates."

The vice president is a rarity in Washington. He keeps his foot out of his mouth and his life and values point to his integrity and respect for all people, which is why it’s hard to take anyone seriously when they purposely go after him. They either attack him because he’s too Christian or not Christian enough. Take your pick. They can’t decide, they just know it’s the politically correct thing to do.

Everyone has the right to respectfully express their thoughts and ideas. It’s called freedom.

Last week students at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts (UArts) launched a change.org petition to oust professor Camille Paglia for the unforgivable offense of refusing to toe the PC line. The failure to subscribe to identity politics is an egregious transgression in the world of liberal academia where political correctness is its guiding light.

The petition issued a laundry list of demands by the entitlement generation, as if this were a hostage situation and they were in charge. It’s not surprising because, let’s face it, in the past they’ve generally been told they were in charge.

They didn’t just demand Paglia be removed, they demanded to name the type of person to replace her, “a queer person of color.” For the record, Paglia is gay, but apparently she doesn’t meet their threshold for just how gay a person has to be in the PC world.

UArts president David Yager lowered the boom, issuing a statement in no uncertain terms that censorship of speech wasn’t going to happen at his university, saying, “My answer is simple: not now, not at UArts.”

It doesn’t get much clearer than that — no litmus test for political correctness or identity politics for faculty at UArts. Not on his watch. Now go back to class. Hopefully administrators around the country are taking note.

College was never meant to be a politically correct bubble where anything other than radical liberalism is censored, shut down and shut out.  After all, college is supposed to prepare you for the real world, not shield you from it.

We need to stop being so triggered by identity politics that our gut reaction is to silence what we don’t like, don’t agree with or don’t understand.

Everyone has the right to respectfully express their thoughts and ideas. It’s called freedom, and while it may be too soon to tell, if last week is any indication, clearer heads may be starting to prevail and it may be making a comeback.

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These administrators are reminding their students that a campus is a safe space for freedom. The question is will their actions start a trend and embolden more college administrators to stand up to the mob of bullies who want to silence speech? Or are these instances simply exceptions to the mob rule that threatens to reign over our universities? The commencement circuit will be very telling this season.

Future tuition-paying parents will be watching.

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