Mob Rule on Campus
'Race brats,' free speech foes, gain ground as college officials cave to pressure
Mob rule is infecting major U.S. universities as students enforcing political correctness wage war on free speech and require acceptance of their grievances.
The University of Missouri made headlines after football players went on strike to protest the administration’s failure to combat a racist “climate” that allegedly exists on the campus. Though there is no evidence to suggest this so-called climate was ever more than a mere handful of unrelated incidents, the racial rabble-rousers managed to force both the president and chancellor of the university to resign.
Yale University was in the news twice in one week, first as video footage emerged of a hysterical student screaming and swearing at Nicholas Christakis, Yale’s Silliman College headmaster, for an email his wife, who is a professor, had written suggesting that students enjoy Halloween and not be so concerned with “offensive” costumes.
Days later, attendees at the appropriately titled — and timed — “Fifth Annual Conference on the Future of Free Speech: Threats in Higher Education and Beyond” found themselves subjected to a chanting lynch mob that took issue with one attendee’s joke regarding the shrieking Silliman student.
It would be nice to think these are but extreme, isolated incidents. But unfortunately, the student displays at Yale and Missouri — and the campus climates that created them — are part of a pattern that is becoming the norm. Indeed, a situation similar to the events at Missouri is unfolding at New York's Ithaca College, as its president, Tom Rochon, is coming under increasing pressure from both students and faculty to resign for failing to address a supposedly negative racial climate on campus.
In a civilized age, each would likely have been summarily expelled for their vulgar behavior and blatant disrespect for authority.
Much like Missouri, closer scrutiny reveals that the “negative racial climate” at Ithaca is in fact a mere three unrelated incidents that many would find about as racist as unicorns are real. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop Ithaca faculty members Tuesday from voting to hold a no-confidence vote regarding Rochon.
What do the Missouri football players, Silliman’s resident harridan, and the unruly mob of Yale students who showed up to make known their hatred of humor have in common? In a civilized age, each likely would have been summarily expelled for their vulgar behavior and blatant disrespect for authority.
Unfortunately, a civilized age this is not. And what these students share instead is an overwhelming fear of experiencing discomfort, and a pathological need to be isolated from anything with which they disagree or find offensive. And they are waging a kind of tyranny over those who disagree with them.
Colleges themselves are partly to blame for creating this thinking. Universities, which are supposed to be arenas for learning about democratic virtues like openness and assumption of innocence, are instead teaching students the value of Robespierre-style civic action.
A 2014 report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education found that 60 percent of the colleges and universities analyzed “maintain policies that seriously infringe upon free speech rights of students.” Such policies contribute directly to many students’ belief that they have a God-given right to go through life without ever being offended.
Ohio's Kenyon College, for example, holds students subject to discipline for any words or behavior that “offends the sensibilities of others.”
Thanks to decades of political correctness run amok and the near constant promulgation of victimhood narratives and identity politics by the mainstream media, Democrats, and liberal educators, it has never been easier to offend student sensibilities.
Many universities have long been little more than leftist madrasas.
But many universities have long been little more than leftist madrasas, and student social-justice warriors tilting at “racist” or “sexist” or “homophobic” windmills is nothing new. This insidious desire for “safe spaces,” however, and the hysterical, 1690s-Salemesque climate it creates on campuses, is something new entirely.
The difference between the leftist college students of 2015 compared to even the leftist college students of 2005, is that today’s crop of coeds is the first to have been raised entirely in a society in which hurting someone’s feelings is seen as objectively wrong. They are the inevitable product of the everyone-gets-a-trophy culture, educated in an environment that placed a higher premium on their self-esteem than success.
Is it any wonder then that so many of these students believe that it is their administrators’ job to — in the words of Yale’s wailing woman — “create a place of comfort and home” and not “an intellectual space”?