Just when we thought we’d reached the apex of insanity on college campuses in America — with trigger warnings and safe spaces for coddled college students — now University of California, Berkeley stuns again.
Ahead of a speaking appearance on Thursday by conservative political commentator and talk show host Ben Shapiro, the university announced it will provide not only extreme safety measures — including building closures and parking restrictions — but also mental health counseling to students facing a meltdown by the mere idea that a conservative speaker is setting foot on campus.
“This is an important time for all of us as we work together to uphold our commitment to free speech and to the principles of community, including respect for the dignity of all members of our UC Berkeley community,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos in a statement to the school community.
Alivisatos went on to say: “We are deeply concerned about the impact some speakers may have on individuals’ sense of safety and belonging. No one should be made to feel threatened or harassed simply because of who they are or for what they believe.”
Let us get this straight.
The city of Berkeley recently turned a blind eye to the violence caused by masked left-wing anarchists and Antifa members at a protest at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. Yet now UC Berkeley is worried about the impact that Shapiro’s words, not actions, could have on pampered college students?
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A little disingenuous, don’t you think?
Here’s an idea. At the very least, public universities like Berkeley, which are funded by taxpayers, should consider scrapping subjects like gender studies and ethnic studies — which aim to indoctrinate rather than teach students. It should altogether replace them with courses on civics education. In doing so, by the time college students graduate, they might have some grasp of the true meaning of the First Amendment — and what free speech is really all about.
In “Big Agenda,” author David Horowitz notes that the steady purge of Republicans from academic faculties over the past 50 years has led to the transformation of academic curriculum into indoctrination for the political Left — which is why we are seeing viscerally negative outbursts from college students toward conservatives these days.
History is by far the least conservative-friendly department, where liberals eclipse conservatives by a ratio of 33.5-to-1.
According to a recent study of 7,243 professors in economics, law, psychology, history and journalism/communications at the 40 top-rated universities, 66 of 170 of those universities surveyed had no Republican faculty members whatsoever. And overall, liberal professors outnumber conservative scholars by nearly 12 to one.
Even more worrisome: History is by far the least conservative-friendly department, where liberals eclipse conservatives by a ratio of 33.5-to-1. And for this reason and myriad others, we need to hear from conservatives like Shapiro more now than ever.
Two other notes: Political rallies and protests in Berkeley this year “have cost East Bay police departments more than $1.5 million to keep the peace.” That’s according to law enforcement data reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle. Just saying. And those expenses will climb as Shapiro speaks this week.
And this: Campus Reform reports this morning that an anti-fascist group has been posting flyers around the Berkeley campus accusing Shapiro of “Fascist Intellectual Thuggery in the service of the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime.” This group also invites readers to “a people’s speak-out against white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, and fascism” — which is scheduled to coincide with Shapiro’s speech. It further advises students to walk out of Shapiro’s speech if they do decide to attend it this Thursday.
Elizabeth M. Economou writes about higher education, health, and real estate. She is a former adjunct professor and CNBC staff business writer.
(photo credit, homepage image: Jay Cross, Flickr; photo credit, article image: John Loo, Flickr)