Nowhere is the struggle for America’s soul more fiercely fought these days than on college campuses. Now Rutgers University, a public institution based in New Jersey, is engaged in the latest scrimmage.
The Daily Targum, the campus newspaper, exploited the heinous Parkland, Florida, school shooting recently with an attack on the male gender — the hard Left’s latest target — by publishing an op-ed titled “Toxic masculinity plays role in prevalence of mass shootings.”
“This is not a critique of men, but a critique of the masculine gender box, a habitat constructed to teach men how they should behave and what men should value,” wrote contributor and Rutgers University junior Francesca Petrucci. “The box instructs its inhabitants to be financially stable, eat partially cooked animals and have a love affair with women and violence.”
Would the writer prefer that men — instead of going to work and earning a living for their families — stayed home and played video games while waiting for the mailman to deliver a welfare check?
The piece went on to say, “The box of masculinity praises male dominance and female subordinance, just find any Axe Body Spray commercial, which often shows several half-naked women crawling and fighting for one man’s attention.”
These outrageous comments would be almost comical if other sections of the op-ed didn’t implicate mental illness — which is no laughing matter.
“We often label these folks [school shooters] as ‘madmen’ with ‘mental illness,'” the piece continued. “But when will we begin to label masculinity as having gone ‘mad’?”
The op-ed contained these lines as well: “If mental illnesses like schizophrenia and personality disorder are influencers, we also must remember that only some express illness violently. Is it time to categorize toxic masculinity as a mental illness?”
There’s no doubt that articles like this one have conservative students not only alleging liberal bias across the campus (this one and others) — but also wondering what planet they’ve landed on, exactly.
LifeZette reached out to The Daily Targum for comment and clarification, but did not hear back before publication.
The Rutgers Conservative Union group is working to defund the campus publication by encouraging students to apply for a refund every semester. So far, some 280 students have requested a refund of $11.25 — the amount each student pays every semester to fund the official campus newspaper.
The group’s president and a Rutgers senior, Nick Knight, told LifeZette that several incidents inspired the effort to defund the paper. Those incidents included the alleged firing of a student reporter for using the term illegal alien, and an attempt by The Daily Targum to coerce a confession via email from the Rutgers Conservative Union for posting flyers on campus that said, “It’s okay to be white” — a claim Knight unequivocally denies.
“Our group absolutely did not take part in any such activities,” said Knight. “If you would like to see the email, please let us know and we will forward it to you.”
Since its forming about a year ago, the group has been the target of smears by The Daily Targum, according to Knight, who is still waiting for his refund; he applied for it more than a month ago, he said.
“There are already very few right-leaning clubs on campus, with the left-leaning clubs severely outnumbering them. I believe this led The Daily Targum to disparage our organization as soon as we formed at Rutgers,” he said.
Since 1980, The Daily Targum has existed as a private company — while most of its funding still comes from student fees, which the Rutgers Conservative Union is now fighting. With some 49,000 students on campus, The Targum collects an estimated $1 million every year, according to the Rutgers Conservative Union.
“As an independent, student-run, incorporated newspaper, The Daily Targum is not funded by the university and does not request funds from government associations, university groups, or departments for its operating costs. This keeps the editorial content free of influence,” reads a page from the university’s website.
Still, in this era of identity politics, it’s important to realize that liberal journalism professors outnumber conservative ones by a ratio of 20 to one — as revealed by the Klein Study, which researched the voter registration records of more than 7,200 professors at 40 of the top universities nationwide.
That disparity, to be sure, is troubling.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.