Pouty in Portland: College Activists Stamp Their Feet and Get Results

Progressive student bullies — throwing around words like 'oppressive' and 'caucasoid' — target Reed's humanities curriculum

Oregon’s Reed College decided last week it must completely retool a humanities course that teaches students about the ideals of truth, virtue and freedom. The texts used in the class are now inappropriate, according to Reedies Against Racism, a progressive student group that appears to be bending the college administration to its will.

These students say the materials used in the course are “oppressive,” and also something they’re calling “caucasoid.” (Yup, the “problem” of “white privilege” rears its ugly head again on an American campus.)

In a scathing piece last week, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board blasted the Portland, Oregon college for its decision to overhaul its core humanities course after student bullies derided the curriculum for “perpetuating white supremacy.”

One Los Angeles-based professional familiar with this campus development and others sees this as more political correctness run amuck.

“This is Portland, a city so crazed with promoting identity politics that last year a couple of white women were forced to close their Mexican burrito food cart business after being attacked for engaging in cultural appropriation,” Bill Becker, president, CEO, and chief counsel at Freedom X, a nonprofit law firm that supports conservative causes, told LifeZette by email regarding the controversy.

The group apparently has been trying to change this curriculum for at least a year; students disrupted a faculty presentation and were filmed doing so. The video was dated last year (see the video right above this paragraph).

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“For more than 70 years, the 1,500-student private liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon, has required every freshman to take a year-long course covering the Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman canon [Humanities 110],” noted the WSJ editorial. “Through these texts, students explore ‘issues of continuing relevance pertaining to ideals of truth, beauty, virtue, justice, happiness and freedom, as well as challenges posed by social inequality, war, power and prejudice,’ according to the course description. These themes transcend race, gender and culture.”

Reedies Against Racism claimed too many writers included in the course material were white men –– including such giants of world history as Aristotle. That ancient Greek philosopher and scientist is still today revered as one of the greatest thinkers of all time in the areas of politics, psychology and ethics.

“The proper response to the disruption caused by Reedies Against Racism would be to adjudicate through the school’s judicial process,” said Becker. The decision “may also be a breach of contract held between the school and these [course-enrolled] students.”

He also noted an unfortunate reality.

“The administration is comprised of social justice warriors, so it chooses to cave to pressure. After all, these students are only doing what their professors did when they were hippies in college. Because this is a private university, the First Amendment doesn’t constrain these antics,” Becker explained.

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LifeZette reached out to Reed’s public affairs staff, and Kevin Myers, director of communications, denied that the decision to revamp the Humanities 101 curriculum had anything to do with political correctness gone awry.

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The wholesale eradication of great thinkers of the past is all part of progress, according to Reed University. “This new syllabus represents an enormous undertaking and commitment on the part of the Hum[anities] faculty and marks an important moment in the evolution of the class,” noted the dean of the faculty, Nigel Nicholson, in Reed Magazine.

Looking clearly at all of this, an aim to placate student activists with revisionist history appears to be the only goal –– or at least the most important one.

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage image: Reed College, CC BY 2.0, by Dale Cruse; photo credit, article image: Bragdon Hall, Reed College, CC BY-SA 3.0, by Another Believer)

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