Quote of the Day:
Graduates of the Class of 2016 are leaving behind campuses that have become petri dishes of extreme political correctness and heading out into a world without trigger warnings, safe spaces and free speech zones, with no rules forbidding offensive verbal conduct or microaggressions, and where the names of cruel, rapacious capitalists are embossed in brass and granite on buildings across the land. Baby seals during the Canadian hunting season may have a better chance of survival.
–Newsweek magazine's must-read cover story on the battle against free speech on campus
In a devastatingly succinct headline on the cover of the new issue, Newsweek magazine sums up what's gone wrong with campus protests:
The Battle against "Hate Speech" on Campus Gives Rise to a Generation that Hates Speech
Looks like the battle against free speech on campus is an equal opportunity mind destroyer, hitting "offensive" speech on right and left. Newsweek's story begins with two illustrations of this point:
During his 18 years as president of Lebanon Valley College during the middle of the past century, Clyde Lynch led the tiny Pennsylvania liberal arts institution through the tribulations of the Great Depression and World War II, then raised $550,000 to build a new gymnasium before he died in 1950. In gratitude, college trustees named that new building after him.
Neither Lynch nor those trustees could have predicted there would come a day when students would demand that his name be stripped from the Lynch Memorial Hall because the word lynch has “racial overtones.” But that day did come.
When playwright Eve Ensler wrote The Vagina Monologues, which premiered in 1996 and has been performed thousands of times by actors, celebrities and college students, she probably did not foresee a day when a performance of her feminist agitprop would be canceled because it was offensive to “women without vaginas.” And yet that day did come—at Mount Holyoke, one of the nation’s premier women’s colleges.
According to Newsweek, the parchments handed out at graduation ceremonies will look the same, but they will represent an "education" scrubbed of much of the traditional content of an education. The poet Ovid? Can't read–might trigger sexual assault. Touch the a copy of the U.S. Constitution–don't do it! You have to be inside a zone specifically designated for free speech to touch the Constitution, which might offend the modern student in all sorts of ways. And certainly, it is impossible to have a discussion about affirmative action policies. The endeavor itself is fraught with potential of microaggressions that might play into stereotypes.
According to the magazine, more than half of U.S. colleges and universities, including some of the most prestigious, have restrictive speech codes. The article cites FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) to the effect that 217 have codes that "unambiguously impede free speech." Authors, politicians, business people are now routinely banned from speaking on U.S. campuses
Rather than tut-tutting this as merely the sensibility of an overly sensitive generation, Newsweek compares the atmosphere of the contemporary campus to George Orwell’s Oceania with its Thought Police, or East Germany under the Stasi.