A group of students at Western Washington University used their own right to free speech to disrupt a pro–free-speech lecture — calling the idea of complete free speech “violent” — and apparently, they don’t understand the irony.
According to an article in the school’s official student newspaper, the Western Front, Professor Jonathan Zimmerman was about to begin his “Censorship and Free Speech in the Age of Trump” lecture when he was disrupted by a group of students carrying signs reading “Advocating for the right to racist, sexist and transphobic speech is violent” and “Your safe space is violent.”
One wonders what exactly is being taught at colleges / universities these days, not to mention what the “student experience” today is like in comparison not only to my own in the early 80’s, but my children’s in the early aughts.
The only “demonstration” I ever attended was when my National Guard unit was mobilized in 1986 and issued full riot gear to protect buses of African-American protesters from the bottles and rocks being hurled at them by Klansmen in Forsyth County, Georgia – And the only “marches” I attended were military style full ruck and equipment forced marches organized for the Corps of Cadets by the Commandant’s Office or for extracurricular military associations.
The politics of the time were decidedly different, of course…Ronald Reagan was president, the Soviet Union was our nemesis (oh wait…despite President Obama’s mocking of Mitt Romney’s characterization of Russia as our enemy, Obama’s party is quite decidedly convinced that Putin’s nation is, in fact, public enemy number one today), Vietnam was very near in the rear view mirror, and most of us were itching for the Soviets to try something, anything, so that we’d have an opportunity for our own war. Later, when I served at the Fulda Gap, my thinking in that regard “evolved”, of course, even the senior brass’s opinion was that should the Red Army decide to roll through the gap, my outfit was toast – And I had a wife and young son to look after by then.
But college, ah, college. Even at a Senior Military College, where all but perhaps 3-4 male commuter students were members of the Corps of Cadets, the only housing was barracks-style dormitories, a curfew was in place requiring one be in one’s bunk at “Taps” (midnight) Sunday – Thursday, no fraternity houses existed (though fraternities (and sororities, for the female students, who were not required to be members of the Corps of Cadets) certainly did), no alcohol or contraband were permitted on campus, much less in student housing, and instead of “RA’s”, we had Cadet Company Commanders who received “command pay” for performing essentially the same duties an RA would, with the additional responsibility for the behavior of every Cadet under their command, whether they were present or not, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we had fun. Yes, our parties were outdoors, in the forests and mountains, away from the eyes of the campus authorities, and yes, even as Cadets, we already practiced the army officer’s traditional avoidance of political discussion, but we talked and argued about everything else – Hippy punching was simply taken for granted, given our environment and circumstances.
My children attended college under George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s presidencies, my son 100% during Bush the younger’s second term, and my daughters under Obama’s first and second terms. None of them followed their Dad’s military education (unsurprisingly – I admonished each of them from first through twelfth grades that they should choose any career but the military…I had chosen it for the G.I. Bill benefits and because my own father was a career army officer, but in my mind my having done so absolved them of any responsibility to do the same), my son briefly attended a Technical college before dropping out and doing precisely what I’d asked him not to – Enlisting in the army! My oldest daughter attended a small local college, residing off-campus in an apartment shared with two of her best friends from high school, and avoided campus activities altogether in favor of an amount of partying that shocked and frightened my bride and I for four years, but still graduating with a solid 3.4 GPA, and my youngest daughter attended George Mason University in Virginia on a partial academic scholarship, studying so furiously that she pulled a 4.0 GPA and summa cum laude status at graduation – She had no time or interest in the pandemonium of political advocacy and social justice warfare that was taking Mason by storm, but she involved herself anyhow, in order to fit in with the rest of the students. Many were the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays that I nearly bit through my lip on several occasions to keep from arguing with opinions she threw out freely…I kept my mouth shut, suffered the accusations of being the antithesis of what a man my age should be, and paid my portion of her tuition, room, and board, thanking God daily for the partial scholarship that allowed her to attend a quality university. Parents, I figured, weren’t put on Earth to argue with their children, but to support them and love them, trusting that life would teach them the lessons they refused to learn at home.
Once again, we were lucky, my bride and I. Our children, even though two of them had every opportunity to do so, did not buy into the social justice warfare that was already overwhelming educational opportunities across the nation, and for that I’m grateful. But I worry, I worry quite a lot, actually, about the educational opportunities that will be afforded my grandchildren. Not that they’ll be financially strapped or unable to afford college, we’re taking care of that, as we did for our children, but what will they actually be taught? Critical thinking? Logic? Debate? A solid grounding in the liberal arts?
Given what I read today, I doubt it. I really, really do. I think they will, regardless of the personalities they develop, be indoctrinated by radical, elitist professors, administrators, and faculty, and further warped by their peers, who will be 100% engrossed in appearing to be more radically progressive than the other students, so much so that actual learning will fall by the wayside. It is already happening today, and I see no reason to believe anything will change by the time they are of college age.
There’s a reason to despair, if I have no other.
UPDATE: Hmmm…Perhaps the Infantry god doesn’t want me in despair. It was he, after all, who used to tell me daily: “You can quit tomorrow”.
Recently offered by House Education Committee Republicans, the PROSPER Act includes several elements that were “influenced by or were taken directly from” a model bill offered by the due process group Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, SAVE said in an email.
It pointed to an explicit pledge that institutions can’t be sanctioned or lose federal funding for delaying or suspending their own sexual-assault investigations “in response to a request from a law enforcement agency or a prosecutor.” Colleges often launch their own investigations – driven as much by PR as the search for the truth – while police investigations are ongoing.
The bill also requires the investigation and disciplinary proceeding to be “prompt, impartial, and fair” to both parties; give “all parties to the proceeding … adequate written notice of the allegation” at least two weeks before a hearing; and give everyone access to “all material evidence” at least a week before a hearing.
That much would seem to make all the sense in the world under the law, but after the last administration’s advocacy for Title IX abuse, it can’t be taken for granted.