‘Collaboration’ with irrational activists is no virtue
Sarah Lawrence College has had quite a week. On Monday students there occupied a campus building and issued a list of several dozen demands, among them free laundry detergent, free meals and storage for certain students, mandatory diversity training, a scholarship that excludes white people, and the censure of a conservative professor who wrote some things the students didn’t like.
The president of the school later issued a statement in which she promised “collaboration” with the students who were making a comical farce out of her university. To her credit, President Cristle Judd unequivocally rebuked the students’ request that the conservative professor be targeted by the college. But in opening the door for “collaboration” regarding the other demands, Judd joins a long list of colleges that have ceded valuable ground to hysterical student activists. There is no merit in it.
Many of the demands—for free laundry detergent, special housing for “students of color,” a racially discriminatory scholarship program, orders for new diversity-related classes that “must be taught by professors who are a part of the culture they are teaching about”—range from the merely silly to the outright unhinged. Judd missed an opportunity to affirm just who is in charge at Sarah Lawrence. It should be incumbent upon a school’s administration to tell students in no uncertain terms: “You will not dictate who we hire, what classes they teach, who can live where, and who is entitled to what kind of aid.” If students do not like the way a school is run, they are welcome to go to another one; seizing control of a public space and ordering a college to implement certain policies is not something that any school should stand for.
All of this underscores an obvious truth: Sarah Lawrence is not, as the students insist, a place where “injustices [are] imposed on people of color” on a “daily basis.” Like every other selective, elite, highly-sought-after institution of higher learning, the college is assuredly one of the most tolerant and welcoming places for anyone who gains access to it (aside from conservatives, one supposes). Judd also missed an opportunity to point out in no uncertain terms just how divorced from reality these activists really are. This will very likely not end well for her, or for Sarah Lawrence.
IMAGE: notkoo / Shutterstock.com