Every administrator, professor or student leader who caves to a mob of extremists only encourages their outbursts. It’s critical that everyone involved in higher education fight back against the radical agendas of leftist activists, whose vitriol and misguided narratives continue to spread from one university campus to another.
The College Fix would like to recognize those – presidents, professors and students alike – who have recently stood up to campus bullies, spoken some truth, demanded common sense, and fought for the true role of the university in the public square.
What follows are examples of what needs to be done when confronted with the demands of over-sensitive students run amok.
‘This is not a day care. It’s a university.’
First, in an open letter titled “This is not a day care. It’s a university!” the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Everett Piper, wrote a scathing response to a student who claimed to have been “victimized” by a recent sermon.
“It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love! In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable,” Piper stated. “I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic! Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims! Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them ‘feel bad’ about themselves, is a ‘hater,’ a ‘bigot,’ an ‘oppressor,’ and a ‘victimizer.'”
“Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a ‘safe place,’ but rather, a place to learn,” Piper continued. “To learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up!”
‘When I leave Vanderbilt, it will be on my own terms’
A conservative, Christian law professor at Vanderbilt University, Carol Swain, showed similar courage when responding to calls from students for her removal because of her personal views on radical Islam, the state of race relations in America, and other hot-button topics.
In a Facebook post, Swain responded by saying: “I am scheduled to teach two courses at Vanderbilt during the spring semester. Any of the students attacking me are welcome to enroll in one of my classes. I will treat them with the respect I have always shown students. In the current controversy … I would like to see the Vanderbilt campus become more open to conservative thought. I would also like to see the Vanderbilt administrators take steps to restore the rights of conservative Christian student groups. When I leave Vanderbilt, it will be on my own terms. It will not be because of a group of bullies and their enablers.”
‘You have no right to be unoffended’
Another conservative Christian professor, Mike Adams of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, started his class off this semester with a speech that went viral:
“Let’s get something straight right now. You have no right to be unoffended. You have a right to be offended with regularity. It is the price you pay for living in a free society. If you don’t understand that you are confused and dangerously so. In part, I blame your high school teachers for failing to teach you basic civics before you got your diploma. Most of you went to the public high schools, which are a disaster. Don’t tell me that offended you. I went to a public high school.”
‘We are not racist for having different opinions’
Hundreds of students at Claremont McKenna College have taken a stand against protests claiming that their campus is a racist hotbed of microaggresions.
Among them are the editors of the Claremont Independent campus publication, who stated in an editorial: “We are not racist for having different opinions. We are not immoral because we don’t buy the flawed rhetoric of a spiteful movement. We are not evil because we don’t want this movement to tear across our campuses completely unchecked. We are no longer afraid to be voices of dissent.”
Hurt feelings do not trump First Amendment
Yale administrator Nicholas Christakis was a shining example of calm in the face of rage when he politely explained to the student screaming in his face why she should not be sheltered from controversial ideas and why the First Amendment trumps her hurt feelings. The exchange was captured on a now-viral video. It is unfortunate that Christakis had to later apologize for doing nothing wrong except trying to teach a student about the laws and realities of this nation.
Princeton students stand against radical peers
Student protestors at Princeton University recently stormed the president’s office, accused the Ivy League school of systemic racism, and made a series of demands for increased “diversity” and to remove President Woodrow Wilson’s namesake from the school.
In response, brave students, faculty and others at the school have disagreed with the outraged. A petition signed by nearly 2,000 stands in stark contrast to the demands of the Princeton Black Justice League. It states in part that “free speech is fundamental to Princeton’s role as an institution of higher learning and excessive political correctness stifles academic discourse.”
It adds that “any steps to purge this campus of its Wilsonian legacy creates a dangerous precedent and slippery slope that will be cited by future students who seek to purge the past of those who fail to live up to modern standards of morality.” As for protesters’ calls for racially segregated housing, the petition says it is “anathematic not only to the university’s purported goal of promoting a diverse student body but also to the core values of American society.”
These examples are a far cry from the feckless college presidents who have given in to student protestors’ demands recently. If all campus leaders acted with courage and fortitude in the face of baseless accusations, these protests would not have spread so far and wide.