Most of us are familiar with the ideological madness that has gripped higher education over the past few years. Yet, as College Fix editor Daniel Payne argues in The Wall Street Journal this week, there is an “even more intolerant brand” of progressive activism on the rise at colleges and universities across the country.
This ideology, Payne writes, “isn’t merely allergic to dissenting ideas but is opposed even to ideas about dissenting ideas,” with activists “taking pains to avoid even thinking about thoughts with which they disagree.”
Payne writes on a recent controversy at Washington College in Maryland, in which students successfully lobbied to shut down a campus play just a day before it was to open:
The aggrieved students were upset that the play, Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner,” depicts the evil antics of the Ku Klux Klan. But the play doesn’t show Klan members in a sympathetic light—on the contrary, they’re the villains of the piece, and they get their comeuppance in the end. Yet students were deeply upset by the Klan costumes the actors would wear, so the play had to go.
Payne also highlights several cases of professors suffering consequences for having spoken the “n-word,” not as a racial insult but merely as a reference word:
An employee at the University of North Texas lost her job after referring to the N-word as an example of constitutionally protected speech. Students demanded her firing, claiming that her use of the word proved she was racist. At Augsburg University in Minneapolis, a professor uttered the word while discussing a James Baldwin text that itself used the word. That professor was suspended after a student outcry. A professor at the University of Kansas got booted off the tenure track after referring to the word during a class session.
Payne also writes about the rise of “bias response teams” in which students often report wholly inoffensive incidents solely because they were offended by an opposing idea. One professor, for instance, got reported to a bias response team because he displayed a Trump sticker in his office window.
Payne writes that both college administrator and students share the blame, the former because they have enabled this madness for so long, and the latter because they allowed themselves to become “hyperpartisan fanatics…enmeshed in a silly, thought-free ideology.”
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