Something bad didn’t take place on the campuses of American colleges and universities. The cries of black students calling for protection (in academic jargon “a safe space”) were received by student bodies with a collective shrug of the shoulders.
This is unusual. At the risk of hurting feelings, students are suckers for an emotional cause. They want to fix everything their elders broke.
To want change is good.
To believe that all change is good is naiveté .
Enter the American college student. Stage left.
Too inexperienced to heed opposing views (especially their parents’), too easily captivated by emotional issues to check facts, too gullible to suspect they ought to; todays college students are a demonstration waiting to happen.
Give them a cause that fits their whimsical sense of the intolerable and they will arise.
In October, social justice and diversity warriors launched a series of protests in more than 60 colleges – from UC Berkeley to Harvard –demanding that college officials rescue them from a climate of racism on their campuses.
Student demands ranged from dumping the Harvard Seal because it includes the family crest of Isaac Royall Jr. (1719 – 1781) a “wealthy and ruthless” slaveholder” to calls for Yale University to strip the name and imagery of Woodrow Wilson (13th president of Princeton, 28th President of the US) from all of its institutions and buildings because he supported racial segregation.
Despite the profound, life changing impact on all Americans these demands implied, the one that carried the day was at the University of Missouri.
On November 3, Jonathan Butler, a Master’s candidate struggling to disentangle the complexities of Educational Leadership and Administration, wrote a letter to the Missouri Curators announcing that because “…a slew of racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. incidents…”had not received a suitable response from University President, Tim Wolfe, he was going on a hunger strike.
So 11 months after a black student was elected Student Body President by an overwhelmingly white student population, black students arose en masse protesting a racially charged campus atmosphere.
In his letter to the University curators, Butler declared, “During this hunger strike, I will not consume any food or nutritional sustenance (a good start) at the expense of my health until either Tim Wolfe is removed from office or my internal organs fail and my life is lost…”
With all the grace of an elephant exiting a snowdrift, President Wolfe executed the Liberal Academician Grovel and resigned.
Triggering this drama was a swastika drawn (backwards) in fecal matter, scrawled on a unisex bathroom wall (coincidentally several swastikas drawn on sidewalks appeared at Yale three weeks earlier).
Though unaccompanied by any racial inferences, the symbol carried insult sufficient to drive Mr. Butler toward death by starvation.
Given the “racially charged atmosphere” declared by Butler, the incident should have brought a thorough investigation of the facts if only to ascertain that the swastika was not the handy-work of a homeless drunk.
There is, on today’s college campuses, a demonstrable lack of interest in facts.
For one thing, Butler’s protesting “…a slew of racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. incidents…”smacks of conscious embellishment.
By definition, racists are conservatives and conservative students on today’s college campuses are few and endangered.
Our public schools produce college-bound students swaddled in progressive idealism. I believe that at least 85 percent of the students attending any American university are liberal.
Deduct from the remaining 15 percent those conservatives who are not racists, exclude students who actually focus upon graduating, eliminate racists who don’t like blacks but don’t go around drawing swastikas and it’s hard to envision how the remaining handful of activist racists (who surely know the proper configuration of a swastika) could create a “campus-wide racially hostile atmosphere.”
All things considered, the demonstrations on the MU campus appear contrived.
True or not, something important didn’t happen.
Historically, college-student demonstrations start in October and May, reaching a crescendo sufficient to close down the university over final week thereby sabotaging final exams. And also thereby encouraging the participation of students who are more eager to block exams that support the cause.
In any event it didn’t happen.
By the end of November, the demonstrations ended as presidents of universities cringed, kowtowed and apologized, acceding to student demands.
Unnecessarily, it seems.
At Missouri, videos of the demonstrations revealed skimpy crowds comprised largely of under-whelmed students, texting or chatting among themselves clearly more curious than inspired.
The cropped video of the female Yale student screaming obscenities at a professor that appeared on the evening news failed to reveal an unenthusiastic crowd of five.
College students across the nation, normally quite inflammable, stayed away.
Perhaps it was because the black victimization caper has run its course. Perhaps students feel that racism isn’t the problem it once was. For whatever reason, the nationwide wave of demonstrations died of malnutrition.
One final thought.
It may have occurred to Missouri students, just as it did to me, that the fecal swastika virtuoso wasn’t white.