Hope: Not All College Students Have Lost Their Minds
If you’ve been following the recent demonstrations going on at the University of Missouri, Claremont McKenna, and Princeton, you may be deeply concerned about the future of this country. And for good reason. When college professors and deans are being forced to resign for literally nothing at all, there’s a big problem. When students are suddenly “oppressed” by statues and former presidents, you may be forgiven for thinking the world has gone mad.
But if a group called the Princeton Open Campus Coalition is any indication, maybe there is still hope for an America where reason and logic trump emotion and idiocy.
The Coalition was formed in response to the recent campus protests, most of which were directed towards the legacy of President Woodrow Wilson (of all things.) According to the protesters (black students and allies), Wilson’s history of racially questionable policies makes him unfit to enjoy an honorable presence on campus. Students claimed that seeing his name on the buildings and his mural in the cafeteria made them feel “unsafe.” They organized a lock-in event that only ended when Princeton officials promised to take their requests under advisement.
Now the Coalition is pleading with Princeton’s leaders not to give in to every irrational demand these protesters make.
“We are concerned mainly with the importance of preserving an intellectual culture in which all members of the Princeton community feel free to engage in civil discussion and to express their convictions without fear of being subjected to intimidation or abuse,” the group wrote in an open letter to Princeton’s president.
The letter goes on to challenge both the protests themselves and the specific demands made by the disgruntled minorities. “To adopt these tactics while procedures for debate and reform are in place is to come dangerously close to the line dividing demonstration from intimidation.”
The Coalition pointed out the obvious truth about efforts to remove Wilson’s legacy from the Princeton campus. “If we cease honoring flawed individuals, there will be no names adorning our buildings, no statues decorating our courtyards, and no biographies capable of inspiring future generations.”
They conclude with a powerful statement that every university in the country should adopt as their new motto:
We firmly believe that there should be no space at a university in which any member of the community, student or faculty, is “safe” from having his or her most cherished and even identity-forming values challenged. It is the very mission of the university to seek truth by subjecting all beliefs to critical, rational scrutiny.
Unfortunately, well-written letters and reasonable arguments and “truth” aren’t much valued in 2015’s version of America. You want to be heard? Go riot. You want people to stop drawing religious figures? Go kill them. We are rewarding terrible, inhuman behavior while pretending that we’re just suddenly “enlightened.” You’re not enlightened. You’re scared to death. And every time one of these universities gives in to these ridiculous demands, they are only making the problem worse.
But hey, if you like the idea of living in a country where we submit to violence and threats – where we assume that white people can never be right if their ideas conflict with those of minorities – keep on keeping on. You’re going to get exactly what you want.