No your eyes are not deceiving you and no that is not a typo. Everyday at Western Washington University you can see someone with a “Feel the Bern” campaign button or sticker on their laptop. There are people handing out Bernie Sanders campaign paraphernalia in front of the fountain in Red Square on a semi-usual basis. Still, even I was somewhat surprised when I saw what some were trying to do to our school, after all what are we, the University of Missouri?
They have demanded…
- The creation of something called “College of Power and Liberation”
- The “De-colonizing” of the university while confronting “racism, misogyny, trans- and homo-phobia on this campus” (Click here for what “racism” looks like at WWU)
- “The creation and implementation of a 15 persxn (My best guess is person is sexist because “son” is a word that refers to a male child) paid student committee, The Office for Social Transformation, to monitor, document, and archive all racist, anti- black, transphobic, cissexist, misogynistic, ablest, homophobic, islamophobic, xenophobic, anti-semitism, and otherwise oppressive behavior on campus.”
- “…basic right to safety, comfort, and success…”
- Multicultural residence halls (The men of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment are rolling over in their graves)
- Compensation or reimbursement from the university for “for students who have experienced such institutional and administrative violence”
The comments section has not been kind to the proposers of these demands. Osama Bin Laden, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Joseph Stalin, Emmanuel Goldstein and Adolf Hitler have all satirically voiced approval. I have criticized outgoing President Bruce Shepard before, but he has come out and said that this “protest” is going nowhere,
The proposal would fundamentally contradict our policies, practices, mutually bargained contracts, and federal law and policy on such matters as faculty evaluation and discipline, student conduct and discipline, the investigation of alleged racist behaviors, and the planning of facilities, spaces and residence halls. I further find, in the proposal, language possibly threatening our core commitments to campus-wide inclusivity and, again possibly, to academic freedom. The proposal is also problematic, for it would have large budgetary impacts but is missing a critical component of any complete proposal; namely, a credible approach for funding.
These students would feel right at home in the Soviet Union during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Despite accepting the presence of rival leaders in the Bolshevik party at first, it was not long before Stalin turned on those same Bolsheviks and eliminated their dissent.
Legally, the people making these demands are adults. However, they are acting like little children by crying for their space spaces. Actually, that would be unfair to little children, as little children do not put X’s in words such as “person” and “history.” It would be funny if were not an authoritarian attempt to shut people up. They claim to speak for minorities, and yet they would voluntarily reverse all the gains that people like Martin Luther King Jr. marched for.
College is not about making people feel “safe” from the world. If you can’t handle challenges or hear other points of view, you do not belong on a college campus in a free country. Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant Commander Ernest Evans–who was Cherokee by ancestry, a fact which I am sure these students would find relevant–could teach these students a thing or two. Defying the safe space logic and echoing John Paul Jones, he said “I intend to go ‘in harm’s way,’ and anyone who doesn’t want to go along had better get off right now. (emphasis added)”
The students do not get to dictate people are allowed to say and think, and it is good to see that President Shepard has rejected their demands. However, these students did not just think of this on their own. They were taught to think this way, and that is a part of the university’s culture that needs to end.