Monday, June 19, 2017

Who Do College Speakers Need Protection From?

During the past few months several prominent authors and columnists have been invited to speak on college campuses... then dis-invited them, citing security concerns. So, why can't the schools provide adequate security? Just who is threatening violence? What is their justification?

From my perspective in the mountains of Utah, it looks like the schools are kowtowing to radicals among their students and faculty. On various occasions the administrators have told area law enforcement to stay away, to let the barbarians break windows and burn things.

What most of us don't know is how many times this has happened at colleges and universities throughout history. It didn't begin with the election of Donald J Trump. It didn't start with the Vietnam War. One of the earliest occurrences in the US happened at Thomas Jefferson's pride and joy, the University of Virginia.

According to an article by Carlos Santos in the Virginia Magazine, in 1825 "Jefferson, a scant seven months after the school had opened, had called the students to the Rotunda to chastise them for their egregious behavior, which he termed 'vicious irregularities,' after the hooliganism had escalated into the school's first riot. The students were hostile. His professors were threatening to quit. Jefferson's enemies, and they were legion, were ready to pounce and shutter the school they considered a godless playground of the rich."

See for more details and accounts both of this event and of riots at Yale and Harvard. Then there was the time a University of Virginia professor was murdered...

So, my points are these:

  • Colleges and universities have a long history of failing to demand and get civilized behavior from their students.
  • This has resulted in students taking over buildings and assaulting people with no consequences. 
  • Many of their faculty members, once radical students themselves, side with the young hooligans "on principle."
  • These attitudes have led to many dysfunctional approaches to problems in academia, including pampered students who face no punishment or notoriety for their criminal behavior.
None of this will end until and unless those who reflexively contribute to their various alma maters decide to quit feeding the beast. Money talks, and the lack of money talks even louder!

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