The intolerant, cancel-culture student mobs that now dominate on many campuses didn’t arise out of nothing. The ideas that animate them came from “progressive” faculty and have expanded such that even an innocent slip of the tongue can cause trouble.
In today’s Martin Center article, Professor Mark Bauerlein ponders this situation.
In the past, most faculty members were supportive of their students, going easy on them. The result? Bauerlein writes, “There is fear in the air. Classrooms and forums have lost their free-wheeling forensic. Professors are scared of the very youths they pledged to protect and enable. They no longer look at students as budding adults eager to learn. Instead, they see danger, and many episodes prove it.”
Remember, for example, the ugly confrontation at Yale, with a mob of students yelling at Professor Christakis over the trivial matter of Halloween costumes?
Faculty “used to seek areas of controversy as if such seeking were a professional responsibility, the duty of ‘relevance.’ Now, they avoid those areas as they would thin ice. They think twice about assigning books they’ve assigned for years, such as Huck Finn. They track the lexicon of correctness closely, which says that last year’s terms may get them in trouble this year. They’re wary of pronouns. Ever and always, they fear a complaint, especially one from a student of color. Even if they survive, the misery isn’t worth it.”
Thus, students get less of the education they’re paying so much for.
I recommend Bauerlein’s new book, The Dumbest Generation Grows Up.