What is Happening to America's Universities?

University: “An institution of higher education offering tuition in mainly non-vocational subjects and typically having the power to confer degrees.”  (Oxford University Press, 2010 as quoted in Wikipedia)

“An important idea in the definition of a university is the notion of academic freedom.”  (Wikipedia – emphasis added)

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  (First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – emphasis added)
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I have been fond of saying that the faculties of our colleges and universities consist largely of unreconstructed hippies from the 1960s, trading in their tie-died shirts and sandals for caps and gowns (and sometimes wearing the former when teaching classes).
Back in the sixties, college campuses were hotbeds of protest, focusing on civil rights, the Vietnam War, feminism, etc.  The idea was to present points of view that, so they claimed, were not being heard or were being ignored.   Fair enough, that is one of the things a university is for (see “Academic Freedom” above).    Today, however, these once “radical” ideas have become not only the norm but par t and parcel of an absolutist dogma that one dares not to differ from.  Woe betide the student that violates campus “speech codes” regardless of freedom of speech (see “First Amendment” above).

A disturbing trend on most campuses is the absolute intolerance of sponsoring speakers who have a point of view that is even slightly to the right of Karl Marx.  Rather than listen to what they have to say, right-of-center speakers (if they are allowed to speak at all), are routinely booed, hissed at, shouted down, have items thrown at them and, in some cases, physically attacked.  Usually it starts with a crowd of students shouting leftist slogans at the top of their lungs and escalates into some of them attacking the stage.  The usual result?  The speaker has to stop and is escorted out of the hall or whatever venue he/she dared to “desecrate” with “hate speech.”  And the response from the university administration?  It was all a “misunderstanding” or you can’t blame the students for protesting because the speaker “didn’t represent the school’s core values” or some such.   In other words, they stood by and let it happen, blaming the speaker rather than the Neanderthals who started the commotion in the first place.

Ayann Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born woman who has been beaten and mutilated because she dares to criticize Islam, especially the treatment of women.  She helped produce a documentary film entitled “Honor Diaries” about the subject and, of course, has come under attack from the “Muslim community” for “Islamophobia.” Some screenings have been shut down on some campuses due to protests from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (“CAIR”), itself a group with alleged ties to terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.   Recently Brandeis University was going to award Ali an honorary degree but then — guess what?  The “Muslim community” protested and voila!  — they changed their minds.  An award to Ali was “not in line with the universities ‘core values.'”  (Like what?  Cowardice?  Appeasement?)  Irony of ironies – Brandeis is a Jewish-sponsored institution.


Meanwhile at Dartmouth College, students occupied the president’s office and presented 72 demands such as racial quotas in admissions policy and faculty appointments.   They also want health plans to cover sex-change operations, and “gender-neutral bathrooms.”  What did the president do?  Throw them out?  Expel them?  No, he said “I deeply empathize with them.”  (National Review, 5 May 2014).


Recently at University of California, Santa Barbara, a radical leftist professor, Mirelle Miller-Young, basically attacked a group of anti-abortion protestors (who were in a so-called “Free Speech Zone”), walked off with one of their signs, and destroyed it.  Ms Miller-Young “teaches in the Department of Feminist Studies (‘an interdisciplinary discipline that produces cutting-edge research,’ offers an undergraduate major and minor, and houses ‘the minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer studies.’)”  (www.Lucianne.com, 22 March 2014).   What, may I ask, is a “free-speech zone?”  Is not the whole country a “free-speech zone?”  (See “First Amendment” above.)  The good news?  Miler-Young was charged with misdemeanor theft, battery, and vandalism. Now here’s the bad news — all she got was a slap on the wrist:

“The College Fix is reporting that Miller-Young has avoided jail time in her assault of the 16-year old prolifer, an attack that left red scratches and marks on the teen’s arms. Instead, a judge is requiring that she attend anger management classes, participate in community service, and pay $493 in restitution to the teenager who was the victim of her assault.”


Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was supposed to be this year’s commencement speaker at Rutgers University but the scheduling was  protested by university professors.  The same thing happened at the University of Minnesota where another scheduled speech by Dr. Rice was protested by professors at that school.  Her sin?  This brilliant, self-made woman who grew up as a black girl in segregated Alabama and who made it to one of the highest offices in the land served in the Bush administration. Horror of horrors!

“NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pulled out of delivering the commencement speech at Rutgers University in New Jersey on Saturday, following a months-long protest by students and faculty over her role in the Iraq war.” (Yahoo News)

Score one for the intolerant and the narrow-minded. Sad. Really sad.


Here is an example what can happen when you run afoul of “PC” tyranny. Omar Mahood, a University of Michigan student, got fired from the school paper for publishing a piece of satire. He was charged with “creating a hostile environment” and ordered to write an apology. I wonder what H. L. Mencken would be saying if he were alive today. The piece is very funny and anyone who is “offended” by it needs surgery in the part of the brain that controls the sense of humor. Here’s the article: http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/20236/

In California — where else? — a motion was passed in a meeting to urge the school to divest itself from companies doing business with Israel. When some Jewish students stood outside with Israeli flags, Muslim students shouted “Allahu Akbar” at them. Now, if this had happened in reverse, I’m sure the Jewish students would have been penalized for “creating a hostile environment” or some other nonsense. The bigger point is the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and it’s some of the Islamic countries we should consider not doing business with, not our only ally. Here’s the link to the article: http://www.breitbart.com/california/2015/02/02/islamist-students-shout-allahu-akbar-at-uc-davis/

“The Associated Students of University of California, Irvine (ASUCI) have decided that the American flag is ‘offensive’ and has now banned Old Glory from the ‘inclusive space’ on campus.”

Yes, you read that right.

I have read few things as utterly disgusting and just plain WRONG as the words I’ve quoted below:

“The bill, R50-70, was authored by Social Ecology Representative Matthew Guevara, and accuses all flags, especially, the American flag, of being ‘symbols of patriotism or weapons for nationalism.’

‘[F]lags construct paradigms of conformity and sets [sic] homogenized standards for others to obtain which in this country typically are idolized as freedom, equality, and democracy.’

“The legislation argues that flags may be interpreted differently; the American flag, for example, can represent ‘American Exceptionalism and superiority,’ as well as oppression.

‘[T]he American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism,’ the bill continues, arguing that ‘symbolism has negative and positive aspects that are interpreted differently by individuals.’

The anti-flag hanging bill adds that free speech, such as flags in inclusive spaces, can be interpreted as hate speech.

‘[F]reedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible [,] can be interpreted as hate speech,’ the bill reads.”


pc university update

And now, of course, we have the utterly ridiculous goings-on at some universities where students are demanding administrators step down because of a few “racist” incidents. At Missouri (“Mizzou”) they were successful in getting the university president to resign.  Of course, a lot of student demonstrators at other colleges, including Yale, are demanding free tuition and forgiveness of student loans!  Naturally, they have no idea as to how this would be paid for.  They are demanding “safe zones” where students would be “safe” from opinions and ideas they disagree with — a clear violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

I could go on as this stuff takes place in college campuses on a daily basis.  A university is supposed to be a place for learning and a free exchange of ideas, not a strictly regulated palace of radical inculcation that tolerates no opposition to the “party line.” The high priests and priestesses of “political correctness” occupy influential positions in government and, especially, in academia.  Every day we read of “PC running amuck” with dire consequences for people who believe in the First Amendment.

This does not bode well for the future of the Republic.