I am not overselling this, by the way. Ohio State officials were trying to deal with a student protest – the kind where the people involved scratch their heads and try to decide what they hate more: genetically modified organisms, or Jews – and came up with a novel approach: enforcing the rules. Want to protest? Fine. Want to take over school buildings when they’re supposed to be closed, and scaring building workers in the process? Not fine. In fact, the school would have the cops arrest people, in that case.
The protesters responded to this simple statement with mockery and derision and attempts to shout out the officials. Par for the course, in other words. So then the Magic Word was uttered, at about 2:48.
The word, of course, was “Expelled.” A transcript of the relevant passage, with a little help from PJ Media:
OSU official: OK, we’ve told you, and all we can do is be honest with you. Now, if you’re here at five o’clock [AM], our current philosophy is we are going to take you out, and escort you out of the building, and arrest you. You will be discharged from school also. I’m fairly confident of that. I don’t want you to be surprised; I want you to make good decisions. You’re smart kids.
Student: Discharged as in?
OSU official: Expelled.
I don’t try to use the gaming metaphors too often, but: that word had the same effect on those students as an area-effect Calm spell would have. You could almost visibly see those kids suddenly realize that they were on a path that would inexorably lead to them having to call their parents tomorrow to explain why those parents would need to show up with bail money, and a moving van. In light of that, calling for divesting from Caterpillar suddenly seemed a bit less… urgent, you know what I mean? Certainly the students did: they were all out of the building by 12:30 AM.
Now, let us be clear about something: dropping the E-Bomb is not in fact something that university faculty should do lightly. It is, in fact, potentially abusive. But so is disrupting school business for the latest Lefty Cause du jour. In fact, the latter is much more often actually abusive. Basically, ‘civil disobedience’ does not mean ‘I can safely ignore or break laws or rules that I have a personal problem with.’ It means ‘I am willing to go to jail or worse to protest this law or rule that I have a personal problem with, and now that’s your problem, too.’ What happened at OSU was that the kids finally got educated as to the difference.
Wow. Kids getting an education at college. The mind reels.