There is seemingly no limit to what coddling and overindulgent (or scared and intimidated) university administrators will do to keep identity politics-wielding student cultists happy and quiet
Late last year, an undercover reporter from Project Veritas posing as a student went to university administrators in several colleges to complain about somebody handing out copies of the US Constitution on campus. The Constitution, explains the student, is having a triggering effect and causing her panic attacks because of the document’s inherent racism and oppression.
We all know what comes next. Naturally, the university administrators tell the student to grow up and stop being silly, and that even if the United States Constitution (with all its brilliance and acknowledged flaws) was not an almost sacred document and the guarantor of every single one of their liberties, they would no sooner ban it from campus than they would ban any other book or document.
Except that that isn’t close to what actually happened. In real life, infantilising student welfare administrators listened with concerned attention to the undercover reporter’s tale about being made to feel unsafe by America’s foundational document, nodding along sympathetically at every turn.
And not only did these professors and equal opportunities directors fail in each case to push back against the reporter’s tremulous plea for their respective colleges to create a safer space by removing all copies of the Constitution from campus, in one case they actually offered – unprompted – to destroy the document there and then as a means of providing catharsis and healing to the student.
At Vassar College in New York state, the “student” told Kelly Grab, the Assistant Director of Equal Opportunity:
Last week something kind of happened on campus that kind of really upset me and I ended up having a panic attack.
[..] They were handing the Constitution out on campus. I don’t know, they were handing it out and as soon as I saw it, you know, I started to not be able to breathe, hyperventilating. My vision went blurry and I just – kind of just lost control.
[..] I didn’t think that this would happen, but I realised that the Constitution is kind of a trigger for me.
And rather than telling the undercover reporter to take a hike, Grab responded:
So what I think you are sharing with me is that your interaction in receiving this was harming, right? And that’s what we certainly want to avoid. We don’t want to limit people in exchanging ideas or having opposing viewpoints, but when it’s disruptive or causing harm…
While at Oberlin college in Ohio, Professor of History and Director of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, Carol Lasser, tells the person she believes to be a student traumatised by the Constitution:
The Constitution is an oppressive document. The Constitution makes change slow, it intends to make change slow.
And then adds, sotto voce:
Right now, given who is in charge of the US House of Representatives, I think it’s a good thing.
Darn that pesky Constitution and its checks and balances for making it hard to impose the latest left-wing thinking on an uncertain America all at once. But at least it is also making it harder for those evil, knuckle-dragging Republicans to kill anyone who is not white, male and on at least $100k a year. Amiright?
But the best response comes from Colleen Cohen, then Director of Affirmative Action and Professor of Anthropology at Vassar College:
It’s horrible that this is something that has caused you such pain. And unless the people are from off campus we can’t keep them from disseminating it.
[..] Can I destroy this? Or do you want to hold on to it?
We already knew that there is a dramatically expanding “equal opportunities” sector within (particularly American) academic institutions, with faculties growing to accommodate ever more impeccably credentialed and highly paid experts brought in to help universities submit more quickly and smoothly to the identity politics revolution.
But until now, many of the horror stories had an apocryphal feel to them – or worse still, they smacked of Daily Mail alarmism. No more. Now, we have hard evidence of exactly how these inclusivity gurus interact with students, and the extreme trade-offs they are willing to make between academic freedom and the rights of the “oppressed”.
And in a battle between the foundational document of the United States government and the rights of any random student to have things which they dislike purged from campus, it turns out there is no contest. The Constitution literally goes in the shredder, while the tearful student (in these instances an undercover reporter) is continually validated and told that they have every right to be upset and to want censorship in response.
Goodness knows how many other similar conversations have been taking place on other university campuses, only with real students. In order to emphasise their own message, Project Veritas deliberately chose very liberal colleges as their guinea pigs – the undercover reporter certainly would have received a much more refreshingly forceful reaction had they attempted the same stunt at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, for example.
But regardless of the obscenity of college administrators actually shredding the United States Constitution (certainly doing so is itself a protected act of free speech), something is seriously wrong when those in authority either buy in to the same identity politics dogma as their students and see eye to eye with them, or when they perhaps vehemently disagree with their students but are too afraid for their jobs to stand up to the students and call them out for behaving in a manner utterly inconsistent with the ethos of a university.
So forget the shredding of the Constitution itself. Far more worrying in practical terms is the fact that when dealing with student complaints, the default response from university administrators is that the student’s feelings, whatever they happen to be, are sacrosanct, and that anything which they perceive as a threat or an insult should be treated as such by campus authorities.
And at this point, you have to defer to age – it is the older adults in charge of universities and campus diversity schemes who should exhibit the wisdom and character to push back on ludicrous student demands when they are made, and tell the adult baby students that their own personal feelings are in fact not the overriding concern of the university authorities. Right now, they are failing in this most important responsibility, and the thought of any university administrator dispensing much needed tough love is apparently completely unrealistic at Vassar and Oberlin colleges.
This undercover reporter managed to get at least three separate copies of the US Constitution shredded – literally fed into a shredder machine and destroyed while she stood and watched approvingly – simply by claiming that the document made her feel threatened and oppressed. Imagine the emboldening effect experienced by real students every day when their equally ludicrous demands are taken deadly seriously and cravenly pandered to by those in charge. Imagine the sense of entitlement and self-regard that it must build.
And imagine the almighty collision with reality which these students face when they graduate and (some of them, at least) enter the real world.
Postscript: This insufferable Vassar student’s aggrieved response to the Project Veritas undercover filming shows the level of intellectual disconnect here. The student is utterly incapable of understanding the reason for conducting the undercover filming, perceiving it as an attack on the confidentiality of real students (none of whom had anything more than a walk-on bit part) and the mental wellbeing of the very administrators who were so happy to destroy the US Constitution.
I don’t know how one can possibly reason with people like this, or communicate meaningfully with anybody who has percolated for so long in a victimhood culture, and who speaks only in the hierarchical grievance language of identity politics.
While there are things we can do now to change the way we raise kids, like re-learning the importance of building resilience and anti-fragility – what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger – in our children, it is hard to view the current cohort of identity politics practising students (appreciating that they are hopefully just about still a minority among their peers) as anything other than a lost generation, whose best and last hope rests on a harsh but highly instructive collision with the real world after graduation.
That is, if they survive the impact.
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