Skip to comments.Barbarians at the Campus Gates: Why colleges cave to the demands of student activists
Posted on 05/21/2013 8:49:06 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
An all-too-familiar scene was enacted on the campus of Swarthmore College during a meeting on May 4 to discuss demands by student activists for the college to divest itself of its investments in companies that deal in fossil fuels. As a speaker was beginning a presentation to show how many millions of dollars such a disinvestment would cost the college, student activists invaded the meeting, seized the microphone, and shouted down a student who rose in the audience to object.
Although there were professors and administrators in the room including the college president apparently nobody had the guts to put a stop to these storm-trooper tactics. Nor is it likely that there will be any punishment of those who put their own desires above the rights of others. On the contrary, these students went on to demand mandatory campus teach-ins, and the administration caved on that demand. Among their other demands are that courses on ethnic studies, and on gender and sexuality, be made a requirement for graduation.
Just what is it that academics have to fear if they stand up for common decency, instead of letting campus barbarians run amok? At a prestigious college like Swarthmore, every student who trampled on other peoples rights could be expelled and there would be plenty of prospective students available to take their places. Although colleges and universities across the country have been giving in to storm-trooper tactics ever since the nationwide campus disruptions of the 1960s, not all have. Back in the 1960s, the University of Chicago was a rare exception. As Professor George J. Stigler, a Nobel Prizewinning economist, put it in his memoirs, our faculty united behind the expulsion of a large number of young barbarians. The sky did not fall. There was no bloodbath. The University of Chicago was in fact spared some of the worst nonsense that more compliant institutions were permanently saddled with in the years that followed as a result of their failure of nerve in the 60s. When the nationwide campus disruptions and violence of the 1960s gave way to quieter times in the 1970s, many academics congratulated themselves on having restored peace. But it was the peace of surrender.
Creating whole departments of ethnic, gender, and other studies was part of the price of academic peace. All too often, these studies are about propaganda rather than serious education. Academic campuses have become among the least free places in America. Speech codes, vaguely worded but zealously applied to those who dare to say anything that is not politically correct, have become the norm. Few professors would dare to publish research or teach a course debunking the claims made in various ethnic, gender, or other studies courses.
Why did all this happen? Partly because of the lure of the path of least resistance, especially to academic administrators and faculty. But there was no such widespread surrender to every noisy and belligerent group of student activists prior to the 1960s. Moreover, the example of the University of Chicago showed that surrender was not inevitable.
The cost of resistance to the campus barbarians may not have been the only factor. Resistance requires a sense that there is something worth defending. But decades of dumbed-down education have produced people with no sense of the importance of a moral framework within which freedom and civil discourse can flourish. Without a moral framework, there is nothing left but immediate self-indulgence by some and the path of least resistance by others. Neither can sustain a free society. Disruptive activists indulge their egos in the name of idealism and others cave rather than fight.
Its not just academics who wont defend decency. Trustees could fire college presidents who cave in to storm-trooper tactics. Donors could stop donating to institutions that have sold out their principles to appease the campus barbarians. But when nobody is willing to defend civilized standards, the barbarians win.
Whether on college campuses or among nations on the world stage, if the battle comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are bound to win.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
The fact that they manage to bluff so many people for so long is why we've lost the culture.
Those barbarians who were demonstrating in the 60’s and 70’s now run those same colleges and universities. So they actually agree with the new crop of savages. I, for one, have cut off support to my college, which has made it a mission to move increasingly to the left with each passing year.
Community organizers now becoming campus organizers. Well at least Obama will have a job if he gets impeached in the near future.
“As ye sow so shall ye reap”
These idiots on our campuses will be paying one hell of a price for their actions.
Because the activist groups are desired by the financial cabal, the same cabal that runs school endowments (ergo, runs the universities), the foundations, etc.
For example, “workers of the world unite” is the way new world order gets all the workers to line up and submit to financial slavery, run by the cabal.
Left-wing activists are all working for the international banking cabal, they’re just too stupid to find out who planned and funded the activist group they joined.
Our entire Western Civilization is collapsing from Third World assaults. Universities are institutions which are a part of that collapsing civilization. It is natural that our Universities would be assaulted by Third World conquerors as they are the future. It is not that the Third World has any particular virtue, they don’t their lives are living proof of their ineptitude. It is due to an abdication of the right to rule by Western man.
to discuss demands by student activists for the college to divest itself of its investments in companies that deal in fossil fuels.
Choice or replies.
1. PISS OFF.......
2. Okay as long as we can pass the loss of revenue along to you and all the rest off the students..
You are the FIRST I’ve ever read to hit the truth so accurately. These “professors, deans, and university staff” are the “Children of the ‘60’s” who have NEVER left the campus. Maybe not the same campus, but still on a campus.
They stand in agreement with the radical activists, and live in regret of their own aging.
These loud mouthed twerps describe themselves as students.
He/she who identifies as a STUDENT is publicly admitting they they “do NOT know”, which is why they are studying.
I believe the more the lack of knowledge, the more is the surety that the ignorant belief is the correct one.
That's the only solution but most alums seem more interested in supporting a winning football team than defending liberty -- if they even understand what's happening.
I agree with your analysis with one addition: I worked for a university in the Sixties and believe the Barbarians found it easy to take them over because most faculty and administration at that time were their ideological allies. Now the only way to win is to starve the beast.
Indeed, and if just a few of the people in the auditorium had stood up to those limp-wristed activists, the whole incident would have ended.
Let me guess? Twelve students put up to do this by their ‘professors’ - and all of them getting credit for the ‘protest’. When they’re older they can get jobs with Occupy... they advertise on Craig’sList and don’t pay squat....
Same here. And when I get alumni fund raising calls, I open up a can of whoop ass on the caller...they are shocked that anyone would mock & deride a liberal/socialist/fascist university. I emphasize the label "fascist" and love to hear the gasping & stuttering on the other end of the line.
Tell them their tuition will have to go up to replace the money they’ll lose by divesting from these companies and they’ll shut the hell up.