I have been pretty vocal about my general disdain for "higher education" in this country. A lot of my concern has focused on the cost of a college degree. The other side of my general disgust with the university system in America is that what it is providing and producing is a farce, the very opposite of what it claims (open-minded, broadly educated, critical thinking graduates).
Even 20 years ago when I was in college it was a laughable enterprise, the classes were incredibly easy and the students by and large were not noticeably more intelligent than the general populace, concerned mostly with getting wasted the next weekend. I can say without a hint of hyperbole that the only thing I got out of my B.A. is a gateway to my first few professional jobs that required a 4-year degree just because that is what H.R./recruiting types seem to think you need. I have met quite a few people in my career without a 4-year degree who are bright, competent hard-working people and I have met a TON of people with a degree that couldn't reason their way out of an overturned laundry basket.
Things have gotten worse in the intervening two decades. Much worse. While political correctness was pretty rampant when I was in school, it has degenerated to unimaginable levels in our current environment. It is not a stretch to say that the only apparent purpose in the institutions of "higher education" today is to inculcate a particular, decidedly illiberal, leftist worldview on students.
Exhibit A, students at Columbia Law School are being allowed to delay final exams because they just can't handle the news these days,
Columbia Law School has agreed to delay final exams for students who face "trauma" and disillusionment following two recent, racially-charged cases in which grand juries declined to indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men. And now, students at Harvard and Georgetown want the same dispensation, also saying they just can't face their tests in the wake of the grand jury decisions in Missouri and New York.
"For some law students, particularly, though not only, students of color, this chain of events is all the more profound as it threatens to undermine a sense that the law is a fundamental pillar of society to protect fairness, due process and equality," Robert E. Scott, Columbia's interim dean, told the school in an email Saturday.
Poor dears. Practicing law is such a low stress job, I am sure that this will help prepare them for a career in law.
Exhibit B, the President of Smith College is forced to apologize for saying that "all lives matter". Why is that a problem? Well apparently she was unaware that saying that cheapens the critical hashtag campaign of #blacklivesmatter.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette, which first covered the story, quoted one Smith sophomore, Cecelia Lim, as saying, “it felt like she was invalidating the experience of black lives.”
In response to student backlash, McCartney apologized in another campus-wide email Friday, saying she had made a mistake “despite my best intentions.”
She wrote that the problem with the phrase lay in how others had used it.
“I regret that I was unaware the phrase/hashtag “all lives matter” has been used by some to draw attention away from the focus on institutional violence against Black people,” she wrote.
In her apology e-mail, McCartney also shared some of the student emails she received.
She quoted one student as saying: “It minimizes the anti-blackness of this the current situation; yes, all lives matter, but not all lives are being targeted for police brutality. The black students at this school deserve to have their specific struggles and pain recognized, not dissolved into the larger student body."
So all lives sort of matter but the only ones we can talk about on campus, where of course we explore all points of view, are black lives because those are the ones that get the most political capital. We are deep in the PC fever swamp when saying all lives matter gets you into trouble.
Exhibit C, George Will is going to be one of the commencement speakers at Michigan State University. Turns out that his politically incorrect statements on the golden calf of "campus rape" is expected to draw more than 700 protesters. Now I am not sure how you gauhe the number of protesters beforehand (kinda like the 'Million Man March') but hey it makes for good press.
"It makes me really, really sad to call myself a Spartan, to even feel I belong to this institution," said Emily Kollaritsch, a senior and one of the organizers of Wednesday's rally. "He might have his opinion, but for the university to affiliate with him is another story. They are affiliating with a rape apologist."
One faculty member, Assistant Sociology Professor Stephanie Nawyn, said his appearance sends a bad message in light of an ongoing federal investigation into MSU's handling of sexual assault cases. The Department of Education has two open Title IX compliance cases against MSU for assault reports made in July 2011 and February this year.
"I am concerned, as are other faculty, that bringing an individual to our campus that has publicly invalidated and dismissed the traumatic experiences that some of our graduates have had sends an inaccurate message to our students," Nawyn said in an email. "Will is not just giving a speech; he is part of one of the biggest days of our graduates' lives, and I want that day to include messages that the Spartan community respects and treasures all of our students."
Nawyn is among a group of faculty who are organizing a second or alternate alternative graduation ceremony for students who are not comfortable sitting through Will's appearance. Details of the ceremony were not yet finalized as of Tuesday afternoon.
Curse you George Will! You are making poor Emily Kollaritsch sad! Really, really sad no less! The last thing we want at the commencement address of kids who have received four years of learning to be open-minded is a viewpoint that makes them uncomfortable or might cause them to ask questions.
Then there is the granddaddy of them all (oh sorry, that was probably an overly patriarchal expression), the Rolling Stone debacle where a "journalist" was apparently fishing for the worst rape story they could come up and found a real dozy at the University of Virginia. Except that it turns out to not be exactly true. That doesn't matter though because the "rape culture" narrative is all that is important. Check this out, in the Washington Post no less, from Zerlina Maxwell.
In important ways, this is wrong. We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist. Even if Jackie fabricated her account, U-Va. should have taken her word for it during the period while they endeavored to prove or disprove the accusation. This is not a legal argument about what standards we should use in the courts; it’s a moral one, about what happens outside the legal system.
Weird, because I thought we had a presumption of innocence until guilt is proved. If I say that Ms. Maxell stole my car even though she has never been within 500 miles of it, we should assume I am correct. Facts don't matter, the narrative does. What is really interesting is that the title of the story changed. It now reads: No matter what Jackie said, we should generally believe rape claims but look at the hyperlink which doesn't change when the title does: http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/06/no-matter-what-jackie-said-we-should-automatically-believe-rape-claims/ The key word that changed is AUTOMATICALLY. Her original title was changed and this is documented but I don't think for a second that what she believes has changed. A charge of rape should automatically be believed. No facts, no evidence. Rape, which is a horrific crime, has been reduced to a tool to push a political agenda and all that matter is the agenda. It doesn't matter that false accusations damage the credibility of other, actual, rape victims. It only matters that the agenda is advanced, Jonah Goldberg at National Review does a good job of dissecting this whole fiasco as a smokescreen for an expansion of Title IX i nhis article The Feminist Power Grab.
Here is the moral of this story. Send your kids to trade school so they can learn something that will get them a decent job and encourage them to read books on their own, lots of books by lots of different people with different opinions. If they do go to a 4 year school stay away from the "elite" schools and stick to smaller local schools and for crying out loud steer way clear of the "liberal arts". If you are going to invest that kind of money and time at least come out with a degree that will lead to employment. There is no point in spending tens of thousands of dollars and years of your life to be force-fed leftist dogma in an environment where contrary views, even those held by the vast majority of Americans, are forbidden.