5-16-14 – The opposite of diversity is university

Posted by Rob Roper 

It’s graduation time, and the prestige for higher education institutions seems to come not from bagging the most respected speaker to talk, but rather seeing whom you can heckle into shutting up. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education recently released some numbers that illustrate this alarming trend:

Between 1987 and 2008, there were 48 protests of planned speeches, not all for graduations, that led to 21 incidents of an invited guest not speaking. Since 2009 there have been 95 protests, resulting in 39 cancellations….

 Why is this alarming? For a couple of reasons. The first is best articulated by Seth Mandel in his Commentary post, What if College is Making People Stupid? Here he writes that in these “leftist institutions steeped in leftist values” the “out-of-control speech police,… combined with the unwillingness to even listen to those who might disagree with them, raises the distinct possibility that colleges are producing brainless authoritarians.” Emphasis on the word “brainless.”

College, particularly a liberal arts education, is supposed to teach students how to think critically by exposing them to a number of different subjects, ideas and perspectives. The goal is to create a well rounded human being. Instead, our institutions of “higher learning” are teaching young adults to be narrow minded, ignorant bullies. The fact that families are paying through the nose so that their children can be shaped by this nonsense just adds serious insult to serious injury.

As the parent of a high school student who will begin looking at colleges soon (too soon), I have to ask myself, why would I ever consider spending $30, $40, or $50 thousand a year to an institution – or allow my child to go into serious debt to finance an “education” in one of these places – if these are the kind of life lessons they are teaching?

At some point soon, parents are going to have to take a stand and refuse to pay tuition to schools that engage in or condone this kind of action. Somebody has to be the adult in the room. It’s not the kids. Apparently it’s not the faculty and administrations. It’s got to be the parents, and it’s time for us to start voting with our feet.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Alice D May 18, 2014 at 12:14 am

Our son is at Norwich University. I recently asked him if this attitude was prevalent. He shrugged it off ” Maybe a little. I don’t pay attention to them”. It’s on parents to send their kids to university prepared to find their own way.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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