Current Page: U.S. | Thursday, April 16, 2015
College Like Kindergarten? Students Need Cookies, Coloring Books, Bubbles, Play-Doh, Blankies and Frolicking Puppies, Some Say

College Like Kindergarten? Students Need Cookies, Coloring Books, Bubbles, Play-Doh, Blankies and Frolicking Puppies, Some Say

He mentioned the case of Laura Kipnis, a professor in the department of radio, television, and film at Northwestern University, who wrote an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education decrying the "paranoia" on campuses over new sexual harassment policies.

Kipnis teaches film classes. Typically this means watching a film, engaging in class discussions about the film, and writing critical essays about the film. Two students approached her one day and asked that they be allowed to not participate in the viewing and class discussion for one film because it "triggered" something (they did not specify want). Kipnis wondered if she would be preparing them for life after college to grant their request.

"I had an image of her in a meeting with a bunch of execs, telling them that she couldn't watch one of the company's films because it was a trigger for her. She agreed this could be a problem, and sat in on the discussion with no discernable ill effects," Kipnis wrote.

In reaction to Kipnis' article, students (triggered students?) accused her of violent, "inflammatory" and "terrifying" ideas, and asked administrators to punish her.

Regarding the Kipnis case, the anonymous professor wrote: "This is a matter of real, palpable fear. Saying anything that goes against liberal orthodoxy is now grounds for a firin'. Even if you make a reasonable and respectful case, if you so much as cause your liberal students a second of complication or doubt you face the risk of demonstrations, public call-outs, and severe professional consequences."

The problem, the liberal professor continued, is not with his conservative students.

"Personally, liberal students scare the [expletive] out of me," the professor wrote.

If a conservative student complains to administrators about his liberal bias, the professor explained, he still gets to keep his job. But one wrong move that upsets a liberal student, even if it is unintentional or just makes them uncomfortable, and, the professor fears, his career could be over.

"Is this paranoid?" he continued. "Yes, of course. But paranoia isn't uncalled for within the current academic job climate. Jobs are really, really, really, really hard to get. And since no reasonable person wants to put their livelihood in danger, we reasonably do not take any risks vis-a-vis momentarily upsetting liberal students. And so we leave upsetting truths unspoken, uncomfortable texts unread."

In 2013, about 25 UCLA graduate students in the Department of Education protested one of their professors for correcting their grammar in a course desinged to prepare them to write a dissertation. By pointing out that "indigenous" should not be capitalized, and by preferring the Chicago Manual of Style over the American Psychological Association style guide, the professor was guilty of "microaggressions" against students of color and "contributed to a hostile class climate," the protestors claimed.

This story, and other examples of microaggressions posted to (such as asking someone if they have ever been to Europe), prompted one combat veteran to write: "Generations of Americans experienced actual trauma. Our greatest generation survived the Depression, then fought the worst war in humanity's history, then built the United States into the most successful nation that has ever existed. They didn't accomplish any of that by being crystal eggshells that would shatter at the slightest provocation, they didn't demand society change to protect their tender feelings. They simply dealt with the hardships of their past and moved on."

That article was intially removed from Facebook, because it was "detected to be unsafe."


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