The Closing Of The College Mind
Liberty University chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. spiked a column in the student newspaper that was critical of Donald Trump. That’s pretty shocking. If Falwell had spiked a column because it advocated something against the university’s understanding of Christian doctrine (e.g., a column defending abortion rights), it may or may not have been defensible, but it would have been at least understandable. If Falwell had spiked a column critical of him personally, it may or may not have been defensible, depending on the nature of the criticism, but again, it would at least have been understandable.
But this is completely indefensible. The Daily Beast published student Joel Schmeig’s column, written from the point of view of an athlete, contending that what Donald Trump said about women is not “locker room talk,” but something much more sinister. The column ends like this:
Ladies, please hear me when I say the words spoken by Trump are not normal. That is not what decent men talk about. Not even in high school. You mean so much more than that, and you deserve so much better than that.
Understand: the chancellor of Liberty University refuses to let this completely normal statement, especially coming from a Christian student, be published in the campus newspaper, because it criticizes his preferred political candidate. Unbelievable.
In other news from Christian academia, the priest who runs DePaul University, which is Catholic, has banned from campus a poster that says, “Unborn Lives Matter”:
Vincentian Father Dennis Holtschneider indicated to the university community on Friday in a letter that the “Unborn Lives Matter” message constituted “bigotry” occurring “under the cover of free speech,” The Daily Wire reports.
The College Republicans followed protocol in submitting the design for approval to promote the group, its pro-life views, and its meeting times before hanging the posters on campus.
However, the request made its way to Father Holtschneider, who responded that the administration would protect the university community from the pro-life message’s bigotry, the report said, and that the pro-life poster “provokes” members of the controversial Black Lives Matter political movement, the message of which is allowed on campus.
“By our nature, we are committed to developing arguments and exploring important issues that can be steeped in controversy and, oftentimes, emotion,” Father Holtschneider’s letter said. “Yet there will be times when some forms of speech challenge our grounding in Catholic and Vincentian values. When that happens, you will see us refuse to allow members of our community to be subjected to bigotry that occurs under the cover of free speech.”
So now it’s anti-Catholic to say “Unborn Lives Matter” on the campus of America’s largest Catholic university. Because … black lives are more important than the lives of the unborn? Really, Father Holtschneider? More to the point, one is not allowed to make this statement on campus, because it’s “bigotry”? Since when does Black Lives Matter get a veto on what can and cannot be said on campus?
Meanwhile, James Madison University has distributed a list of Things You Cannot Say On Campus — this, to make campus “safe and inclusive.” They include:
“I know exactly how you feel.”
“I don’t think of you as …”
“The same thing happens to me too.”
Message to students: don’t even try to express empathy!
“I don’t see color” or “I’m color blind.”
Message to students: don’t deny your guilt!
“It is so much better than it used to be. Just be patient.”
Message to students: don’t recognize social progress; things are still horrible!
“She/he is a good person. She/he didn’t mean anything by it.”
Message to students: don’t defend the guilty!
When people of faith say, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
Message to religious students: you are incapable of love if you do not affirm behavior or desire that your religion calls sinful
When white men say, “We are the ones being discriminated against now!”
Message to students: it is impossible to discriminate against white men, and it is blasphemy to assert otherwise
“I don’t see difference. We are all part of the same race, the human race.”
Message to students: believing in the shared humanity of all people is bigotry
“Here’s another book on political correctness.”
Message to students: political correctness does not exist; to say it does makes this campus unsafe, exclusive, and will not be tolerated
This kind of thing trains students to be timid, silent, fearful, and conformist. Parents should be wary about sending their kids to colleges that will cripple their minds like this, and put their kids at risk of stepping on a p.c. land mine for violating orthodoxy, and blowing up their college career.
Happily, the scholars at Heterodox Academy are out today with a list of the Top 150 Colleges In America, according to their tolerance for free speech and viewpoint diversity. Excerpt:
Our guide to colleges helps you evaluate schools on this question by integrating these four sources of information:
- Endorsed Chicago: Whether the university has endorsed the Chicago Principles on free expression
- FIRE Rating: Whether the school’s speech codes foster or infringe upon free speech. As rated by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
- ISI Rating: Is the school a reasonably welcoming place for conservative and libertarian students? Obtained from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) guide to Choosing the Right College. (We presume that open-minded progressive students would prefer not to attend a school at which students who are not on the left feel unwelcome, and are less likely to speak up.)
- Relevant Events Since 2014: Events on campus that indicate a commitment by faculty, administration, and/or students to protect or restrict free inquiry and viewpoint diversity. We ignore events that involve just a few students or professors and focus on those indicating broader sentiment, norms, or policy.
Read the whole thing. It’s important.