The Truth about College Campus Activism
I have been attending college for quite sometime and I’ve noticed a pattern that I believe that needs to be addressed. We are now in a generation that believes in educating and pushing everyone to attend college to achieve much better opportunities. These universities seek to empower their students by standing on principles of higher education and diversity of people and ideas. However, there seems to be an attack on free thought in universities and it worries me that some of these institutions may be indoctrinating, rather than teaching. An ideology that focuses on shutting out opposing ideas has planted itself in leftist liberalism, seems to have flooded these institutions. This is especially evident, but not limited to, in historical, political, and humanities courses. I am a firm believer that “sunlight is the best disinfectant”, which means that horrible and great ideas should be openly discussed and shown so that any free thinker can evaluate them and decide, with intelligent thought, as to whether which ideas are great and not so great. Objectivity should not be sacrificed because it “offends” an individual or particular group, but rather be seen an opportunity for open discussion. It’s very important that we stand firm on colleges to focus on facts, reason, and evidence, rather than irrational emotions. Now please understand that this isn’t to cause any division between our fellow classmates and professors, or to argue what side is correct over the other, but rather to inform and become more aware of the dangers of attacking the diversities of ideas.
Silence, my feelings are hurt!
An analysis by Pew Research Center has survey data that says 40% of American millennia’s would agree with banning free speech if it offended minority groups. I know a few will ask, “Why is this a problem” or “why does it matter to me?” It matters because we open the Pandora’s box of shutting out new research ideas and information because someone claims its “offensive.” Objectivity and empiricism has rapidly declined over the years due to this environment created for providing safe havens for “triggered” students and professors. This ideology has seemed to invade college campuses and students, as well as professors, have begun to attach themselves on. Examples of these events include: Yale banning t-shirts that labeled Harvard as “sissies”, as well as college campuses creating “safe spaces” for students because some other organization with an opposing view “offends” them. Brown University held a debate with the founder of feminisiting.com vs. a libertarian, Wendy McElroy, about campus sexual assault. Some students created a “safe zone” for anyone who felt their experiences were “invalidating” and feared being “triggered” during the meeting. As you may have noticed, the term “triggering” has been quite the popular term nowadays. During the meeting, a room containing cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and a video of puppies was put in place for individuals who could not “tolerate” the subject. Oxford University’s Christ Church canceled a debate regarding abortion because self claimed feminists threatened to disrupt the debate because the would-be debaters were only men. Many universities have implemented speech codes, which prohibit any expression that may seem “offensive.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, defines these speech codes as “any university regulation or policy that prohibits expression that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large.” Central New Mexico Community College had its own incident when administrators suspended The CNM Chronicle because of a controversial article published in March of 2013 due to its topic on sex. CNM later reinstated the article after public outcry regarding the censorship.
Being in three different colleges has allowed me to recognize some patterns with my professors in many different courses. Many of them were liberal/democrats, which I understand that is perfectly fine until those beliefs are following into the same sect of individuals who believe in banning any opposing viewpoints without any rational arguments or discussions. This troubles me as a student when it comes to writing assignments because I either must chose a position and topic relative to the professor’s view, or suffer a grade loss for an opposing one. The lack of diversity when it comes to ideas in colleges and universities is quite prevalent. I find that quite ironic because I hear these institutions rave on about diversity. As students, I believe its imperative that we encourage the exchanging of ideas as long as we use reason and evidence, while focusing on a non-aggression principle. Without a doubt, every college student understands that educations in these institutions are relatively expensive. With that in mind, it’s important for students, as well as professors, to protect the exchanging of free thought and ideas. As long as we focus on that methodology, it will lead us to the direction intellectually by using facts. Not doing so leaves us receiving the short end of the stick when it comes to education. Understand that people will have different and opposing viewpoints than our own individual ones, but protecting their right to have those different ideas fuels critical thinking. Is this important? It certainly is. Is it relevant? It absolutely is. Will some people call facts “hate facts?” Well, only if you hate facts.