The environment on college campuses is no longer about having debates — it is about ending them. The unfortunate reality is that institutionalized censorship through coercion and intimidation is widely accepted — and the witch-hunt of non-conformists is ignored.
According to a recent poll by Young America’s Foundation, a large proportion of students support censorship. In fact, University of Michigan students can call up the ‘bias-crime’ hotline and report ‘acts of intolerance.’
Purposeful or not, the ‘bias-crime’ sounds eerily similar to ‘thought-crime’ from Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”
While it is unknown how many students received disciplinary action, the idea that the university can pursue ‘a range of remedies that may include disciplinary action as well as community education and dialogue,’ is frightening to students and intimidates them into silence. One could call this crazy, but the university lists ‘crazy’ as an offensive, banned word in the Inclusive Language Campaign launched last year.
Who would have thought that saying ‘crazy’ could be a ‘bias-crime’?
Furthermore, as seen around the country and at Mizzou in particular, instead of judging a person based upon the content of their character, it is now based upon ‘privilege’ determined by the color of their skin. This is used as a tool to end debate, and as a result, it prevents students from thinking critically about the root causes of disparities and from coming up with specific, pragmatic solutions to solve them. Racism is bad, but labeling someone a racist based upon the color of their skin is just as racist.
At a University of Michigan rally supporting Mizzou protesters, there were no discussions about addressing the socioeconomic struggles of people in inner cities, of which there are larger populations of minorities. There was no talk of improving inner-city schools, the criminal justice system, or public safety, yet there were constant complaints that the university is racist. I would be standing with leaders of the rally if they were serious about addressing the root causes of lower minority enrollment with unifying, long-term, pragmatic solutions.
Speaking of solutions: a few weeks ago I attended a ‘Diversity Summit’ held by the university, where I suggested more intellectual diversity (i.e., more conservative professors). No one took up my suggestion; no one even discussed it. They say they want more diversity, but in reality they want more of the same.
And, when students like myself organized a demonstration in support of free speech, we were told to die, labeled as rapists and idiots, and told that we have ‘privilege.’ A personal favorite is a tweet from a law student that read, “If my kid grew up to be Grant Strobl, I would acknowledge my failure as a parent and toss him into an active volcano.”
One of our supporters, who is of Dominican descent, was questioned as to why she was advocating for free speech when these politically correct policies benefit her. The obvious irony of this is that all of these ‘microaggressions’ from social justice warriors could have been reported to the very bias-crime hotline that we demonstrated against!
It is time that universities across the country make some changes and become places where people can grow up, discuss tough issues, express themselves freely, and develop the pragmatic solutions that unleash the individual.
I am optimistic, but we need more freedom fighters.