George Will: The Low Depths of Higher Education

The Topeka Capital-Journal, November 29, 2015 | Go to article overview

George Will: The Low Depths of Higher Education


Thanksgiving presented a good time for giving thanks for some indirect blessings of liberty, including the behavior-beyond-satire of what are generously called institutions of higher education. People who are imprecisely called educators have taught, by negative examples, what intelligence is not.

Melissa Click is the University of Missouri academic who shouted "I need some muscle over here" to prevent a photojournalist from informing the public about a public demonstration intended to influence the public. Click's academic credentials include a University of Massachusetts doctoral dissertation titled "It's a 'Good Thing': The Commodification of Femininity, Affluence and Whiteness in the Martha Stewart Phenomenon." Her curriculum vitae says she studied "advanced feminist studies." Advanced. The best kind.

University of Missouri law students, who evidently cut class the day the First Amendment was taught, wrote a social media policy that included this: "Do not comment despairingly (disparagingly?) on others." A grammatically challenged Ithaca College professor produced this cri de coeur regarding the school's president: "There have been a litany of episodes and incidents during (his) tenure here which have led to frustration because, when brought to his attention, the view of the protesters is that he has been unresponsive."

A Washington State University professor said she would lower the grade of any student who used the term "illegal immigrants" when referring to immigrants here illegally. Another Washington State professor warned in his syllabus white students who want "to do well" in his "Introduction to Multicultural Literature" should show their "grasp of history and social relations" by "deferring to the experiences of people of color." Another Washington State teacher, in her syllabus for "Women & Popular Culture," warned students risk "failure for the semester" if they use "derogatory/oppressive language" such as "referring to women/men as females or males. …

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