Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The University thought police

Here's John Leo weighing in on the fact that educational institutions are systematically squelching free speech on their campuses -- if the free speech challenges liberal orthodoxies:

The enemies of campus bake sales are at it again, inflaming one another over the dire threat of cupcakes and cookies sold at different prices to whites, minorities, and women. The sales are political parody, of course, poking fun at affirmative action policies and trying to get a debate going. Campus orthodoxy holds that such policies are sacred and that any dissent, even in the form of satirical cookie prices, is illegitimate and deserving of suppression. When members of a Republican club staged a bake sale March 21 at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., several students said they were offended. This amounted to a powerful argument, since hurt feelings are trump cards in the campus culture. Next came the usual scramble to suppress free speech while expressing great respect for it. The normal campus method in such cases is to define free speech as narrowly as possible, while pointing to broad and vague anti-discrimination rules. Proving that muddled thinking is not confined to campuses, the Detroit Free Press weighed in with an editorial denouncing the bake sale as 'tasteless' and perhaps deserving of disciplinary action. The university charged the club with a violation of the student code and threatened sanctions. The students folded under pressure from the administration and issued an apology. When the president of the group refused to back down, he was asked to resign and did. The students' retreat is understandable, if not very courageous. The university was in effect putting them on trial for bias, with the likelihood that a notation of racial discrimination would become part of their academic record and follow them to post-college job interviews. This is a major example of a politically correct college abusing its power.
What's impressive is how agitated these sales make the powers that be at the various campuses. Two thoughts occur to me. The first is that these administrators, like Stalin, are so utterly paranoid that any movement from anyone who doesn't entirely embrace their belief system must be relentlessly destroyed. The second is that these administrators may actually recognize that their belief system is tainted and that these bake sales are an effective tool to reveal the emperor's nakedness -- hence their over-the-top response.