You’ll forgive me if I lack sympathy. Conservatives have warned for decades that the proliferation of women’s studies, colonial studies, gay studies, and an assortment of other oppression-studies courses would end in tears. We also warned you that campus speech codes were a bad idea.It gets particularly precious when Eve Ensler's talkative cooch becomes problematic because in the fever swamps, not all women have vaginas. (I'm not making that up, just do your own research.) But in John Hinderaker suggesting at Power Line that parents not let their children go to Yale is the strongest argument for rescuing the universities that are not hothouses. It's simple, perhaps at the likes of Yale, and Wesleyan, and Oberlin, you find critical masses of coddled freakazoid spawn. How dare that mean housemother Erika Christakis write "Toughen Up, Buttercup" in more words.
Students should be able to wear whatever they want, she wrote, even if they end up offending people.Wait a minute, aren't the colored students attempting to appropriate Hallowe'en by so protesting? Sometimes, keeping up with when oppressions intersect and when the so-called intersection is empty is hard. Perhaps that's what makes the Perpetually Aggrieved so wild.
An early childhood educator, she asked whether blond toddlers should be barred from being dressed as African-American or Asian characters from Disney films.
“Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” she wrote. “American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.”
Ms. Christakis’s email touched on a long-running debate over the balance between upholding free speech and protecting students from hurt feelings or personal offense. It also provoked a firestorm of condemnation from Yale students, hundreds of whom signed an open letter criticizing her argument that “free speech and the ability to tolerate offence” should take precedence over other considerations.
“To ask marginalized students to throw away their enjoyment of a holiday, in order to expend emotional, mental, and physical energy to explain why something is offensive, is — offensive,” the letter said. “To be a student of color on Yale’s campus is to exist in a space that was not created for you.”
Someone suggests they can (not that they must or even should, mind you) wear Halloween costumes (Halloween costumes!) that someone else might find offensive, and these students become unhinged and melt down; they’re not eating, sleeping, or doing homework, and some are having “breakdowns.” What is going to happen to these precious snowflakes when they leave college and face the real world? Their delicate sensibilities and sense of perpetual victimhood and entitlement will not serve them well.I wonder if the president, the provost, and the other deanlets will be as forward-thinking when it comes to the starving graduate assistants.
Yale’s president, however, is fostering their extended adolescence of self-indulgence and stompy-footed temper tantrums. He’s not defending the faculty members but is instead expressing his sorrow that Yale administrators “failed” the students.
The Yale students are asking for recognition and for negotiations on issues including pay and benefits, mental health services and racial and gender equity among faculty and students.It's a disguised form of adjunctification. At least the regional comprehensives and community colleges are up-front about their personnel policies.
"The argument that we're students and not employees falls flat for me when I think of how much time I spend teaching," said Michelle Morgan, a graduate student in American studies and a single mother who said she was hurt by a pay cut last year for upper-year teaching assistants. "My students see me very much as a teacher."
A Yale spokesman, Tom Conroy, said that the university provides some of the most generous support in the country, including full tuition fellowships, stipends and benefits, and that graduate students already have a voice in university affairs through student assemblies.
"Yale's longstanding position is that graduate students are students, not employees, and it would not be in the best interests of the students, the faculty, or the educational process to change the teacher-student relationship to a manager-employee relationship," he said.
In addition, at many of those institutions, there is a critical mass of normal students who treat the indoctrination by the Perpetually Aggrieved as something to be ignored, or mocked. The only thing that's worse to the freakazoids than being offended by something is to be ignored. Perhaps the overpriced hothouses will turn into their safe (and occupied) space, and life can go on elsewhere.