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George F. Will: Universities proof of the closing American mind

Published: Sunday, Dec. 2 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

In 2007, Donald Hindley, a politics professor at Brandeis, was found guilty of harassment because when teaching Latin American politics he explained the origin of the word "wetbacks," which refers to immigrants crossing the Rio Grande. Without a hearing, the university provost sent Hindley a letter stating that the university "will not tolerate inappropriate, racial and discriminatory conduct." The assistant provost was assigned to monitor Hindley's classes "to ensure that you do not engage in further violations of the nondiscrimination and harassment policy." Hindley was required to attend "anti-discrimination training."

Such coercion is a natural augmentation of censorship. Next comes mob rule. Last year, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the vice provost for diversity and climate — really; you can't make this stuff up — encouraged students to disrupt a news conference by a speaker opposed to racial preferences. They did, which the vice provost called "awesome." This is the climate on an especially liberal campus that celebrates "diversity" in everything but thought.

"What happens on campus," Lukianoff says, "doesn't stay on campus" because censorship has "downstream effects." He quotes a sociologist whose data he says demonstrate that "those with the highest levels of education have the lowest exposure to people with conflicting points of view." This encourages "the human tendency to live within our own echo chambers." Parents' tuition dollars and student indebtedness are paying for this. Good grief.

George Will's email address is georgewill@washpost.com.

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