Sanity on Campus — What a Concept - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Sanity on Campus — What a Concept

Could this be a trend? Oh happy day if it is. On at least two college campuses recently, privileged malcontents, up to their usual building-occupying hijinks, were sent packing. In one case students were arrested.

In the clip here we can see an Ohio State administrator, who clearly has a measurable testosterone level, telling a motley of student malingerers intent on occupying the university’s administration building that they would be arrested if they didn’t clear off.

Woody Hayes would have been proud. It took these short rounds a while to understand the new and unfamiliar rules of engagement, so rare is it for students on campus to be told no by actual grownups these days. But it finally sunk in that their party had been canceled, and they cleared off before the promised arrests took place. They apparently didn’t even think to leave behind their list of non-negotiable demands.

A group of Clemson students, intent on occupying a college administration building, apparently didn’t desist when warned and several were arrested last Thursday. This lot had submitted their demands, the usual dreary left wish-list: an end to freedom of speech on campus, a “safe” place where minority students can hunker down against, well, against what isn’t clear. (Oddly, the university I attended did not seem overly concerned with providing me with a safe place — my draft board even less so after I graduated.) And of course they demanded that the campus be cleansed of all building names that don’t comport with up-to-date left orthodoxy.

Long ago George Will taught us there are only two reasons to demonstrate, (1) fun, and (2) profit. I don’t know who this campus nonsense profits, but I’m sure for some it’s ever so much more fun to demonstrate or to occupy buildings than to actually study, write term papers, or go to class. (Auden said professors were people who talked in other people’s sleep — probably still true.) I suppose also that demonstrations are good places to meet girls. I don’t know — I graduated before the demonstration generation. We had to make do with the university snack bar and local watering holes.

Perhaps these re-directed scholars at Ohio State and Clemson just went elsewhere and banged their spoons on their high-chairs, or worked on their pouts. But it’s good to see a little responsible behavior on the part of folks who are supposed to be in charge. How heartening to see that there are at least a couple of university administrations that don’t see their total responsibility as accommodating the latest student tantrums and the dopey demands that flow from them.

I hope these two happy instances are not just outliers, but are in fact the beginning of a trend on campus. Perhaps even college administrators are nimble enough to see how easy it is to do the right thing. This would make things much better for universities, for students themselves, and for hard-put-on parents who are paying extravagant amounts for their children to idle away four years at institutions that have less and less to do with education and more to do with indoctrination in left-wing orthodoxy and with juvenile behavior. (One sort of follows the other, doesn’t it?)

If these two fine examples of adult responsibility are not the wave of the future for universities, I’ve often thought it would be a good idea to turn student discipline over to Major League umpires. Guys who know how and when to say, fortissimo and in an unambiguous way, “YOU’RE OUTA HERE!” I nominate Joe West for the Yale crew chief.

Of course, there’s not much joy about these developments at the offices of (with thanks to Al Capp) SWINE — Students Wildly Indignant About Everything.

But considering the nonsense that too often passes for education on today’s university, it’s not altogether clear that it’s better to have students in classrooms rather than in the hallway outside of the president’s office. It’s almost impossible to satirize today’s campus, what goes on there being so much goofier than anything anyone can make up.

If these moments of clarity at Ohio State and Clemson do not signal the beginning of a return of sanity and discipline on campus, it may be time to question whether, unless students are seeking some kind of professional preparation, there might be a better use of four years than to fritter them away, at great expense, at Old Sywash. 

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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