Last week, Berkeley students of color blocked white people from transversing a bridge while allowing people who were not white passage to campus. (Go watch the video and come back.) The white people, even the elderly, were told to cross the creek below. A young white man who tried to push himself through the mob was assaulted and pushed back.
The entitled, closed-minded, bratty college students of Berkeley are not alone. There have a been a long list of snit-fit escapades on campus in the past months:
What is a student who appreciates free speech, Halloween costumes, law and order, bathroom privacy, self-protection, and ethnic food to do?
So many public and private institutions of higher learning create environments hostile to a point of view outside of leftist orthodoxy. It’s not just conservatives that might feel out of place, but any student with a shred of common sense. A rational, thinking young person might want to avoid these hotbeds of emotion-fueled ignorance. It’s my contention that they already are avoiding them.
I have a child who goes to a specialized science and technology school within the public school. These kids are pulled from around the district and accepted into the program for demonstrating a good work ethic, superior grades, and the desire to go into a STEM field. Many of the students are Ivy material. Some even apply to schools like Stanford and MIT. They’re now making college decisions.
Some of the students are avoiding applying to certain prestigious schools because the students seem ideologically hostile toward differing (or sensible) opinions. Self-selection has always been a part of the college application process. Young people make choices about higher education for a host of reasons — financial, the strength of the major, the size of the community, the size of the campus, etc. Now, they’re filtering schools based on how radical the campus community might be.
A liberal acquaintance said that her daughter didn’t like the very leftist University of Texas. Even Austin’s great food and culture couldn’t outweigh the indifference of the administration and the seemingly unhappy students. While in Austin for a music conference with my kid, we spent some time at local restaurants and on campus just to get a more authentic flavor. Casually interacting with multiple UT students, we noticed a trend: none of them were happy. When asked if they liked their school more than one shrugged and said, “Well, it gets better.”
It gets better? For the amount of money spent, “it gets better” isn’t a ringing endorsement.
Some colleges differentiate themselves by pointing out their radical affinity for free thought and free speech. The University of Chicago released a statement to incoming Freshman to be ready for a rigorous thought environment. It shouldn’t have to be said, but U of C’s leadership thought it necessary to tell future students that they will be expected to interact with challenging ideas.
The whole purpose of college — to learn and to expand one’s perspective — is an actual selling point for a major university. It works because universities have become Borg-like institutions with nary a competing thought. If the social justice warriors terrorizing campuses succeed in driving away people who look and think differently than them, kids will filter themselves and go where they’re wanted.
Leftist schools will find themselves to be even more insular and ironically, less diverse in the way that matters most at college: ideas. It’s only natural that independent-minded students will want to avoid places where the politically correct conformity is enforced. Free thinkers will choose schools dedicated to free exchanges.
Will these campuses coddling students and stifling freedom lose business? Some have. What they’ll certainly lose (besides their dignity and reputation) are just the types of students they claim to want: intelligent and curious people open to exploring new ideas. Those kids will go elsewhere.