safe spaces

The Campus Left Discovers Free Speech

The data are beginning to bear out the popular theory that free speech on campus is in steady decline. A study commissioned by the William F. Buckley Center at Yale found that 51% of college students favor speech codes to regulate speech for both faculty and students. Relatedly, a Pew poll found that a full […]

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You Will Attend Purdue’s ‘Safe Zone’ Training Session

On January 18, the academic leadership of Purdue University received a letter from Mark Smith, dean of the graduate school. It said: On behalf of the Diversity Leadership Team, I’d like to invite you to attend a special safe zone training session …  arranged exclusively for deans, associate deans, and department heads. This, you must understand, […]

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Harmless College Jokes Punished at Mandatory Civility Seminar

At a Virginia college, inspirational slogans were recently posted in a residence hall to buoy the spirits of students cramming for exams. Resisting the inspiration, some students posted satirical  responses. “You are what you think you are, aim high!” drew the reply “You appear to be suffering from delusions of adequacy.” Another encouraging slogan, “You […]

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How Colleges and Universities Foster “Hate Culture”

Many of my colleagues and students are responding to the results of the 2016 presidential election with fear, disappointment, and disbelief. For some, Trump’s victory and the social unrest that followed dramatically changed their perceptions of Americans, democracy, and human nature. They are mourning the loss of a progressive dream. Although I share my colleagues’ […]

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I Could Have Been Fired Without Ever Knowing Why—But I Had Tenure

I learned about the charges brought against me only after the findings were reached. My departmental chair called me into her office and at the direction of the college administration told me what I had to do to remedy the apparently awful situation I had known nothing about. I had to change my syllabus. I […]

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Will Princeton Change Its Name?

Elle Woods, the sexy Harvard Law School student from la-la land in the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde, got a taste of what has become a daily diet of politically corrected speech. In that movie, Enid, the super-smart lesbian in the study group from which Elle was excluded, was lobbying to change the word semester to […]

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Wear that Batik Dress and You’re a Cultural Appropriator

 What follows are excerpts from the keynote speech on “Fiction and Identity Politics” delivered September 8 at the Brisbane Writers Festival in Australia by Lionel Shriver. Let’s start with a tempest-in-a-teacup at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Earlier this year, two students, both members of student government, threw a tequila-themed birthday party for a friend. […]

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Brown’s President Says She Values Free Speech, but…

Christina Paxson, president of Brown University, published a ringing endorsement of free speech on campus yesterday in The Washington Post. The op-ed said, “Freedom of expression is an essential component of academic freedom, which protects the ability of universities to fulfill their core mission of advancing knowledge.” That’s nice. What the article didn’t say is […]

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Finally, One Major Campus Condemns Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces

Now that the University of Chicago announced that it does not condone “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces”—apparently the first major American university to do so—it is time for other institutions of higher learning to get behind this basic and rather obvious educational idea and create a genuine trend. For some 30 years now, the idea […]

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AAUP Meeting Unanimously Backs Melissa Click—But Why?

Since its founding by progressive academics 101 years ago, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has had little affection for the governing authorities of colleges and universities.  Of course, when college presidents, trustees, and boards of regents bow in submission to its edicts, the AAUP will spare a few words of non-condemnation for the […]

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The New Age of Orthodoxy Overtakes the Campus

The great threat to academic freedom today arises not from plutocrats determined to weed from the campus garden any sprouts of pro-unionism; nor from censorious divines on the hunt for misinterpretations of the Sermon on the Mount; nor yet from defenders of the flag who suspect disloyal thoughts among the cosmopolitan professoriate.  Those were demons […]

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Kindergarten kids

Should Colleges Coddle the Whiners?

Our recent campus upheavals, focusing at times on offensive speech, have provoked a worry: are colleges infantilizing their students? Last March, the journalist and cultural critic Judith Shulevitz raised this concern in a tour de force of an op-ed, in which she argued that protecting students from offensive speech, except in the most extreme cases, […]

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Watch Out For The Campus Bias Team

Some 100 American colleges encourage their students to report offensive occurrences of non-criminal bias on campus. Writing in The Washington Post, Catherine Rampell tells us that the University of Oregon’s “bias report team” counted 85 incidents in the past year. including these: A poster featuring a “triggering image” displaying “body size” bias. Sexually explicit doodles […]

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Yale Tries to Dodge New Protests

Last fall, Peter Salovey, president of Yale, badly botched the student protests that broke out over the insignificant issue of proper campus Halloween costume. Now he has made a few decisions in hopes of avoiding another round of protests. First, he announced that the “masters” of Yale’s twelve residential colleges will now be known as […]

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BDS Israel

Mizzou Wipes Out Respect and Excellence

The University of Missouri has eliminated Respect and Excellence.  I have to write this in a hurry because it won’t be long before others will seize on this gift.  Respect and Excellence are the names for two residence halls at the University.  They are being closed because the University suddenly finds that its enrollments are […]

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UConn’s Civil Rights Failure

Criticism, including mine, greeted the University of Connecticut’s plan to build a new dorm to house its 40 black student males. That pressure caused the “black dorm” to be revised: it would be “open” to non-blacks who identify with the “African-American male experience”. Stubbornly college officials held fast to the idea that blacks would be assigned […]

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Haidt quote.5

A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt

On January 11, John Leo, editor of “Minding the Campus,” interviewed social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, one of the editors of the five-month-old site, “Heterodox Academy,” and perhaps the most prominent academic pushing hard for more intellectual diversity on our campuses. Haidt, 52, who specializes in the psychology of morality and the moral emotions, is Professor […]

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The University as Nursery

One of the implications of the shift of pressure against free speech from left-wing faculty and administrators to undergraduates is that the ideological framework of liberal bias doesn’t quite apply.  Yes, we have language of “racism” and “sexism,” along with demands that relics of US history that fail the PC test be torn down.  But […]

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Caving in to Bullies

Not all Yale students agree with the tactics employed by the bullies. Freshman Connor Wood said, “The acceptance or rejection of coercive tactics is a choice that will literally decide the fate of our democracy. Our republic will not survive without a culture of robust public debate. And the far more immediate threat is to academia: […]

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A Targeted Teacher at Yale Quits

The problem of political correctness at Yale has comes up again because it let a good scholar quit teaching under heavy pressure from students over a very mild email she wrote about Halloween costumes at Yale. The email said she thought that an official campus group really shouldn’t be telling students what costumes to avoid. PC […]

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Limp Administrators Let the Angry Few Take Over

The tumultuous, racially charged demonstrations that rocked American campuses this fall show few signs of abating. In fact, they’re spreading across the country because student activists have been emboldened by their “successes.” For example, at the University of Missouri, the president and chancellor resigned amid protests (even the football team threatened to go on strike) […]

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Kim Jong Un - CNN

North Korea Has Taken Over Academe

Perhaps it’s time for universities to institute a course in logic as a basic requirement for all students. Then we might encounter more rational and thoughtful protests taking place all over the country, instead of the spectacle of students demanding that professors and administrators be fired for using words or voicing opinions disapproved by minority […]

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After Many Woeful Failures, the Colleges Avoid Change

The students at Mizzou and Yale caught in twin episodes of contrived campus racial hysteria have been described as narcissists and self-indulgent brats catered to by their parents who told them how special they were and expecting the same judgment from college. Handed what they understand as the attitudinal keys to the kingdom, they’re enraged when […]

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