The Viruses Infecting American Universities

Jesse Hall, University of Missouri
Jesse Hall, University of Missouri

Many American universities have become hotbeds of political correctness, racial identification politics, anti-Americanism and, increasingly, anti-Semitism. At the University of Missouri, racial grievance politics is thriving.

On Monday the university’s system president and the chancellor of the flagship campus were forced to resign. For what? I’ve read two dozen articles about the “controversy” and in all honesty haven’t been able to identify anything either of them did wrong.

Some students have been complaining about an atmosphere on campus that’s hostile to black students. (Among the protestors is the student body president, who is black. Apparently, the atmosphere there is friendly enough toward black students for him to be elected student body president.)

A group of faculty members had been planning a walk out, and the football team had gone on strike, threatening not to play this Saturday’s game. One student went on a hunger strike and demanded that the officials resign or he would starve himself to death.

What are they so upset about? Racial slurs had been shouted at several black students on campus and a swastika drawn in feces was reportedly found in a dorm bathroom. Student government leaders were also angry at the school administration’s “silence” during and in the aftermath of the nearby Ferguson protests (which, you’ll remember, were based on the lie that Michael Brown was attacked by police officer Darren Wilson).

The racial slurs and swastika are obviously deplorable and appropriate action should be taken against anyone involved, but they’re hardly grounds for resignation by the school’s two top officials who obviously don’t condone such actions.

Yesterday, after the students prevailed and the president and chancellor resigned, there was a celebration on the campus mall. A student journalist waded into the demonstrators, who attempted to block him from taking photographs.

He was told that he didn’t have a right to take their photos, even though he was covering the demonstration for a national publication and even though the campus quad is a public place.

A little while later, a woman shouted for other protestors to help her remove the photographer. “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?” she asks. “I need some muscle over here!”

Who was this woman who asked for “muscle” to help her deny the photographer his First Amendment rights? She was identified as an assistant professor of mass media. Apparently this professor of communications has never heard of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Anti-Semitism is also growing on college campuses as Muslim student associations, allied with the political Left, have proliferated. Recently an activist at the University of California-Berkeley waved an ISIS flag on campus and was met with indifference. The next day he came back with an Israeli flag and was greeted with a barrage of anti-Semitism.

Our campuses are infected with a smothering left-wing political correctness built on the idea that no student should see, hear or be exposed to anything that might trigger negative feelings or bad memories. Campus police at the University of Missouri have sent an email to students asking them to report any “hurtful” speech! Why do I think that will mean conservative speech!

A recent viral video shows an activist visiting two prominent colleges.

The activist, posing as a student, approaches administrators at the schools, saying that students were passing out copies of the Constitution and asking that they shred the copies. “I realized the Constitution is kind of a trigger for me,” the activist tells an employee at Vassar College. “Overall I just see it as a really oppressive document… Honestly can we just like destroy, is there like a shredder or something? Like I think it might be really therapeutic.”

Administrators at Vassar and Oberlin College did just that, ripping up the copies of the Constitution and putting them through shredders.

Meanwhile, at Yale University, a watchdog group put out a guidance email to students warning that they should refrain from wearing costumes that might offend or play into stereotypes. This prompted a professor to complain that Yale and other universities were turning into “places of censure and prohibition.” Dozens of students confronted the professor after he said he would not prevent people from wearing offensive Halloween costumes.

And finally at the University of Minnesota, an Israeli academic was recently shouted down by dozens of protestors as he was set to deliver a lecture to students and faculty about the philosophy of law.

It has been observed that the more highly educated people get, the more likely they are to vote for liberal candidates. This is supposed to be evidence that only stupid people vote for Republicans.

But I think this phenomenon is proof of the left wing indoctrination going on in our colleges and universities. At campuses across the country, young people are being instilled with the idea that the U.S. and all its institutions are inherently evil. Given that fact, school administrators shouldn’t be surprised when students turn their ire on the schools themselves.

Gary L. Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor.