Best student demands of the last year

Well, it’s only 5.5 months into 2016, but along with the Political Silly Season has come the College Entitlement Season. The Daily Beast has given a list of the craziest demands of college students over the last full year (and wait—we have over six months to come in this one!). Here are a few; demands in quotes come from the Daily Beast piece:

  • Deep six the two-part “Major English Poets” course required for English majors at Yale, which includes Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, and Eliot. Students have objected (note the last three sentences of their threatening petition):

“It is unacceptable that a Yale student considering studying English literature might read only white male authors. A year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color, and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity. The Major English Poets sequences creates a culture that is especially hostile to students of color.

. . . It is your responsibility as educators to listen to student voices. We have spoken. We are speaking. Pay attention.”

But note that English majors at Yale must take 14 courses in total, and the options include these:

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For more on this, do read Katy Waldman’s nice essay in Slate, “The canon is sexist, racist, colonialist, and totally gross. Yes, you have to read it anyway.

  • “At the University of Arizona, the Marginalized Students (PDF)—a coalition of self-described oppressed students, including the Latino student association, black student association, Asian student association, LGBT student association, Native American student association, and women’s center—want safe spaces for each unique identity group. The black students, for instance, want a residence hall to themselves.

    They are hardly alone. Student-activists at New York University want one floor of a campus building turned over to black students, and another floor given to LGBT students.”

This seems to me to foster separation and segregation, not interaction and mutual understanding. The best way to achieve comity among groups is, I think, getting to know each other. How can you do that if you divide off into homogenous groups?

  • As I wrote about last November, the University of Ottawa suspended a yoga class for disabled students as the practice, after the class was reported by a student, was decided to be a form of cultural appropriation.
  • “. . . students at Western Washington University want the administration to create a 15-person student committee to monitor “racist, anti-black, transphobic, cissexist, misogynistic, ableist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and otherwise oppressive behavior on campus.” No one would be safe: Even tenured faculty members accused of micro-aggressing someone would be subject to formal investigation. As an example of what qualifies as a microaggression in the eyes of these students, they spelled the word “history” with an “x”—as in “hxstory”—because the actual word is too patriarchal (“his” + “story”).”
  • “At Johns Hopkins University, administrators do not count first-semester freshmen’s grades. These students received grades, but they aren’t included on their transcript. The university is phasing out this practice, however, given concerns that it discourages new students from studying as hard as they should.

    Student activists are utterly opposed to the new policy. One student, Erica Taicz, accused the administration of worsening her anxiety:

    ‘I’m paying to have a support network, academically and mentally. I can’t be expected to do well in class if I’m depressed and have anxiety. If the school is worsening my anxiety, that’s their problem and they need to be held accountable for that.’

    Meanwhile, more than 1,300 Oberlin students signed a petition calling on the college to make “C” the lowest possible grade such that no student would be deemed “below average.” Other students think special accommodations should be made for people who are too depressed, anxious, or triggered to take final exams. One student told The New Yorker that he expected his professors to proactively invite him to office hours to have a conversation about the course material in lieu of a midterm.”

This is the ultimate Lake Wobegon Demand: a college where no student is “below average.” To be sure, I’ve made allowance for students who have valid medical excuses for exams, like giving them extra time, and I have given oral final exams to students who had a strong reason to be absent from campus during exams. But these demands are, in general, symptoms of entitlement, of students demanding that their “specialness” be recognized, and they don’t have to undergo the difficult work that often comes with learning.

As lagniappe, here’s some footage of the students being EXTREMELY BOTHERED when Milo Yiannopoulos recently spoke at DePaul University here in Chicago. The outside protests are, of course, legal counterspeech, but students later came up on stage, blew whistles, shouted, and forced him to terminate his talk. To see that, go to this video.




  1. Cindy
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink


  2. Posted June 10, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I think that JAC, I and others who have recently retired from full time academic life are quite fortunate to not have to deal with such silliness that appears rampant on many campuses. The Boulder Daily Camera recently published an article about how CU-Boulder is trying to accommodate the “me” generation. It was an accurate and fairly harsh indictment of both the incoming millennials as well as their parents; worth a read if interested.;-and-their-parents

    • Posted June 10, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Faculty in science, math and engineering are generally immune from this nonsense, although I remember that a few years ago a girl went beserk in a biology class and threatened the prof because evolution was ‘racist’

      • Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        As a biologist, I would tend to agree; however, we also have to teach non-majors which is often where problems arise.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Not according to my friend’s husband who is a math professor. He has had students literally throw themselves on the ground in his office and have a tantrum when he wouldn’t change their grade.

        You’d think with math it would be obvious that you did something wrong but I guess the special snowflakes feel differently about math.

        • Posted June 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          I am teaching biology to medical students. This exam session, we are having an avalanche of students (mainly members of British minorities) who try to make us reconsider their non-passing grades by weeping, saying how much they have studied and how anxious they are now and so on. I have already found a key phrase: “You do not look like someone who is anxious. You look like someone who is trying to pass the exam by bullying the teacher.” In most cases, this helps immediately. A few students need me to repeat that their bullying attempts will not give them anything. Of course, if we had an authority to listen to their complaints, the situation would be much more difficult.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

            It sounds exhausting! You have my respect and sympathies.

      • Dave
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Just as a matter of interest, what was her argument?

  3. Taz
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    What bothers me most is the cowardly response by administrators to these absurdities. Someone needs to be the adult in the room.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      The administrators have parents as a significant part of their constituency. They are stuck, it would appear, between the voice of reason and the health of their careers.

      • rskurat
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        and this being the US, money wins every time. Did Americans ever have pride in their beliefs and a personal code of honor, or is that something I ‘learned’ from the movies?

        • rickflick
          Posted June 11, 2016 at 5:53 am | Permalink

          “Did Americans ever have pride in their beliefs and a personal code of honor,…”

          Think Donald Trump. His large following of admirers shows what counts for many Americans. I think much of his appeal to low income, low information voters is that he embodies one version of the American ideal. The ability to amass wealth regardless of the means. Also think of the TV preachers and their mega-churches flying around the country in jets preaching humility and and self sacrifice. The contradictions are hidden in the glamour. Maybe we need a monarchy to provide an outlet for our need to envy.

          • rskurat
            Posted June 11, 2016 at 6:05 am | Permalink

            “regardless of the means” indeed – both business types and Uni administrators. But I guess I was genuinely wondering if the phrase ‘I wouldn’t do that even for money’ is a sentiment that was ever widespread, or whether it’s something Hollywood spread about for fifty years, and I absorbed a fiction.

            • rickflick
              Posted June 11, 2016 at 7:07 am | Permalink

              The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.😎

  4. Frank Bath
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Providing the authorities stand firm these silly students will come up short when they enter the working world.
    I remember the ’68 students here in England and France. One loathsome major student leader, Jack Straw, eventually became the Home Secretary responsible for home affairs: police, terrorism, security.’No, I don’t want to see my file.’

  5. darrelle
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Pretty disgusting. “Brats” doesn’t quite cover it. Maybe puerile will do. It looks like these kids have their sights set on Idiocracy. I sure hope they are just a loud obnoxious minority.

  6. eric
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    The yoga one tops my list. You’re going to deny handicapped people a form of physical therapy because it originated in India? Moreover, people in the west have been practicing yoga since probably at least the 50s-60s when the Beetles made India popular. Yoga is literally a deeper part of our culture than the detractors are.

    Though the ‘only C’s one gets close. That one doesn’t top my list because a school could probably do it and it wouldn’t impact the student’s future life at all; you aren’t going to get into a good grad school with a bunch of C’s in your major or a “1.something” GPA. Nor are you likely to get a highly competitive entry-level job with a bunch of them on your transcript (and after your first job, nobody is looking at your undegrad transcript any more). So in a pragmatic sense C’s and D’s are already somewhat functionally equivalent. The main functional difference is probably that your Uni will likely make you take a class over if you’ve failed it (if you want credit for it), they won’t make you take a C grade over.

  7. Joseph Stans
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Oddly, 50 years ago when I was at the university I read gay, black and female authors as well as translations of foreign authors and there was not a single class devoted to any of it.

    It seems that the dead ass students now are looking for validation of their confusion and self-absorption.

    It is almost as if the students want the school to put a ring in their nose and lead them through education.


  8. Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    “Eliot” is TS Eliot, not George, I assume, but TS would seem like a very odd choice. Or if it is George, is her gender not well known in the US? Or have I missed something?

    • Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Ach, get your reading glasses Yakaru… Disregard previous comment.

    • Posted June 10, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure it’s T. S. Eliot because it’s a poetry course. But one can make a good case that he’s the finest modern English poet (I’d put in Yeats as well.)

      • Posted June 10, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Yep — thanks. I’d failed to read the “poet” bit. Plus the article explicitly mentions TS.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        I grow old, I grow old, shall I wear my pants rolled?

        • Jonathan Wallace
          Posted June 11, 2016 at 2:45 am | Permalink

          But I am concerned about all these women coming and going talking about Michelangelo. Surely in this day and age it is a microaggression to be talking about a dead white man rather than someone from an oppressed minority?

          • rickflick
            Posted June 11, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

            The dude was upside down and gay, wasn’t he?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted June 11, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

            Ha! It would be fun to go to a class and rile people up with that.

  9. efctony
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The English complaint really gets me.

    It’s ENGLISH, you know, from ENGLAND.

    That means that all the old stuff was written by white people. That’s because England’s one of the places white people come from. It’s one of the places white people evolved: genes forged in the miserable grey drizzle of the far north west of Europe.

    But it excludes others

    Of course it does. It excludes everyone except the English, Welsh, Scots and Irish because, back then, “English speakers” excluded the vast majority of the world’s population. Before America got going, English wasn’t a global language. It was a little local tongue spoken and written by the small number of people who lived in a little small area.

    If you want to study the literary history of English you have to study white people because they were the only ones writing in English.

    But other communities made great contributions to literature” you say

    Yes, but not to English literature. They made great contributions to other languages’ literature. Why would they write in English, some obscure language from some obscure set of islands hidden in near permanent cloud?

    but it restricts our horizons

    Then study something else.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Ah, but it obstructs anyone’s horizons, so no one should be allowed to study it. After all Elizabethan and Jacobean poetry does not engage with modern social challenges, so it’s really irrelevant, and actually harmful. [That was all sarcasm by the way.]

    • Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      “Yes, but not to English literature.”

      Right, and if one wants to study stuff “from back then”, elect to take Japanese or (Indian subcontinent languages) or whatever else. Maybe even *with* English?

      Not to mention that English literature from “elsewhere” engages the canon these students so decry. See one of the conflicts in (to pick something arbitrary) _A Raisin in the Sun_.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Yeah I thought the same. And I really loved reading those authors. English literature of that time is typically from ENGLAND. People sometimes don’t understand that English literature is written in ENGLISH as well. So, it doesn’t include Russian novels or Greek epics translated into English.

      I’m sure the above paragraph is a micro-agression against non-English speaking places.

      I like the part about the “grey drizzle”. My genetics mostly derive from the British Isles & I have the complexion that screams, “I evolved under cloud cover”. Drizzly, grey days are actually quite comfortable to me as I hate hot weather & I burn in the sun.

      I’m sure my existence as a person from Northern Europe broadly and the British Isles specifically, is also a micro-aggression.

      • darrelle
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know, I’m thinking macro. I’m feeling the need for soft cuddly things just reading your comment.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:19 pm | Permalink


          • darrelle
            Posted June 11, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            Whew! Thanks. Just in time. I was about to slit my wrists.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Yes Diana, you’re definitely a micro-aggression. Specially around cylindrical spools of fluffy white paper…


    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted June 10, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Fortunately, the theater world is a bit free-er of this madness.
      Therein Shakespeare still reigns supreme as the definitive playwright to study and understand. In the Bay Area, Shakespeare is often performed in gender-bendering ways- 10 years ago I saw a fairly good lesbian Othello, but the theatre world has not demoted Shakespeare to the dreaded status of dead white male.

      As a member of the staff and board of Camp Quest West, I’ve often joked that everywhere else in America, we compete with Bible camp, but in the Bay Area we’re competing with Shakespeare camp (there are three of them all targeted and middle and high school and kids love it!)

      • Derek Freyberg
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but the Lamplighters (a Bay Area group that puts on Gilbert & Sullivan operettas) was recently forced to rework “The Mikado” to eliminate Japan. I forget where they’re going to set it, but somewhere in Europe. I suppose “Pirates of Penzance” is OK because the pirates are English. Ridiculous.

        • JonLynnHarvey
          Posted June 10, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, although “forced” is a bit overstated.

          The LLs tried to hire a lot of Asian actors to be in it, and the local Asian actors & actor guilds weren’t cool with that, since they couldn’t guarantee EVERY Japanese character would be played by an Asian, the LLs certainly didn’t want to do it with NONE in a community that is 23% Asian in population.

          They’re caught between an “Iwa” and a “Muzukashī basho” (rock and hard place).

          Full story here:

      • Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:07 am | Permalink

        But isn’t Shakespeare culturally appropriated from tlhIngan Hol?

        • Posted June 13, 2016 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          (Seriously) Or maybe Illyria, Greece, Italy, Denmark or any number of other places he mentions.

    • Posted June 10, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      + 1

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Excellently put, and that was my immediate thought too. “It’s *English* Poets, idiot, what do you bloody expect?”

      They could make exactly the same complaint about classical composers and mathematicians. Or Greek / Roman authors, for that matter.

      “We have spoken” – oh my gods, do they ever read it back before hitting ‘send’? I’d suspect them of self-parody if it wasn’t so painfully obvious that they have no sense of the absurd.


      • Posted June 10, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        One wonders why they would choose to major in English in the first place. Would any music major, anywhere, be offended about being required to study Bach and Beethoven? Would any art history major, anywhere, be offended about being required to study Da Vinci and Rembrandt? There should be nothing controversial about an English literature major being required to study Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth. If one is interested in understanding the history and the art of poetry in English, those figures, however white and however male they may be, are non-negotiable. They are foundational. You are simply not conversant in the subject if you have not read them. And if you are not interested in becoming conversant in the subject, why are you majoring in it in the first place?

        • rskurat
          Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

          They want to write trendy papers on intersectionality in Arundati Roy or some such, and skip the hard parts. Like an Architecture student who wants to skip Physics, or a Psychology student who wants to skip Freud

  10. DrBrydon
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I remember that complaint that “history” was patriarchal from the first wave of PC. It typifies for me the lack of perspective of many of the SJ crowd, or perhaps I should say the willful ignorance of all History, and the idea that societies change. To them we are not in a continuum of progress, but at a moment when there is injustice, so everything is wrong. Not for nothing have revolutions found themselves trying literally to kill off the remnants of pre-revolutionary society. I once considered going into academia. I am glad I didn’t. My response to the “history” issue has always been, Does that mean we should change hysteria to hyrsteria? Alas, the lack of historical knowledge has often meant that the joke was lost on my audience.

    • efctony
      Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      You could just come out with it and suggest changing “hysteria” to “hersteria”.

      Isn’t it great that they get all riled up about the similarity of a bit of Greek derived word and an Anglo Saxon derived “male” word but miss genuine sex associations.

      For those not in the know “history” derives ultimately from Greek and the “his” part of it has nothing to do with “him/his/he” – that’s derived from Anglo-Saxon.

      “Hysteria”, though, derives from the Latin for “womb”. Yep: that is the Latin bros coming up with a term for “bitch is out of control”.

      • Diana Hook
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the “history” false cognate nonsense has always fried me. People who blather on about “herstory” or “womyn” should be forced to spend a day looking up etymologies in the Oxford English Dictionary.

        • Posted June 10, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          A dictionary written by old white males? Yeah, right.🙂

  11. Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Also, how does one conclude that Shakespeare or whoever is a {racist, sexist, whatever} without *reading* his work? The Lourde comment that the “master’s tools will not dismantle the master’s house” is wrong, both for scholarly matters *and for tools*.

    For example, the US Constitution *contains the arguments* needed to allow for a universal franchise; it is thus self-correcting (to a limited degree, but still). Individual scientists were racist or sexist or whatever; yet the scientific methodology developed allows one to overcome that, because the techniques are universalistic all the same.

  12. ed hessler
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Katy Waldman who has the wonderful title, “words correspondent” for Slate had a great essay (May 14, 2016) on the Yale English curriculum. It is titled,

    The Canon Is Sexist, Racist, Colonialist, and Totally Gross. Yes, You Have to Read It Anyway.

    (You have already covered the territory by listing the courses students can take so this is a redundancy.

    • Posted June 10, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you missed this sentence (with link) from the original post above:

      For more on this, do read Katy Waldman’s nice essay in Slate, “The canon is sexist, racist, colonialist, and totally gross. Yes, you have to read it anyway.”

  13. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Any mathematician knows that if ‘C’ is the lowest grade than it becomes by definition below average.

    Both President Eisenhower and Bush have been credited with being shocked that fully half of all Americans are below average intelligence.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted June 10, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Any mathematician knows that if ‘C’ is the lowest grade than it becomes by definition below average.

      You are mathing wrong. To come to that conclusion, I would have to know how many students there are, and how many of them were given a ‘C’.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        I’m assuming a bell curve distribution. That could be a mistake.

      • Posted June 10, 2016 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        It’s not wrong: if C is the lowest grade, and if at least one person in the class has a grade above C, the class average would be above C as well (e.g., if out of 10 people in a class, one has a B, it would make class average 2.1 since B counts as 3 points and C as 2).
        But a mean value could be C, if at least half of the class has a C.

        • Posted June 11, 2016 at 1:57 am | Permalink

          I think the point is, were this change to be implemented, people would immediately start complaining about getting Cs, because C would be the new F.

          I guess you could make a case for the world outside of Oberlin (assuming its students realize that there is one), which would make this measure very much like the Hopkins oh the first one doesn’t count go ahead and roll again policy for students with the real and cultural capital necessary to gain admission there. (Where are the cries of “privilege” during these discussions?)

          If Oberlin remained the only college in the world to officially eliminate lower grades, it would be a substantial advantage to students enrolled there, though one hopes that it would gain a reputation as an institution whose graduates are not to be taken seriously during processes such as the job application.

          • somer
            Posted June 11, 2016 at 3:40 am | Permalink

            why not just get their degrees forged if they don’t want it to mean anything and they don’t want to be exposed either to work or challenging ideas?

            • Posted June 12, 2016 at 1:10 am | Permalink

              This is the tendency in a lot of american higher ed, somer: students (and some administrators) think of the students as customers, and that paying tuition entitles one not to an education, but to a diploma.

              There’s a disturbing trend toward talking about education as wholly or primarily a credentialing process or a preparation for the workplace, that staff and faculty participate in as well, and that’s not helping. I mean, yes, students should be able to find work when they graduate, it’s important for them as individuals and it’s important to society. But that cannot be the sole driver of higher education, particularly in a system where universities are also a a home for research.

          • rickflick
            Posted June 11, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

            “people would immediately start complaining about getting Cs,…”

            At my school, for a while, anthropology students were all given and automatic “A” for every course. I think it was a kind of protest involving the purity of the learning process. The idea, I think, was that graduates should be evaluated by employers on the basis of direct observation rather than the judgment of old fuddy-duddy college administrators.

            • rskurat
              Posted June 11, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

              I can imagine a rare case where almost everyone in a class is doing genuinely A-level work; but it also seems ridiculously pedantic to enforce an exact bell-curve grade distribution.

              But these extremes; the value choice a professor has to make is between a range of grades regardless of the absolute performance of the students. or to outside standards of what A- through D-level work really is – which itself would have to be adjusted for the quality of the school, wouldn’t it?

          • Posted June 11, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            I don’t think that the employers really care pay attention to the fact that grading system in this one college is different from the others. To give you an example, I know of a law school that uses C as the mean grade for all classes for bell curve grading while other law schools use B, so average GPA in this law school is about 2, while in the other schools it’s probably around 3. So when potential employers ask for GPA and see GPA 3 from that one school, they don’t care that it means something like top 10% percentile of that school, to them it looks the same as the mediocre GPA 3 of the other school’s graduates.
            Now, if a lot of schools got rid of F’s and D’s, the employers might care. But for one school that’s not an elite school everyone knows about, they won’t.

        • Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          It could be equal to C, if every student in the class received that grade.

  14. Dominic
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    yeah – study Marlowe instead of Shakespeare, the upstart crow! Marlowe was (probably) homosexual… (am I allowed to say ‘homosexual’?) or queer in the student speak above.

    • Posted June 10, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Though it is difficult to judge such things across time and culture, some of Shakespeare sonnets reflect an affection to a male that seems deeper than friendship. Can Shakespeare be saved by making a case that he may have been bisexual? I think, however, that this could not make up for his low melanin.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        How do we know he had low melanin when we’re not even sure who he was? He could have been a black queer female. Hmmm, maybe that’s why ‘he’ had to keep ‘his’ identity hidden!

        I think I just started a new Shakespeare conspiracy theory…


  15. Gimmepaws
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    This is what the Internet echo chamber has wrought: the echo of like-noise drowns out everything. Including free speech and the freedom to express views you don’t like. I’m not sure exactly when the activist movement went from rationally opposing and advocating against views they oppose — with mass mobilizations and legal means — straight to employing bully tactics of suppressing them physically, shouting them down, and even beating people up (including at Trump rallies, etc.). But it has clearly happened. This tinge of fascism in the left is killing its credibility. The damage will persist for a long time.

  16. Posted June 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I wonder why traditional courses in art history and music appreciation never seem to inspire the same level of outrage over lack of inclusiveness that literature courses do–even though those subjects tend to be devoted to the works of dead white males just as much as literary history is (much more so, in fact). Why is a poetry course about Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton so much more unacceptable than a music course about Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven? (Actually I strongly suspect I know what the reason is, but I’m curious to hear what others think.)

    • Posted June 10, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps they think that music without words will not transmit any ideas.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        The Romantics saw music and math as pure because they were something instead of a way to describe something. Which I finally think is BS after kind of buying it for years. There my be some of that going on here too, subconsciously.

  17. chrism
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure I’m not the only one to have had this experience, but a mother once came into my office to talk about her son’s difficulties at school. “That class, why half of them are below average!” she said, as if this was shocking. She never forgave me for pointing out the obvious. Poor boy…

  18. Taz
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Tennessee just passed a bill that diverts about half a million dollars from the University of Tennessee’s “Office for Diversity and Inclusion” to engineering scholarships for minority students.

  19. Ariel Karlinsky
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    The Oberlin “The lowest grade should be C so no student would be below average” is apparently:

    a. from 2014, not 2016

    b. has nothing to do with “no one should be below average” but rather with the cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice – “The petition, which was first circulated across Facebook and via email on Tuesday, calls for the College to institute a “no-fail mercy period” that would eliminate all failing grades and make a C the lowest possible grade a student could receive.”


    Unless there’s some other story recently from Oberlin…?

  20. Ivy Privy
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I am disappoint. I was hoping Black Students United at Cornell University would make the list for their demand that the name of Cornell Plantations be changed, despite the complete absence of any link between that botanical resource and slave era agriculture.


  21. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    a coalition of self-described oppressed students, including [soccer team of underprivileged groups] — want safe spaces for each unique identity group.

    Oh, simplify it – everyone into a bullet-proof perspex hampster ball with appropriate arrangements for food-in and shit-out. Yes, you can get out of your ball for intimate contact with another student. The psychological assessment (non-intrusive), family-DNA identity checks (unto the 4th or 5th generation, depending on local incest and-or miscegeneation laws) only take a couple of months ; no more than 50 pages of forms per encounter, and post-congress interviews for post-coital removal of consent be limited to 24 hours of questioning spead over 3 days.
    They want safe spaces, we can give them safe spaces.
    P>Anyone remember the joke about computer security? “Making a computer secure is easy – cast it into a 10 tonne concrete block and bury it in the Marianas Trench, and it will be proof against all known viruses.”

  22. rskurat
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    The use of the word “hxstory” at WWU is clearly Christianist due to the similarity of the letter x to the Christian cross, and is therefore anti-Semitic and Islamophobic.

    We can fit in a protest right after the one in favor of non-GMO vegan soy yoghurt (which sounds almost as revolting as the peasants).

  23. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    In Victorian days, reputedly, fashionable people used to go to lunatic asylums to laugh at the inmates. (As an aside I wonder if some of the inmates didn’t ‘act it up’ for their benefit).

    These days we have the Internet, Fail blogs and pomo students.


  24. eric
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    IMO this is just a new way to mask an old complaint: it’s freshmen and sophomores complaining about the required courses. They want to go straight to electives and not have to take a broad range of subjects that doesn’t interest them.

    We all did it. But frankly I still prefer the honesty of “why are you making me study history when I want to be an engineer?” over the postmodern anti-establishment gobbledigook version “studying Shakespeare is colonialist; we should study women and minority playwrights instead.”

    The answer is the same to both: relax. You will get to study those things you feel so passionately about. But because we want you to be able to squeeze the most knowledge you can from them, we first want to give you a wider range of analytical techniques and skills. Thus the ‘core subjects.’ Besides, its not going to kill you to broaden your perspective by taking a few courses outside your very narrow focus area.

    • rskurat
      Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      also, women & minority playwrights were often responding to & heavily influenced by the writers they think they don’t need to study.

      It all fits together; maybe if the English Dept marketed these intro courses as “Holistic” and “Natural” the students might like them better.

  25. Christopher Bonds
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    What these students don’t seem to understand is that they are just as closed-minded as they think the University is. That is the nature of making demands and issuing ultimatums. Besides that, they are egocentric thinkers, as shown by their “we know better” attitude. What they don’t understand is that any female, person-of-color, LGBTQ++++ writer worth his [oops, sexist pronoun! mea culpa] salt WILL HAVE READ the canon anyway.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 10, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Perfectly true. In exactly the same way as any educated atheist will be familiar with a lot of Biblical concepts. That does NOT mean (Taunton please note in another thread) they’re necessarily endorsing the memes.


  26. denise
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Dear recent Oberlin grad: Your degree will soon be a joke. Hope you didn’t go $200k into debt for it.

  27. Doug
    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone ever objected to studying Karl Marx because he’s a dead white male?

    • somer
      Posted June 11, 2016 at 3:43 am | Permalink


  28. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 11, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Translation assistance needed : I thought that to “Deep six” something was to hit a ball such a blow that it makes a highest-possible score for whatever the game is. So to

    Deep six the two-part “Major English Poets” course

    is to promote it majorly.
    No – that does not add up. So, WTF does “deep six” actually mean?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 11, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Sink it, I think. Or bury it, six feet deep?


      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 11, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Google says six fathoms, the necessary depth for burial at sea. No relation to cricket.


        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted June 11, 2016 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          Hmmm, that one didn’t occur to me at all.
          Lots of fun traditions associated with burial at sea. Like putting the last stitch in the shroud through the body’s nose.

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