Infants in Mortarboards

A university that allows students to howl contrary views off campus, is no longer an educational institution but a nursery.

It's been routine practice for liberal college kids to riot whenever the administration invites a conservative speaker for so long that NBC News refers to the "disinvitation season" when commencement rolls around.

Recent antics have been getting ridiculous, however - Business Insider noted that even a transgender activist was disinvited when the students found out that the local Hillel society had co-sponsored the lecture.  Students knew that being sponsored by those intolerable Jews made her (his?) message intolerable without even having to hear it.

Not content with disinviting conservatives or people connected, however remotely, with the evil phantom ZOG, students have been demanding "trigger warnings" when a course might present material which any student might find unpleasant, and they're demanding "safe spaces" stocked with cookies, milk, videos of puppies, and soft toys where they can recuperate from experiencing any ideas that they find disturbing.

One campus demanded trauma relief from seeing "Trump 2016" chalked on campus sidewalks, despite a long tradition of students writing whatever they wanted on the sidewalks and an even longer tradition of political parties promoting their candidates similarly.  Another college body demanded relief from the upset of a lecture they hadn't even attended - the mere fact that unspeakably disturbing ideas had been presented on their campus, out of both sight and earshot, made them need comfort and a soft blankie.

It has become so common for campus administrators to accept such infantile, intolerant behavior that the New York Times found it newsworthy when the University of Chicago bucked the trend:

The anodyne welcome letter to incoming freshmen is a college staple, but this week the University of Chicago took a different approach: It sent new students a blunt statement opposing some hallmarks of campus political correctness, drawing thousands of impassioned responses, for and against, as it caromed around cyberspace.

"Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual 'safe spaces' where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own," John Ellison, dean of students, wrote to members of the class of 2020, who will arrive next month. ...

Last year, a faculty Committee on Freedom of Expression, appointed by Dr. Zimmer and headed by Professor Stone, produced a report stating that "it is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive."

"We didn't feel we were doing something, internal to the University of Chicago, that was in any way radical or different," Professor Stone said Friday.

This sort of bold statement about a University's obligation to encourage and protect the free interchange of ideas in order to fulfill its educational mission is all too rare these days. The Times observed that controversy about what may be said on campus has rocked Yale, Wesleyan, Oberlin and many other fabled colleges and universities and that most administrations have backed down.

To name but one notorious example, Yale allowed students to pressure a house master to resign because his wife wrote an email suggesting that college students were mature enough to select their own Halloween costumes.  The reaction shows that these students are barely mature enough to get out of bed, to say nothing of choosing what clothes to wear.

Are They Mental Cases?

We'd thought that these students were merely too immature to go off to college, but the problem may be worse than that.  The Wall Street Journal reports that colleges are seeing a surge in traffic at their mental health clinics.

It is a meeting of the twice weekly "Beating Anxiety" workshop and Dr. Pietrantonio is a clinical psychologist who works at the university's counseling center. The workshop advises students to tackle anxiety by exercising, getting enough sleep and reframing catastrophic thoughts (if my friend doesn't text me back right away, she hates me) in more logical ways (maybe she's studying) among other strategies.

It is one part of Ohio State's effort to cope with the dramatic increase in the number of its 59,000 students on the Columbus campus seeking help for mental-health issues.  [emphasis added]

As anyone who lives in the real world knows, this whole Earth proffers no cushier, more coddled, less demanding, less threatening place than an American college.  Why should college employees have to spend time explaining that a woman might have other things to do which keep her from texting back?

If a student can't handle the trauma of his girlfriend not texting him back right away, he simply isn't mature enough to leave home.  Maybe we need more twentysomethings playing videogames in their mothers' basements where they belong and can't infect us or their college classmates with their puerile stupidity?

Then There's the Navy Way

One of my friends graduated from high school and signed up for the US Navy.  He'd get two years of electronics training in return for four years of service at below-market pay, but he'd have a well-founded career and a track record and he'd be free of any tuition debt.

His personality was unusually spit-and-polish, so I believed he'd have no trouble keeping his shoes shined, his clothes buttoned, and doing all the other things that the Navy requires of shipshape sailors.

A couple of weeks into his training, he started vomiting uncontrollably.  The medics diagnosed him as homesick and sent him home with a medical discharge.

The Navy has a couple centuries experience converting teenagers into mature combat sailors.  Anyone who's so upset by being away from home that he becomes ill probably won't make it, so the earlier they flush him out, the better for all hands.

This works because the Navy has to spend money on each student whereas colleges get money for each student.  They have no incentive to get rid of crybaby students because the feds will loan the students enough money to cover all the mental health services the children need.

This is no surprise - many high school students don't even have to pass their courses before going off to college, they get promoted every year regardless of the work they do, so they expect the same at college.  If they so choose they can "graduate" with a worthless degree in a non-subject that nobody needs, at vast taxpayer expense.

Holding them back or forcing them to study something real would harm their weak little self-esteems.  They arrive on campus never having had to do anything serious, never expecting to, and indeed, not being so much as asked to do so, so anything that disturbs their idyllic idleness is going to be upsetting.

It's no surprise that the thought of actually having to learn something unfamiliar  or contradictory would be traumatic.  But what a waste of increasingly scarce societal resources large sections of our modern higher education system have become!

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

You don't really want my comments on this now. The cyber PC police get us all and I respect sufficiently not to compose a little diatribe on what is now a common Western problem because my lack of tolerance and an awful predisposition to use the language of your election candidates. They are rude, crude, lewd and detestable. I can't separate them because even here we are suffocated by the political agenda and have to resort to their obscene levels. I am getting so angry, I will have to write articles again and to hell with health consequences. My regards to the scragged group and thanks for good refs. My friend and sometime editor appreciated this approaches and "By their words (deeds) shall we know them" It is perhaps time to reorganize crucifixion squads and a secret police of our own. Just joking but...I leave it to you about dropping this from or into comments. Doc. W.

October 23, 2016 10:59 PM

It would seem that being well credentialed is not the same as being well educated. Many of the schools cited are quite competitive and I assume that these " students" made all the right moves to get into a prestigious university. The infantile approach to life must start in high school. Any idea that isn't pleasant is written off as "racist" , " sexist" or " hard". These responses seem to work and the unionized instructors let the dear darlings skate through believing that the world and Sunnybrook farm are one in the same.
I guess my question is " What happens to these coddled students once they graduate from college ?" I assume that some avoid the real world for a while by such subterfuges like graduate school, study abroad ( probably in a socialist country ) and internships. But eventually some must end up in a job where they have to compete for pay, recognition and promotion. I assume, in the private sector at least, there are the usual " 5 people for one job ". How do the darlings deal with being told that the person sitting next to them now is their boss? Or " it isn't working out" and they get escorted to HR. Life is full of challenges that it would seem that safe spaces and pictures of puppies don't prepare them for.

October 24, 2016 7:43 AM

Not much I could add to this essay and comments following, but I did want to note the role parents, particularly mothers, play in stifling the development of their children. Too much emphasis is placed on feigned success and false achievement at the expense of real education and learning that comes from the challenges and failure in the real world. We have all heard about "helicopter moms," "tiger moms," overly-involved soccer moms and baseball & football dads. It doesn't end with high school graduation.

Every year, parents, but especially moms, spend weeks, if not more, planning the decorating of dorm rooms, complete with designer bed sheets, towels, rugs, flat screen tvs, mini-fridges, computers, stereos, Xboxes, George Forman hot plates,and maybe a late model used car. Trailers are sometimes rented to haul the creature comforts. Then they help them move in and in at least one case I heard of, refused to leave until the residence advisor had the hinge pins removed from the locked door! I once had a mother present me with a 5" binder filled with all her son's "achievements," including the Eagle Scout award she earned on his behalf and the 2 hours of leaf-raking at the sponsoring church when he was in cub scouts!

It is no wonder kids are so mentally fragile. You cannot feel a sense of accomplishment if you never have to face a challenge unaided by your parents or experience the meaning of success without experiencing failure along the way. The Chinese and other people, including the likes of Russia's Putin must be liking their chops seeing so many crybabies in our Millennial generation.

While I am generally Liberation in my thinking, I am a proponent of a mandatory two year period of naional service away from home prior to entering college. During that time students would also explore different career paths that enable them to lead happily, healthy and independent lives. It would burst the bubble they were raised in and perhaps let them experience what the real world is like. We baby-boomers have failed our children in more ways than one.

October 24, 2016 1:09 PM

Both the coddled student and the tiger mom syndromes can be traced to the mass delusion that undergirds our college education system: that youth who abandon their natural curiosity in order to conform to every whim of their parents and teachers are in any way "superior" to those who seek their own knowledge through experience and observation. Until employers and society in general recognize the absurdity of this, we are doomed to the creation of more and more dysfunctional, puerile, faux-adults. Ivy league imposed infantilism still results in high-paid jobs. Until that changes, we will continue this downward spiral.

September 12, 2017 8:30 AM

You're right, but we can also go down due to overspending, as explained in the book

September 12, 2017 5:31 PM
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