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Activism creates mental health problems for Brown Univ. students

Activism creates mental health problems for Brown Univ. students

“My grades dropped dramatically. My health completely changed. I lost weight.”

Let’s play, Progressive or Parody.

Some students at Brown University devote so much of their time to activism they are getting stressed out, and it’s creating mental health problems. (h/t @JeffreyGoldberg)

From the Brown University Daily Herald, Schoolwork, advocacy place strain on student activists:

Two weeks ago, the University released the final version of its diversity and inclusion action plan, which could not have been compiled without the exhaustive efforts of students throughout last semester.

“There are people breaking down, dropping out of classes and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” said David, an undergraduate whose name has been changed to preserve anonymity. Throughout the year, he has worked to confront issues of racism and diversity on campus.

His role as a student activist has taken a toll on his mental, physical and emotional health. “My grades dropped dramatically. My health completely changed. I lost weight. I’m on antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills right now. (Counseling and Psychological Services) counselors called me. I had deans calling me to make sure I was okay,” he said.

I have a solution:

Part of what sparked campus activist mental trauma, according to the article was a column published in The Daily Herald last October, The white privilege of cows, which led the student journalists at The Daily Herald to add this disclaimer at the top of the article:

Editors’ Note: This column did not meet The Herald’s standards for writing and clarity, and, more importantly, contained several factual inaccuracies regarding biology and race that cannot be corrected without compromising the argument of the entire column. The column relied on the repeatedly disproven premise that race is a biological category. The Herald regrets the publication of the column. We apologize to our readers for the factual errors and offensive claims made in it and for the shortcomings of our editorial process. In an effort to be transparent about our mistake, we are leaving the column online. We initially made the decision to publish the column, as we generally edit opinions columns for style and clarity alone, giving our columnists great leeway in making their argument as part of our commitment to freedom of expression. We regret that decision and believe it’s clear that this column crossed the line from an opinion we merely disagree with to one that has no place in our paper. The Herald is committed to an accurate and thoughtful opinions section, and we are taking steps to prevent similar issues in the future. Though we continue to strive to promote a venue for the free exchange of ideas, we do not and will not tolerate racism. We invite readers to send responses to [email protected].

In other words, some people strongly disagreed with the author of the article. The Daily Herald noted how the controversy contributed to mental stress among student activists:

David spent numerous hours organizing demonstrations with fellow activists [against the Cow Privilege article]. Meanwhile, he struggled to balance his classes, job and social life with the activism to which he feels so dedicated. Stressors and triggers flooded his life constantly, he said.

David turned to CAPS and reached out to deans for notes that extended his deadlines for assignments. These were helpful, he said, but acted only as “bandages” for the underlying causes of stress.

Justice Gaines ’16, who uses the pronouns xe, xem and xyr, said student activism efforts on campus are necessary. “I don’t feel okay with seeing students go through hardships without helping and organizing to make things better.”

In the wake of The Herald’s opinion pieces, Gaines felt overwhelmed by emotions flooding across campus. Students were called out of class into organizing meetings, and xe felt pressure to help xyr peers cope with what was going on, xe said. Gaines “had a panic attack and couldn’t go to class for several days.”

Hey, you know what also was stressful on the Brown University campus?

When student and community activists shouted down Ray Kelly:

And tried to prevent Michael Douglas and Natan Sharansky from speaking out against anti-Semitism on campus.


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Hey, CRAZY has costs! A lot of these poor deluded kids are fated to a very unhappy life if they don’t do a 180.

So, when do the lil snot noses demand a safe space from activism?

Yeah. I once heard of a full-time community organizer.

legacyrepublican | February 19, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Justice Gaines ’16, who uses the pronouns xe, xem and xyr, said student activism efforts on campus are necessary. “I don’t feel okay with seeing students go through hardships without helping and organizing to make things better.”

This posting should have come with a trigger warning. Now I am going to have to find a way to stop laughing thanks to you Prof. Jacobson.

What were you thinking?! 😉

There’s only one fair solution: let the activists drop all their classes, so they don’t have all the stress of, you know, actually learning something useful; and give them their degree after four years if they maintain an above average activism score.

Progressive Parody (also Planned Parenthood). It’s not over.

With catastrophic anthropogenic global warping, a dysfunctional convergence is forthcoming.

I always thought you were supposed to go to school, finish your degree in whatever, and then go out and fix the world. Poor little cupcakes.

xe, xem and xyr. What happened to Z? Z must feel left out, not included.

Moral relativism is a product of nihilism and despair, a product of moral relativism.

The battle for first place of No Meaning would give any one depression.

Scary, it sounds like a cult, it’s like they’re being brainwashed. Of course they’re freaking out, being a fanatic is stressful.

Oh those poor ivy babies! No sympathy here. Wait til they have to get jobs and then let’s see how little those hours spent on activism work out for them.

The Friendly Grizzly | February 19, 2016 at 2:32 pm

How many of these special snowflakes are taking a real major?

    One or two might be taking a hard science major. And they’re probably there because some cute girl down the hall decided to go be part of the “movement.”

    The vast majority: Women’s studies, African American Studies, basket weaving or some other gobbledygook that that will be useless outside of academia.

Oh BOO freaking HOO.

These whiners have to grow up, put on their [gender neutral, gender specific, gender fluid, transgender, etc…] undergarment of choice and get with the program.

Or, alternatively (and infinitely more preferable) drop out and make room for someone with the mental and emotional fortitude to take said classes.

In College at Syracuse University, I was a member of the Student Association for 3 years (was a member of the President’s cabinet at-large for 2 years under two separate administrations), was a member of the University Senate, as well as being on a committee of USEN, held down a 30+ hour per week night job in manufacturing and still managed to pull down a final GPA of 2.9 something.

If I were to ever have an applicant come across my desk where I asked them “what did you do during college” and they replied “I did a lot of activism” and I asked them “did your grades or work suffer because of it” and they said “Yes” that applicant would be discarded the instant they left my office. If you can’t prioritize, you’re going to be useless except as a single-task, always monitored drone.

They’re in a post-secondary education program. It’s time they began acting like it. Also, this is largely why a college decree has lost so much of it’s value to the public. The training has become useless farce.

I went to college to learn, not ‘activism’ or ‘social life’. Maybe college is not the place for these people.

1. Which came first? The mental instability or the activism?

2. “xe”, “xem”, and “xyr? I find that utterly offensive. If someone were stupid enough to refer to me using those stupid terms, I’d macroagress their ass into the next century.

    malclave in reply to Sanddog. | February 19, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I wish I could write. I’d love to put out a science fiction book where a race with three (or more!) sexes uses one of these new sets of semi-pronouns.

Parents of young children, take a look. There is something your older siblings did wrong which caused them to end up with grown “kids” like those. Learn from their mistakes.

They have it backwards – it’s the mental health issues that cause the activism.

“Activism creates mental health problems for Brown Univ. students”

This is completely wrong. It should read:

“Mental health problems create activism for Brown Univ. students.”

There. My work here is done.


Gentleman’s Rules:

Tie goes to the Luke.

Selling your soul and your future – and selling it cheaply – in exchange for a short, free ride will take a toll on one’s psyche.

Living a lie is rough stuff. Living someone else’s lie is even tougher.

The next step for the left (while the rest of us sleep) is to correct the mistake of not making a generation of sociopaths. (It worked for Mao (his Red Guard), Hitler (the Hitler Youth), and the Khmer Rouge, to name a modern handful. It’s sort of working for Obama/Jarrett (BlackLivesMatter thugs), but hopefully it’s too late in the game.)

I have a suggestion – why not drop out of Brown and enroll in a community college and take fewer courses so they can be as activist as they want.

Perhaps the Brown administration should advise them to be activist in poor urban areas because those are most in need of rich white liberal activists who need trigger warnings and special snowflake pronouns.

Somebody please suggest to James O’Keefe that he show up in the Brown admissions office with a prospective applicant and ask about these incidents with camera rolling.