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Students Who Want College to Act Like Their Parents Will Ultimately Regret it

Students Who Want College to Act Like Their Parents Will Ultimately Regret it

What happens when they say no?

The nanny state is demanded by some American college students but if they got their wish, they’d be even more miserable.

Mark Yudof writes at the Dallas News:

Students want universities to act as parents, but they won’t like the results

Dorothy virtuously proclaimed that there is no place like home — even after an adventurous trip to the Emerald City. Historically the common law did not agree.

Under the in loco parentis doctrine, school authorities had the same rights as parents, or nearly so, to make rules for students in public schools and universities. In the not-too-distant past, school officials for example might regulate political speech on campus and student sexual behavior, even if consensual. School leaders were expected to make moral judgments for students and to enforce them. In a paternalist regime, due process was not required to impose discipline, including suspension. Then came the post-World War II era, the Free Speech Movement, and a sea-change in due process norms. Students asserted that they were entitled to be treated as adults with a wide range of speech and other rights. They won in practice and often in the courts; paternalism was in tatters.

But now there is a nascent, however subconscious or inadvertent, effort to reinstate in loco parentis. The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement was met with heckling and disruption at the University of California, Berkeley. At Haverford College and elsewhere, graduation speakers have been disinvited if some students detest their points of view. Speakers perceived as pro-Israel are routinely disrupted; a mob of students prevented the mayor of Jerusalem from speaking at San Francisco State. Universities have been called upon to keep campuses safe from critics of Black Lives Matters, the NRA, affirmative action, and “Trump 2016” chalk scribblings on sidewalks. Sometimes administrators criticized the speech; in other cases they censored or meted out discipline…

Universities are being asked to act as parents. Parents have broad moral authority over their children. If a parent may determine a child’s access to the internet, decline to invite racist Uncle Charlie over for dinner, impose a curfew on date nights, or celebrate a boys-only birthday party, why can’t a university perform a similar function?


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