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Silence in the face of campus extremism is a vice

Silence in the face of campus extremism is a vice

Reed College professor calls on faculty not to “stay silent about this extremist moment on campuses”

Reed College Assistant Professor of English and humanities Lucía Martínez Valdivia writes in The Washington Post of the extremism from the “social justice” movement on campuses, and how too many faculty just stay silent., Professors like me can’t stay silent about this extremist moment on campuses.

Her story begins with the history of a months-long continuous disruption of classes objecting to the required first-year humanities course, among other reasons because it included the teaching of Aristotle and Plato:

Three times a week, students sat in the lecture space holding signs — many too obscene to be printed here — condemning the course and its faculty as white supremacists, as anti-black, as not open to dialogue and criticism , on the grounds that we continue to teach, among many other things, Aristotle and Plato.

In the interest of supporting dissent and the free exchange of ideas, the faculty and administration allowed this. Those who felt able to do so lectured surrounded by those signs for the better part of a year. I lectured, but dealt with physical anxiety — lack of sleep, nausea, loss of appetite, inability to focus — in the weeks leading up to my lecture…. The signs intimidated faculty into silence, just as intended, and these silenced professors’ lectures were quietly replaced by talks from people willing and able to carry on teaching in the face of these demonstrations.

I think obscuring these acts of silencing was a mistake that resulted in an escalation of the protesters’ tactics.

Prof. Valdivia then laments how the silence of the professoriate only makes things worse:

If I, like so many colleagues nationwide, am afraid to say what I think, am I not complicit in the problem?

At Reed and nationwide, we have largely stayed silent, probably hoping that this extremist moment in campus politics eventually peters out. But it is wishful thinking to imagine that the conversation will change on its own.

So why are faculty so silent?

I suspect there are a number of things going on. Most fundamental is fear of the most extreme campus activists, and of being singled out like happened to Bret Weinstein (formerly) of Evergreen State.

And thus begins the vicious cycle of extremism and silence, which breeds more extremism and more silence.

It’s not a uniform experience at all campuses, but it doesn’t take very many Brett Weinsteins in the news to get the message across that there is a tall price to be paid. And that for faculty, being the squeaky wheel gets you attacked. And for most faculty, the risk/reward ration says not to be the squeaky wheel.


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How far we have sunk for a so-called university to allow this type of intimidation.
It is uplifting to hear a professor to speak up against this status. She provides hope.

DieJustAsHappy | October 29, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Perhaps a class action lawsuit against the colleges and universities allowing this climate of intimidation, disruption, and fear brought by students who consider they’re being deprived of the education they’re paying for. It’s to the administration to take control of this, setting the boundaries between freedom and license.

Remind, one more time, who the fascists are? Who are the bullies, the oppressors, the Nazis, the xenophobes? Who are offensive, violent, prejudiced, and intolerant?

How about statements from college presidents like this:
You selected this university from scores of others. By coming here, you have volunteered to abide by our rules. You have volunteered to learn what we teach. If you don’t like our rules and don’t like what we teach, go elsewhere – someplace you find more comfortable, more comforting, less triggering, less oppressive, less white. But while you’re here, you’ll abide by our rules or you will be expelled. Period. This is how the real world works. It’s time you all grew up and started acting like adults.

    “This is how the real world works. It’s time you all grew up and started acting like adults…”

    Unfortunately, it’s not about acting like adults. It’s about the leftists in charge of our schools fermenting violent revolution.

It is ironic that college students are protesting the teachings of Plato and Aristotle, considering that they wouldn’t be there without their teachings and influence on history.

What about this???

A survey of more than 1,000 US Jewish college students by Trinity College revealed that 54% of surveyed students reported experiencing or witnessing instances of anti-Semitism on campus during the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year. Another survey of more than 3,000 North American Jewish college students conducted by Brandeis University in the Spring of 2015 found that 75% of students had been exposed to anti-Semitic rhetoric, and one in three students reported having been harassed because they were Jewish. Just since the start of 2017 there have been scores of student-authored op-eds and articles detailing the anti-Semitism Jewish students and faculty face on campus on a regular basis.

amatuerwrangler | October 29, 2017 at 10:59 pm

In light of all this protest, why is the “college education” apparently still so highly regarded in the commercial, AKA Real, world? One would expect, just like the fate of municipal bonds when the inmates take over the institution, this protest foolishness would result in a downgrading of the sheepskin.

    The average college degree today has negative value. These people are stupider after several years of leftist indoctrination and “social justice” than they were to begin with.

irishgladiator63 | October 29, 2017 at 10:59 pm

And here I thought professors were supposed to be brave souls who speak truth to power. At least, that’s what they told me.

I wonder if her parents came from a country destroyed by “peaceful” socialists.

Where is the GOPe on all this? Where have they been during all this time? Alongside this pathetic excuse for a man:

John Boehner unleashed: Ex-House speaker curses at lawmakers, says congressman once held a knife to his throat:

Boehner On Trump: ‘He Doesn’t Have An Ideological Bone In His Body’

“So why are faculty so silent?”

Because many of them agree with the protesters.

    Semper Why in reply to Rabel. | November 2, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    The ones who do not agree with the protesters understand that the protesters are the creation of their faculty peers. The enforcement arm of Crazy Wendy down the hall, teaching Lesbian Poetry Theory.

“There Are None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See.”

Who does not see we are facing revolution by a violent minority of the population who cannot gain control at the ballot box? Boehner? McCain? Bill Crystal? Miss Lindsay? Ryan? McConnell?


In many regards they are dumb college kids, conforming with their peers, wasting the precious time they are afforded to actually develop their minds.

Their teachers, on the other hand, are not so easily excused. They are more activists than teachers and that is wrong.

    They are goung to be as twisted as the 60’s bill ayers types, and raise yet another generation of deranged leftists.

    kenoshamarge in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | October 30, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I don’t think you just get dismissed as a “dumb college kid” when you are bullying and intimidating people. Other “kids” their age are carrying a gun, in dangerous places, to protect the rest of us.

    These kids are thugs. Nothing more. Nothing less. And the fools in academia that now fear them created them.

i wish the Left would hurry up and start the open civil war they are obviously dead set on having.

The solution is basic I think. How long does a fire burn without oxygen?

Cut off all taxpayer funds including research and student loans as this financial support is at least an implicit violation of the first amendment at least to some degree.

How many of us have had a child who grew up quickly when the “free” money from mom & pop ended? Or, maybe we were that kid?

Paul In Sweden | October 30, 2017 at 7:02 am

If this happened at a corporate office meeting, a town hall meeting, a church service, a beauty pageant, an Al Gore Cli-Fi festival or any other number of other venues the students would have been arrested by city police, dragged off to jail, booked, finger printed, detained, arraigned and charged by the DA.

It boggles my mind. At the very least the students should be expelled from school.

This is not free speech. This is lawless behavior and if I was a paying student, I would consider it a theft of services and would demand compensation. As tax payers, when this occurs across the nation in publicly funded institutions in lieu of compensation we should continue to demand prosecution.

Read the original writings of George Washington; no formal education, self taught. It becomes stunningly obvious that our education system is an utter failure.

Not only that, it is also true that it has been so, for a very long time. College students today are borderline illiterate by the standards of the 18th century. Ipso facto their professors are only slightly to their right in the intellect distribution and the administrations are a bit to the right of that.

It is no surprise that college age middle schoolers, taught by high school professors, with associate degreed administrators, act like children

As the I man says, you cannot fix stupid. And stupid seems to attract very homely and down right ugly people. Go figure.

OSU found the best way to handle this behavior.

When dealing with toddlers, talk to them like toddlers. Tell them the reasons, don’t engage in their distractions, give them clear choices and clear consequences. More “Universities” need to embrace this tactic.

It’s supposed to be a school, not a forum for political agitators. If they disrupt classes and fail to learn what’s being taught, fail them, kick them out, or both. And, if the administration won’t do it, quit — this is not a fit place for a professor who actually wants to teach to be.

“The best lack all conviction
While the worst are full of passionate intensity” – Yeats. The Second Coming

Good luck with this Prof. One of the most frustrating struggles in my life has been getting good people to step up and not avert their gaze

Why all the hysterical overreaction? Kids will always be kids.

Incorporate these classes into the history department and rename them “Red Guards and Cultural Revolution 1966-1976.”

There. You have the most stimulating, most student-centered, most interactive history classes anywhere to be found.

In this new learning paradigm destined to be the envy of the academic world, students learn history not through dreary, dusty, dry textbooks, but by living it—traveling through time as they connect the past with the present, leaving broken lives and bodies in their wake.

Let’s make our first five-year academic plan!

Surely not every student is involved in classroom protests … so why haven’t students who want to take the class and who have paid for it, bringing civil suit(s) against the protesters for blocking their access to what they’ve paid for? It ain’t just the professors and college administrators who could take action to shut down the craziness.

Take photos, identify the subversives, serve and sue them … or expel them … but that would require a spine.

Shout Out to Prof. Jacobson! Heard you on Mark Levin tonight.

As a chemistry professor, I rarely ever saw a minority student in one of my classes not required for all students to take. My colleagues in chemistry, engineering, physics, and so forth. When I do see that rare minority student (almost always Hispanic) I ask why these courses are never attended and the answer I get is that they are simply too difficult. In courses n the hard sciences and engineering, you have a single correct answer (usually a number obtained from a calculation) that cannot be answered with BS. Minorities tend into “studies” courses, sociology, and similar courses because they do not have to study, and their BS is thought by the liberal faculty members to represent deep thought.
Now we are seeing eve n more BS where the criterion used to determine if a thinker or writer of our past was of a sufficient caliber to warrant study is based on identity politics and not the quality of the thinking. If you study mediocre thinkers with mediocre teachers, then you will get mediocre results. This is an insult to our education system and it carries with it a dumbing down of our culture thereby making us less smart and competitive overall. Martin Luther King must be turning in his grave.