In this week's magazine, I have a long piece about the campus protests that engulfed colleges across the country this fall. The story is by turns absurd, comedic, and worrisome.
To give you just one example: When the protests came to Amherst College, they began as a one-hour sit-in staged by three students. Over the course of an afternoon, other students, administrators, faculty, and various campus stooges glommed on. The protestors came up with a list of demands and then called the college president's office to demand that she come to the library to receive them.
The president had left that afternoon for a business trip to Japan. Contacted somewhere en route-it seems she hadn't yet boarded the plane-Amherst's president dropped everything and scurried back to her college's library so that protestors could present her with their demands.
But that's not the best part.
As she was being presented with demands, three other students came forward and declared that like the brave University of Missouri protestor who got kind-of famous for going on a hunger strike, they too were embarking on hunger strikes.
But that's not the best part, either.
No, the best part is that when Amherst's president solicitously asked these students, who were now minutes into their grand hunger strike, what their demands were, they admitted that they didn't have any. And instead of laughing at them, the woman charged with safeguarding Amherst's $2.1 billion endowment, begged them to "practice self care" and "not to harm their bodies."
This is crazy town.
Since my piece was published, the hits have kept on coming from colleges across the country. My favorite has been the update at Brown University.
The progressive administrators at Brown were so cowed by allegations of racism that they rushed to promise to spend $100 million-you read that right-in order to create "a just and inclusive campus."
It's worth noting two things here. The first is that if it costs $100 million to make Brown-the hippy Ivy-"just and inclusive," then what's it going to cost to socially re-engineer the rest of America's institutions? Ohio State has seven times as many students as Brown-would it cost $700 million to purify OSU? The school's endowment is $3.5 billion; they could just take it out of there, I suppose. But then, I doubt many people think that OSU is as progressive a place as Brown. The Buckeyes probably have a lot more work ahead of them. I'm not even sure a billion dollars would do the trick.
But that's not really the point. The point, as I argue in my piece in the STANDARD, is that none of this is actually about racism. It's about power. And if you need any further proof, have a look at the Brown protestors' reaction to the announcement of the $100 million sop being given them: They want more. There's a great piece in the Daily Beast about what the reaction to the $100 million as been at Brown: "[D]espite allocating an impressive amount of financial and academic resources to promoting identity diversity, this plan has failed to quell the tide of student anger at Brown. A group of protesting students declared Dec. 3 'Day of Reclamation'."
There's video from the Day of Reclamation and watching Brown's president, Christina Paxson, get excoriated by the mob she tried to placate is all kinds of awesome:
The Facebook group also includes a video of students interrupting and shouting at Paxson during the Day of Reclamation... .
"We have obligations like being in class, but we can't focus on those things because we have to focus on being alive," one female student says in the video.
"The university is saying they're interested in hearing our trauma and forcing us to relive and tell you over and over again," says another student.
One student in the video calls for the disarming of Brown University police in the Department of Public Safety (known as DPS). "If you say you value black students, when black students say 'Disarm DPS,' you would say 'Okay, I'll disarm DPS.'"
Paxson calmly counters, "Valuing people and agreeing with everything they demand are not the same thing," a message that seems to be lost on the students.
When Brown University provost Richard Locke asks if they could have a conversation, as opposed to the shouting, he is met in the video with several shouts of "no." A male student says, "Heterosexual white males have always dominated the space."
When Locke appears to correct him and say he is not heterosexual, the student responds, "Well, homosexual, it don't matter. White males are at the top of the hierarchy. Cis gender white males are at the top of the hierarchy." ...
In response to Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Plan, students released their own 14-page set of demands on the Day of Reclamation.
That last part is the kicker: A hundred million dollars just gets you another round of demands from this mob. For some people, the world is not enough.
As I said in the magazine, the only thing that will satisfy the protestors is the total dominance of every person and institution they can master. And the total destruction of any person or institution they cannot.
I watched the season finale of South Park tonight and it was nowhere near as funny as this. College students going on a hunger strike without a list of demands? Are they just intending to die? It seems like a good time to start learning Chinese.