As student organizations across the country move to protect themselves from the scourge of free speech, college campuses have become hotbeds for the social conscience of America. Without these brave people standing up to the dangers of discomfort, America would be in great trouble.
On Friday, tensions came to a head at Harvard Law School when the student organization Reclaim Harvard Law fought with students over whether or not they had the right to place posters in a student lounge that Reclaim Harvard Law occupied.
These posters were not those of bands, singers or athletes, but rather ones that had opinions counter to those of Reclaim Harvard Law’s members. They questioned whether Reclaim allowed for free expression, and evidence suggests that group does not. Thank goodness that these brave students are standing up to people who believe something other than themselves. If they did not stifle the opinions and expression of ideas of others, people within the Harvard Law community might disagree with Reclaim Harvard Law’s own viewpoint.
Take what happened last month at Emory University where some person wrote “Trump 2016” in chalk on a public area of the campus. Students had a mini meltdown and accused the author of threatening the student body. Some Emory students went so far as to directly say that this act made them fear for their lives. Then, on Saturday morning, the group Stop Trump at Emory tweeted that they had just arrived at their organization’s meeting to find a piece of chalk on the floor. They immediately made the accusation that this piece of chalk was intentionally left on the floor as a deliberate threat to them. Many, according to Stop Trump at Emory, were “pretty shaken up” and felt unsafe.
These are but a few of the many instances of free speech suppression and hyper sensitivity occurring on the campuses of universities across the United States and the world. After Bill Hammond, a political columnist in New York, sarcastically suggested that college students protesting cultural insensitivity and seeking to feel protected from uncomfortable speech should consider banning algebra, Canadian university students attempted to do just that. These students launched a petition calling for the removal of all courses that use algebra.
As the petitioning students put it: This branch of mathematics has its cultural roots in ancient Babylonia.
It clearly is offensive to those with Babylonian heritage when students explore the idea of solving complex equations. Students these days seek to feel insulated from things that make them uncomfortable and out of place. They are demonstrating their inability to adequately process things that they do not care for. They are also showing how they will react throughout their lives when their manner of thought is challenged. At the same, it is frustrating, disappointing, comical, and chilling.
The solution to this problem on campus is increasingly clear. Colleges must provide each student with their own emotional security protective detail. This group of brave bodyguards will selflessly catch a rhetorical bullet for the student they are protecting. Should the threat of an alternative view arise, these highly-trained professionals will spring to action and whisk the student into a motorcade that shall spirit them to their designated safe space. Never mind that the cost of this will be astronomical and most likely increase each student’s tuition (and subsequent college debt) many times over. The important thing is the emotional safety these bodyguards will provide.
College is a time when students are supposed to explore many different ideas. Protesting and figuring out one’s own identity is something that should occur. In fact, prior generations protested at college because it was the pre-Tinder way of getting laid. Now, students would actually picket a showing of the film Animal House because its title is insensitive to quadrupeds that have yet to evolve and develop into a highly-organized society capable of communicating like human beings do. (Imagine how Otter, D-Day and Bluto would react to the situation on campus today).
Students across the country seem to want a hug and safe space more than they desire a full and complete education. If they do not receive their reassuring silliness, they have temper tantrums on a grand scale.
Photo by @phuckthestate
Evan Siegfried, a Republican strategist and columnist, is president of Somm Consulting. You can follow him on Twitter at @evansiegfried