mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Growing Up Today
Trauma and Triviality at Our Nation’s Universities
Features Icon
show comments
  • michaelj68

    Are Bard students made of sterner stuff?

  • Anthony

    Not sure about connected topics of post but certainly don’t think this is a “university failure” – though I concede I may be missing something.

    • Fred

      Well, it’s certainly not just a university failure. These kids are obviously uberwimps or so lazy they’ll use any excuse to avoid an exam, and I’m sure most of them came to the university that way. That said, when the university validates that behavior and and capitulates to it a la Columbia Law School, it encourages the behavior and makes it worse.

  • wigwag

    “…the preponderance of this kind of fallacious nonsense on Oberlin’s campus and many others demonstrates a real failure on the part of the universities to instruct their students.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Yes it surely does; but the real problem is that university faculty are often even more thin-skinned than the students. The faculty at Harvard agitated to get Larry Summers fired for merely mentioning the entirely plausible hypothesis that biological difference in male and female brains provides each gender with advantages and disadvantages that might play out in the academic realm. The sensibilities of scores of Brandeis faculty were too delicate to listen to what Ayaan Hirsi Ali might have to say about her experiences growing up in an extremist Islamic society. Faculty members who bother to show up at conferences put on by putative learned societies like the American Studies Association and the Middle East Studies Association tremble at the prospect that they might have to sit in a room with Israeli scholars.

    Its easy to make light of all of this and there is good reason for that. Few of us would like to be judged by the silly and immature views we held when we were in college; I know that I wouldn’t. But with that said, the culture on elite college campuses has deteriorated so much that it now borders on the pathological. The example provided in this post of the situation in Oberlin is merely a symptom of a far more serious disease. Unfortunately, things seem to be getting worse not better.

    Presumably Ms Ms. Kurzer-Zlotnick will grow up one day and her views will become more nuanced. But we shouldn’t blame all of her immaturity and the immaturity of her fellow college students on America’s institutions of higher education. These children (and unfortunately children is what they are, despite being in their late teens and early twenties) were schooled at the knee of the baby boom generation. The baby boomers have never exactly been known for their toughness or tenacity.

    As the old saying goes, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

    • Enemy Leopard

      This wasn’t written by WRM; it’s a signed post, written by “NC.” Looking at the masthead, I see that only Nicholas Clairmont has those initials.

      Edit: If you hover over the “NC,” it does indeed identify Nick Clairmont as the author.

  • Fat_Man

    They all got trophies for “winning” the soccer tournament. Now they want somebody to kiss their boo-boo. Remind me. What is the case for spending a quarter of a million dollars to send these special snowflakes to college for four years?

  • Boritz

    “When the graduates of our nation’s august educational institutions like Oberlin move out into the world and the workplace, they will be expected to do their work, day in and day out, regardless of the horrors on the front page of the newspaper. ”

    Start by telling them that, by the way, a majority of employers don’t give spring break off and they will be expected to work through this period or use annual leave to cover it. That’s probably as much as they can handle for starters.

  • Andrew Allison

    It might have been worth mentioning that in two of the three cases Grand Juries have found that there was insufficient evidence to indict.

  • qet

    First–this is a sandbox built by faculty that all these kids across the country are playing in. You say the universities have failed to instruct their students, and you are right, except that they in fact see themselves as doing just that–instructing students in what is “really important.” The real question, and one WRM may have some insight into given his long academic career, is: how is it that such a preponderance of this country’s institutions of higher learning have allowed themselves to become infiltrated by, and now captives, hostages, of, tenured professors (and their tenure-seeking sycophants) who espouse uncritical extreme Left views and who connive to chase away any and all persons who might dare even to ask them questions?? Honestly, the prevalence, among adult faculty!, of the idea that to even question someone’s assertion of their favored “ism” is itself a form of harassment and hate speech, is just not to be believed. Such fantastic notions are eagerly embraced by modern Tertullians who shout, in essence, credo quia absurdum!

    Second–this statement is just flat wrong: “the issue here is not the thinking of one young woman, who is entitled
    to think through how to respond to upsetting issues as she sees fit.” If this were the thinking of only one young woman, then I would agree with the observation, but she is #10,917 in a growing list of “young persons” who are being allowed publishing platforms for their temper tantrums, and in such great numbers they are in fact affecting the overall academic environment for the worse. And WRM’s use of the term “entitled” is more telling than he (perhaps) realizes. No, the issue here is precisely the thinking of one young woman, the thinking that she is indeed entitled to have her demands met simply because she is allowed, encouraged even, to regurgitate a handful of empty idiomatic words that she doesn’t understand in the least (because to understand them you would have to be first, um, educated), to the wild applause not just of fellow soft-brained teens but of faculty as well.

  • Teacher_in_Tejas

    As I read this in my classroom I have high school seniors taking their finals, including a student who buried her younger sibling just last week, after she had died in a horrible car wreck!

    Reading that petition just fills me with anger as I look at my student taking care of her business here. (And she very well could have asked for an exemption or an incomplete and chose not to)

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service