Between a Rock and a Hard Place: How Universities Capitulate to Snowflakes

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  • Much has been made of "political correctness gone mad" on universities campuses, with far-left students—often pejoratively called "(special) snowflakes"—making increasingly extreme demands of school faculty based on some form of identity politics, often backed up by violent protests.

    Usually, the university winds up caving into these demands, if after a period of attempted negotiation.

    In the process, they usually have no choice but to violate the rights of either the institution or other individuals, creating a "might makes right" scenario where students can bully their will onto others. Some examples follow.

    Property Liability

    Before the well-publicized controversies of 2016, a rash of slip and fall lawsuits hit business communities and educational institutions alike. While businesses moved to protect themselves by increasing safety measures and investing in insurance, universities frequently caved to this intimidation tactic when wealthy parents threatened to sue or withdraw their funding. This really set the stage for the modern social order, where spineless administrators kowtow to the increasingly impossible standards of political correctness and emotional fragility of snowflakes.

    Sexual Assault Cases and Due Process

    Sexual assault cases have become a major cause among many students, and there have been several high-profile protests arguing for tighten the universities’ rules to fight it. While this is obviously an important issue, universities have often responded with regulations that prove draconian. An increasing number of lawsuits have been won by students who have been punished for sexual misconduct.

    In such cases, the accused may not have been allowed to know all of the accusations or evidence against them, nor were they allowed to defend themselves or even meet with the faculty who decided their guilt. As one judge noted, the university’s desire to bring justice to the supposed assault victims has infringed on any due process for those accused. 

    Controversial Speakers and Free Speech

    Conservative Ben Shapiro. Photo by Gage Skidmore

    Another major issue has been who is allowed to speak at college campuses. Often, any speaker who is deemed even slightly conservative will be defamed as a bigot by far-left students, who will protest, often violently, against their coming to campus. This has happened several times with provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, including some very expensive ones this year, but extends even to moderate or less inflammatory figures like Suzanne Venker, a critic of feminism. In all these cases, the rights of groups on campus to invite speakers, and the invited’s rights to free speech, are hampered or outright taken away by the protesters.

    In such cases, it is fair to say that university faculties, made up almost exclusively of leftists, support the "snowflakes’" positions to some degree, and if nothing else want the drama and chaos that they bring to end. However, they attempt to support students’ rights by violating the rights of other people who require the same protections. Both democratic values and the higher educational system demand they develop better strategies, even if it requires telling the mob "no" for once.

    You should be concerned about the types of values and influences you are exposing your kids to. Check out our college search to find out more information about the colleges your children are attending, or may attend in the future. Also see our college planning guides.

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