Friday, August 5, 2016

The Alumni Fight Back

Many have suggested it. Some have actually followed up on it.

Beginning with the University of Missouri, alumni are beginning to rebel against the revolting behavior of young campus activists. They are doing what they can do. They are starving the beast … of political correctness and identity politics. They are voting with their wallets against the pusillanimous administrators and brain dead faculty members who have turned these schools into hotbeds for radically anti-Western politics.

One notes that these campuses are laboratories for diversity. How's that working out?

It would be nice if someone noticed that the time when this has gotten completely out of control is the Age of Obama, but, you cannot have everything.

In the meantime, alumni discontent has become sufficiently marked to have been noticed by the New York Times. (Via Maggie’s Farm.)

The Times reports on alumni who are cutting their gifts to their alma maters. First among equals, Scott MacConnell, an Amherst alum:
Scott MacConnell cherishes the memory of his years at Amherst College, where he discovered his future m├ętier as a theatrical designer. But protests on campus over cultural and racial sensitivities last year soured his feelings.

Now Mr. MacConnell, who graduated in 1960, is expressing his discontent through his wallet. In June, he cut the college out of his will.

“As an alumnus of the college, I feel that I have been lied to, patronized and basically dismissed as an old, white bigot who is insensitive to the needs and feelings of the current college community,” Mr. MacConnell, 77, wrote in a letter to the college’s alumni fund in December, when he first warned that he was reducing his support to the college to a token $5.

Apparently, the protest has most clearly touched the finances of small liberal arts colleges, that is, colleges that have smaller endowments and that are not on the public dole:

Although fund-raisers are still gauging the extent of the effect on philanthropy, some colleges — particularly small, elite liberal arts institutions — have reported a decline in donations, accompanied by a laundry list of complaints.

Why do the alumni object? The Times absurdly calls it a lament, but their protest ought to receive the same respect that the Times offers to people who try to shut down commerce:

Among their laments: Students are too wrapped up in racial and identity politics. They are allowed to take too many frivolous courses. They have repudiated the heroes and traditions of the past by judging them by today’s standards rather than in the context of their times. Fraternities are being unfairly maligned, and men are being demonized by sexual assault investigations. And university administrations have been too meek in addressing protesters whose messages have seemed to fly in the face of free speech.

Obviously, the inmates have taken control of the asylums. And they have done so with the connivance and support of faculty administrators.

The Times reports about a Yale grad who was confronted with the nonsense that occurred on that campus last spring:

Scott C. Johnston, who graduated from Yale in 1982, said he was on campus last fall when activists tried to shut down a free speech conference, “because apparently they missed irony class that day.” He recalled the Yale student who was videotaped screaming at a professor,Nicholas Christakis, that he had failed “to create a place of comfort and home” for students in his capacity as the head of a residential college.

“I don’t think anything has damaged Yale’s brand quite like that,” said Mr. Johnston, a founder of an internet start-up and a former hedge fund manager. “This is not your daddy’s liberalism.”

“The worst part,” he continued, “is that campus administrators are wilting before the activists like flowers.” Yale College’s alumni fund was flat between this year and last, according to Karen Peart, a university spokeswoman.

Damage to the brand is damage to the value of a Yale degree. Perhaps the damage will not be done all at once, but the trend is clear and it is not moving in a positive direction.

As is its wont, the Times refuses to call political correctness by its name, coining the term supercorrectness to cover up the identity of the ideological culprit:

In the category of supercorrectness, some alumni note that in March, a new director of the Women’s and Gender Center asked to be addressed as “they,” rather than “he” or “she.” “This is not a joke,” Paul Ruxin, who identified himself as “Old Curmudgeon class of ’65,” wrote to his classmates shortly before he died in April.

A younger Amherst graduate is fed up with the politicization of the educational process and has ceased participating in alumni organizations and activities:

Robert Longsworth, class of ’99, the seventh in his family to have attended Amherst, has been the president of the New York City alumni association and a class agent. But he has withdrawn, he said, because of his sense that the college has become “so wrapped up in this politically charged mission rather than staying in its lane and being an institution of higher education.”

Mr. Longsworth, 39, who works in the financial industry, said he thought erasing history only made people more vulnerable to racism. “When the administration and faculty and ultimately a lot of the student body spends a great deal of time on witch hunts, I think that a lot of that intellectual rigor is forgone,” he said.

Mr. Longsworth said he had heard from “friends who went to Hamilton, Trinity, Williams, Bates, Middlebury, Hobart, who are not pleased at what’s happened on campus, and they’ve kind of stepped away.” For these alumni, he said, refusing to write a check “seems to be the only lever that can make a difference.”

The more alumni do this, the better things will get. But, the infiltration has been happening for decades now. It will not disappear in a day. And it will not disappear until parents also follow the example of a number of University of Missouri parents and stop sending their children to these schools. 


AesopFan said...

I would cheer this development more enthusiastically, except for the sad fact that, if the small colleges wither and die instead of reforming, there will be nothing left but the large public institutions that use your money for indoctrination without your acquiescence (I would have said permission, but by voting for the Marxists in charge - or by failing to defeat them, since there have been no unanimous elections that I know of, other than the one for Obama in Philadelphia -- the electorate has ceded that quality).

Sam L. said...

Well, AF, they chose that course, and "on their own heads be it". I've read that the MO state legislators are cutting the appropriation for the U of MO.

AesopFan said...

Sam L. said...
Well, AF, they chose that course, and "on their own heads be it". I've read that the MO state legislators are cutting the appropriation for the U of MO.

August 5, 2016 at 8:39 AM

I certainly hope so; most states, I fear, will not.
However the metastasis from PC to #BLM violence might be a tipping point if it comes to the campuses.

Ares Olympus said...

Fighting against political correctness is a tough battle, at least if you do it within the framing of the argument of the corrector, which demands only one legitimate side of an argument.

I'm not against a new term supercorrectness over PC, if that helps people see that sometimes they have good points, but aren't always helping by needing other people to be wrong for them to feel validated.

Somehow you have to help people step back from their self-righteous issue for a while and consider other parallel issues that they don't have emotional charges for them personally, and then there's a chance someone might see the light.

John Cleese offers fair argument: John Cleese: Political Correctness Can Lead to an Orwellian Nightmare
“The idea,” he said, “that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is one I absolutely do not subscribe to.”

This is why it’s a problem to be around “super-sensitive people,” Cleese explained, because “you cannot relax and be spontaneous because you have no idea what’s going to upset them next.”

I imagine is we all can see this behavior in others, especially others we don't want to like, while it can be hidden in our own behavior or those we agree with, when certain self-righteous feelings take over, and you can hyperfocus at the sins of others, however innocent the other is in intent or any objective harm.

And the reality behind this hyperfocus and supercorrectness I have to think is shame, so people who are fighting feelings of shame, we'll say toxic-shame rather than situational shame, they feel temporarily better when they can scapegoat someone else's wrong-doing.

And in this case its especially easy to go wrong when you're not advocating for your own needs or sensitivities, but someone else, or a class of "victims", and therefore you assume they can't handle reality without having protectors like you.

I tend to think episodes like this have a finite lifetime and break down in their own corruption, but 4 years of college goes fast, and even one graduating class that fails to see its own naivety is one too many.