Thursday, July 6, 2017

Anything, But Not Brown

Remember the University of Missouri. When protests erupted on its campus a couple of years ago no one predicted the consequences. Alumni pulled their donations and parents refused to allow their children to go to school there. The school has shut down dorms and laid off staff… because of the reputational damage caused by student demonstrations.

One has often remarked that colleges and universities will continue their leftist folly until the alumni stand up and cut off the funding. The same is true of enrollment figures. Perhaps it is just the canary in the coal mine, but more and more parents have been vetoing their children’s choice of universities because they see the schools as indoctrination mills. They want their children to be educated, not indoctrinated. They will pay for the former, not the latter.

Inside Higher Education has the story:

The parents were distraught. Their daughter, a top student, had her heart set on a college that was, in their view, dangerously liberal, an institution to be avoided. They wanted options besides her daughter's choice at the time … Yale University.

This was the situation a private college counselor shared here at the annual meeting of the Higher Education Consultants Association, one of the two national associations for private counselors. Others in the audience nodded their heads in agreement. Parents were vetoing children's choices based on the parents' (not the would-be applicants') perceptions of the campus political climate. The situation has gotten worse, many said, since last year's election.

The young woman got into Stanford, so all is not lost.

And yet, other colleges have made their way on to the list of forbidden schools:

The reality, the counselor said, is that while the dislike of Yale surprised her, there are other colleges that parents are vetoing. "Many won't consider Oberlin or Wesleyan, and Brown is completely off the table," she said.

It may be that these schools are not half as bad as their reputations would have it. But reputation matters, especially in a place like my own alma mater, Brown University. The school has spent decades fashioning itself a politically correct institution. It’s good that it is now paying for its intellectual dereliction.

As it happens, it is not just conservative parents who have such reservations. Liberal parents, assessing the value of an eventual degree, do not want their children to be attending schools where they will learn how to fight a culture war for social justice. Said parents understand that such training makes their children unprepared for dealing with the real world:

Another counselor said that she had several students and parents -- liberals -- who said that they didn't want to consider colleges that have been in the news for incidents in which some groups were seen as taking positions against free speech.

Yet another counselor, this one based in New York City and serving families who are generally liberal, said she too is hearing more parents ask about colleges' political reputations, only sometimes based on real information.

Obviously, those who believe that educational institutions must foment revolution did not calculate the reputational damage their antics were causing. Guidance counselors are trying to stem the tide, but one suspects that the delegitimization of these schools is just beginning.


Ares Olympus said...

I wonder if Jonathan Haidt's "University mission statement" approach against the illiberal left will make any difference. If colleges want truth over ideology they can state that, and then professors and students will know what they got if a university chooses social justice values over free debate.

And Bernie Sanders denounced Berkley for blocking Ann Coulter, calling efforts to shut down opposing speakers as demonstrating "intellectually weakness."

Talking and listening only with people you think you agree with is certainly an good path to dangerous delusion. But trying to prevent others from talking is clearly bullying behavior that deserves maximum pushback. Suppression isn't even smart - it merely strengthen your rivals.

Sam L. said...

I seem to recall reading the Missouri legislature cut funding for Mizzou.

Anonymous said...

I read the comments in the story quoted. The parents with reservations sounded very rational, those opposing them not so much. In this case, I hope money wins.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The word "bullying" has lost all meaning. It's become separated from violence or the threat of violence.

Today's young people have no idea what a real bully is or looks like. Real bullies are empowered in today's "zero tolerance" school environments. The only way to defeat a bully is to fight back. We tell boys that fighting back is a bad thing. This is wrong.

Our society has lost its sense of honor. You can lose a fight to a bully and still retain your honor. And most of the time, the bully isn't going to want to tangle with you again, because he knows you're not weak. Bullies exploit weakness.

When I was in high school, I dealt with a bully. He pushed me around, isolated me and socially humiliated me in front of others. I took it, because I thought it was pointless to fight back. The school did nothing. So one day, he wrote something terrible about my sister in permanent marker on a table in the student common. I confronted him and asked if he did it. He said yes. I beat the shit out of him. Problem solved. He never bothered me again.

I'm tired of hearing about bullying. The only thing a bully understands is physical repercussions. They have to be neutralized. If there's nothing going on that requires physical neutralization, he's not a bully. He's some punk who walks around all puffed-up because of the very bureaucratic "protections" that embolden him. He feels untouchable. If you follow the rules, he is untouchable. That's why rules sometimes have to be broken.

Let's call this modern non-bully what he is: a punk.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, so Trump is not a bully. He's a punk.

When he says "I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall." he's not being a bully, but a punk. He's not really hurting anyone, just puffing himself up for adoration from fellow punks.

Trump is some punk who walks around all puffed-up because of the very bureaucratic "protections" that embolden him. He feels untouchable. If you follow the rules, he is untouchable.

Works for me.

Anonymous said...

Ares, are you on Twitter? 140 character limit seems like it would be tough for you. What's your handle? How many followers do you have?