Universities keep disconnecting – Part II: The poor oppressed dears of Dartmouth

If Dartmouth College hired a consultant to develop a campaign to demonstrate how utterly cut off the school is from the real world, it would be impossible to improve on the recent student sit-in.

Not that I mind sit-ins. But can’t they at least be about something important? Like ending the war in Vietnam — now there was a big, serious cause.

But this one?

The kids wanted something done about all the suffering they were experiencing, brought on by the “racist, classist, sexist, heterosexist, trans-homophobic, xenophobic, and ableist structures” of the college. They presented a 72-point manifesto, including these doozies:

  • racial admission quotas
  • mandatory ethnic studies courses for all students
  • college health plan to cover sex change operations
  • more “womyn or people of color” on the faculty
  • “gender-neutral” bathrooms, including sports locker rooms
  • censorship of the library catalog to remove offensive terms

Doesn’t it make your wonder how they could ever tolerate such an oppressive environment? Especially given the $60,000 a year tuition cost? (Paid for by…well, guess who.)

In a rational world, these spoiled brats would have been given an hour to clear out, then arrested for trespassing and expelled. But the sit-in lasted more than a day, and college president Phil Hanlon met with the kids, listened to their gibberish, and then wrote this:

Yesterday afternoon, a small group of students in support of a “Freedom Budget” attended my regularly scheduled office hours to advocate for their petition calling for greater inclusiveness on campus.

This meeting has turned into an overnight “sit-in” protest in my office. Their grievance, in short, is that they don’t feel like Dartmouth is fostering a welcoming environment.

I met with these students yesterday and again today, and I deeply empathize with them.

In that case, Dartmouth marches off into la-la land. If these are the issues the kids are pursuing, and if the president of the  college is urging them on, how can anyone take the place, or its current crop of grads, seriously?

The problem here is that the students’ so-called radicalism is simply play-acting. They engage nothing that matters, and ignore plenty that  does. What could they have demanded instead? Read this wonderful column by Victor Davis Hanson.

Here’s just a taste:

As redress for their suffering, the oppressed students issued Orwellian calls to ban particularly hurtful vocabulary, to create new faculty positions based entirely on race, and to ensure gender-neutral student housing.

Most of the students represent the .01% of American society. They can enjoy their four- to five-year hiatus from the American rat race, either due to wealthy parents or to charity in the forms of grants that allow them to pay the $60,000 per year plus in room, board, and tuition. Again, most Americans either do not have such money or access to such money to afford the quarter-million-dollar “under attack” Dartmouth experience.

President Hanlon apparently felt the students’ pain of what they had called “micro-aggressions,” or the day-to-day psychodramatic angst that these young elites feel that are their own versions of the world of the Wal-Mart checker, the roofer in Delano who nails in 105 degree August heat, or the tractor driver who has disked half-mile long rows day in and day out on the farm. If you have never done such things, and you have $60,000 a year to spend on Dartmouth, then I suppose you could conceivably dream up a micro-aggression of being tortured to read woman for womyn, or having to use either the boys’ or girls’ bathroom.

Read it all – it’s brilliant, and spot on.


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. Vice President, Zoomer Media Ltd. . Author of "The New Old" . 30 years experience in marketing communications, advertising, media . Speaker, writer, commentator on the revolution in aging and how to market to Boomers and seniors