Academic Fascism

Academic Fascism

from the December 14, 2015 eNews issue



Student protesters on the campus of the University of Missouri

Student protesters on the campus of the University of Missouri react to news of the resignation of University of Missouri system President Tim Wolfe (Photo: David Eulitt/TNS/Zuma Press)

The son won’t bear the punishment of his father’s sin and the father won’t bear the punishment of his son’s sin.

Ezekiel 18:20 (ISV)

I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the iniquity of the parents, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me.

Exodus 20:5 (ISV)

Ezekiel says clearly God does not punish the sons for their fathers’ sins. However, in Exodus 20:5 we are informed God visits “the iniquity of the parents, to the third and fourth generations.” These seem contradictory.

Ezekiel is speaking of the guilt of the father’s sin never being held against the sons, but Moses was referring to the consequences of the parent’s sins being passed on to their children. Unfortunately, if a father is a drunk, the children can suffer abuse and even poverty. Likewise, if a mother has contracted AIDS from drug use, then her baby may be born with AIDS. But, this does not mean the innocent children are guilty of the sins of their parents.

Further, even if the Exodus passage implied that moral guilt was somehow also visited on the children, it would only be because they too, like their parents, had sinned against God. Noteworthy is the fact God only visits the iniquities of “those who hate” Him (Ex. 20:5), not on those who do not (see also Rom. 5:12).

Nowhere has the concept of the consequences of sin being passed on been more evident recently than on some college campuses, where students have run amok. A generation of coddled kids, raised by helicopter parents, has come into full flower. These students, many children of privilege, are railing against university teachers and administrators because they do not feel “safe”. They feel victimized. They believe that a college campus is not a place for learning; it is a place where they are to feel “at home”.

The University of Missouri

Last month on the University of Missouri campus, a graduate student, Jonathan Butler, went on a hunger strike demanding the removal of university system President Tim Wolfe. Wolfe’s transgression? Butler, objected to President Tim Wolfe’s lack of response to “racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., incidents that have dynamically disrupted the learning experience” at Missouri, as he wrote in a letter.

Students at Missouri also complained of inaction on the part of school leaders in dealing with racism on the Columbia campus. Black student leaders have conveyed their displeasure over students openly using racial slurs and other incidents. (It should be noted neither specific incidents of slurs being used nor any individual has been accused of uttering such comments.)

The protestors wanted a “comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all campus departments and units, faculty, staff and administration.”

The final straw came when a few dozen other students weighed in: the University of Missouri football team, which announced it would not play until Wolfe left his position.

The players who were boycotting then released the following statement regarding the incidents on campus:

The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe “Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere.” We will no longer participate in any football related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experiences. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!

With this, Wolfe abruptly stepped down. (The school’s chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, later announced he would step down in January 2016.)

Had he not done so and Missouri canceled its upcoming game against Brigham Young University, Mizzou would have to pay BYU $1 million.

Such is the power of “amateur” college football… and today’s college students.

Such an action is certain to draw a certain amount of media scrutiny, but in today’s “liberal” society, freedom of the press is not to be tolerated. After at first welcoming the press, a sign went up in “the quad” saying NO MEDIA ALLOWED. When a reporter for the campus newspaper arrived on the scene to report on the story, he was told by an instructor in the communications department that he had no right to be there and had to leave. The instructor even asked for “some muscle” to come over and forcibly remove the reporter. The confrontation was recorded and uploaded to YouTube.

Yale University

While this was going on, Yale University had a dustup of their own.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, Yale Dean Burgwell Howard sent an email to all Yale undergraduate students. The email, titled “Halloween and the Yale Community,” asked students to be thoughtful about the cultural implications of their Halloween costumes. He wanted them to think about whether their costumes could convey inappropriate “cultural appropriation and/or misrepresentation.” The email cited examples such as feathered headdresses, turbans and “war paint.”

The email also contained a list of questions students should ask themselves before deciding upon a costume as well as links to websites educating students about common racial stereotypes. There were also links to several Pinterest boards curated by Yale’s Community & Consent Educators—one with a collection of acceptable, school-sanctioned costume ideas and the other with a collection of “costumes to avoid.”

Erika Christakis’ Response

On Friday, Oct. 30, Yale lecturer (Associate Master) Erika Christakis sent an email of her own to the students of the Silliman College of Yale University in response to Howard’s message… Christakis explained she and her husband Nicholas heard from a number of students who were frustrated by the seeming implied control the university was trying to exert in the Howard email.

Christakis drew on her experiences as a child development specialist to question whether a university should dictate what students should and shouldn’t wear on Halloween:

I don’t wish to trivialize genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation, and other challenges to our lived experience in a plural community. I know that many decent people have proposed guidelines on Halloween costumes from a spirit of avoiding hurt and offense. I laud those goals, in theory, as most of us do. But in practice, I wonder if we should reflect more transparently, as a community, on the consequences of an institutional (which is to say: bureaucratic and administrative) exercise of implied control over college students.

Besides complaining about how policing students’ costumes can limit the exercise of imagination, free speech and free expression, Christakis asked:

Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.

The Aftermath

The response to Christakis’ email was tectonic. More than 740 Yale undergraduates, graduate students, alumni, faculty, and even students from other universities signed an open letter telling Christakis stating her “offensive” email invalidates the voices of minority students on campus:

The contents of your email were jarring and disheartening. Your email equates old traditions of using harmful stereotypes and tropes to further degrade marginalized people, to preschoolers playing make believe. This both trivializes the harm done by these tropes and infantilizes the student body to which the request was made. You fail to distinguish the difference between cosplaying fictional characters and misrepresenting actual groups of people. In your email, you ask students to “look away” if costumes are offensive, as if the degradation of our cultures and people, and the violence that grows out of it is something that we can ignore.

Christakis and her husband Master Lecturer Nicholas Christakis (who supported her position) invited all Silliman signatories of the letter, to a lunch the following Sunday. The invitation was sharply rejected by some, including one student who criticized the invitation and argued Nicholas Christakis “needs to stop instigating more debate.”

Two days later, about 100 students gathered to protest Christakis’ email. Nicholas Christakis, who decided to meet with the student protesters, was soon encircled and accused of racism and insensitivity, with many demanding an apology for his wife’s email.

Students also demanded mandatory diversity training for faculty and staff, plus an orientation program that “explores diversity and inclusion.”

Christakis engaged with the students and listened to their concerns for several hours. Finally, Christakis told the crowd, “I apologize for causing pain, but I am not sorry for the statement. I stand behind free speech. I defend the right for people to speak their minds.”

This was not the “apology” the students were demanding. They said such comments make Yale an “unsafe space” and called again for Erika’s Christakis’ resignation.

Nicholas Christakis was then subject to the taunts of the crowd and had one student scream at him that college was not a place for education it was a “home” and the comments her wife made did not make the student feel safe.

The “shrieking girl’s” rant was also captured on YouTube and quickly went viral. (warning: strong language used in video clip.)

Since then, Erika Christakis has resigned from her position at the college.

Ms. Christakis has made a “voluntary decision not to teach in the future,” according to a statement from the university Monday. Her husband, Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and a professor of sociology at Yale, will take a one-semester sabbatical, the university said. The statement said the administration hoped Ms. Christakis would reconsider.

Erika Christakis is a well-regarded instructor, and the university’s leadership is disappointed that she has chosen not to continue teaching in the spring semester, the statement said. “Her teaching is highly valued, and she is welcome to resume teaching anytime at Yale, where freedom of expression and academic inquiry are the paramount principle and practice.

Yale also announced it would change the administrative title both Nicholas and Erika Christakis held, as the word “master” evokes imagery associated with slavery. (Harvard and Princeton plan to do the same.) “The word ‘master’ can evoke thoughts of slavery and other forms of subjugation, and it has made me at times quite uncomfortable to be referred to as ‘master,’” Nicholas Christakis said in a letter to students at the beginning of the year.

A Growing Movement

These are not isolated incidents.

  • Anonymous online threats against Kean University’s black students led to calls for the school’s president to quit. And when it turned out a black student was behind the threats, the demands.. . continued. The coalition of black ministers behind the calls for Dawood Farahi’s ouster says the threats still “arose from a climate of racial intolerance” — no matter they were bogus.
  • Students protesting “microaggressions” took over an administrative building at Occidental College in California. Some of their demands were: “Hire physicians of color to treat physical and emotional trauma associated with issues of identity,” and the creation of a fully funded and staffed Black Studies program.
  • Students are demanding commencement speakers be uninvited from graduation ceremonies if they hold views contrary to their own. Also, other campus speakers that may hold controversial positions have compelled universities to provide “safe rooms” equipped with “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma” of “microaggressions” and “trigger words.”

What is Really Going On

What has happened is leftists now control the humanities departments in America’s colleges and universities.

They are teaching students who grew up being taught everyone is a winner and there are no losers. Everyone is exactly equal. Society has made a switch from equal opportunities to equal outcomes. If the outcomes are not equal, then someone or something is to blame. Hence they are victims. They have been taught victimhood. Students learn they are victims of America’s racism, sexism, homophobia, income inequality, etc. So why is it surprising when they begin to act like victims?

Nothing New Under the Sun

Ecclesiastes teaches there is “nothing new on earth” and this is certainly true with what we are seeing on college campuses. What is different in many cases is the response of the college administration.

College campuses experienced this same type of turmoil in the 60s, mainly over racism and the war in Vietnam. The students doing the protesting back then are now the college administrators of today.

Educators of the type such as S. I. Hayakawa are long gone.

Hayakawa was a renowned semanticist who defied striking student radicals at San Francisco State University in the late 1960s and later was elected to the U.S. Senate.

At the time he was one of the most popular public figures in the state, a hero to multitudes of Californians outraged by student militants and Vietnam War demonstrators.

Hayakawa ripping cables out of a sound truck (CBS)

Hayakawa ripping cables out of a sound truck (CBS)

He made a name for himself on Dec. 2, 1968, when as acting president of San Francisco State, he was confronted a howling, jeering mob of striking students. When he could not make himself heard over a blaring sound truck, “Samurai Sam” leaped to the top of the truck and ripped the wires from the sound system—all recorded on live television.

Hayakawa was a man born of a different time. He was a child of the Depression and suffered discrimination as a Japanese-American. He wrote he had an upbringing that taught self-reliance and a strong work ethic.

In contrast, many of the people in charge of universities today were raised in the era “If it feels good, do it.” Their progeny, the students in those same universities, reflect the upbringing of those administrators.

Those in authority in many of our institutions of higher education are reaping what they sowed as students. As a society, we are seeing the result of several generations of a population who have been raised with a worldview devoid of God, His precepts and His commandments.

What we are seeing are the consequences of the actions of previous generations being visited upon their progeny.

Further Reading

– FROM: KHouse.Org

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