EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appears in the October 11, 2004, issue of National Review.
Today’s college campus is a study in contrasts. Professors and administrators cling to their grotesque orthodoxies, but students seem to be getting saner by the year. What follows are five of the most outrageous campus incidents of the last academic year, then five of the most heartening acts of courage.
‐The conservative-speaker double standard is almost an academic institution. At Bucknell University, administrators refused a student group’s request to invite Republican congressman and Senate hopeful Pat Toomey to give a speech, arguing that his appearance would violate a school policy against electioneering on campus. Meanwhile, Bucknell paid presidential candidate Ralph Nader $13,000 to give the school’s commencement address.
‐In an environment that rewards and even reveres victimhood, some people will do anything to prove themselves worthy. In 2001, for example, a Muslim student at Arizona State falsely claimed–twice–that he’d been assaulted after September 11. Two years later, a black student at San Francisco State scratched “NIGG” on a dorm-room door and wrote the same on a note to herself. Last spring, Claremont McKenna professor Kerri Dunn reported that her car had been vandalized–tires slashed, windows broken, racist and anti-Semitic slogans spray-painted on–after she’d given a lecture on racism. The campus predictably responded with outrage; classes were cancelled and pro-diversity events held. But Dunn’s credibility soon began to erode, and witnesses testified they’d seen her vandalizing the car herself. You know you’re living in interesting times when those who make fighting intolerance their life’s work feel the need to create it.
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