PC Culture

Student Files Complaint against Roommate for Watching Ben Shapiro Video

Ben Shapiro speaks at the 2018 Young Women’s Leadership Summit in Dallas, Texas. (Gage Skidmore)
If students can’t handle the mere expression of a point of view with which they disagree, how will they survive the real world?

A student at Michigan State University actually filed a bias complaint against his roommate for watching a Ben Shapiro video.

The student woke up from a nap last September and noticed his roommate watching the video, The College Fix reports. Apparently horrified by this discovery, he then filed a bias complaint with the administration.

“Ben Shapiro is known for his inflammatory speech that criticizes and attacks the African American community,” the student’s report stated. “I thought hate had no place on MSU’s campus yet MSU has roomed me with someone who supports hate speach [sic].”

The Fix, which obtained the report through a public-records request, found that it was just one of 35 reports that were filed on MSU’s “Public Incident” website. The system allows students and faculty to anonymously report incidents to the university for investigation.

According to The Fix, another bias report complained that a completed game of hangman had been left up in a residence hall with the word “SOUTH” being the final word played. In another incident, a cartoon making fun of liberals posted in a residence hall led a student to complain twice in three days.

I’ve got to say — as a reasonable, normal, well-adjusted person, all of this makes me very, very sad. Honestly, the proper response to seeing a cartoon that represents a point of view with which you disagree should be just to laugh it off and move on with your day. At the very least, it should be something that you can handle on your own or, if you must, with the support of some friends. You shouldn’t feel the need to get the administration involved.

The game of hangman including the word “SOUTH” makes my head spin even more. I mean, what is so offensive about the word “SOUTH”? To me, it seems like one of the most innocuous words out there. In any case, I’d really hate to have to be in a position to give directions to the student who filed that report.

As for the student who complained about that Shapiro video? Well, that’s stupid too, but I unfortunately can’t say I’m surprised. After all, at this point I’ve lost track of how many times students at various schools have protested his appearances. In fact, I’ll never forget a column I wrote last year about a university offering counseling to its students who might be upset at “even the thought of” a Ben Shapiro speech.

Actual discrimination and bias are obviously terrible things, and any student who is facing these things should obviously be able to reach out to their university for help. The thing is, though, some of the things that these students reported are really the kinds of things that a mature person should be able to handle on his or her own. In trying to help its students have a comfortable college environment, MSU seems to be all but assuring that its students will have a very uncomfortable post-college one. After all, once they graduate, they’re going to see things in the real world that are far more offensive than a cartoon or speech they don’t agree with — and they’re going to have to know how to handle that without the help of an anonymous tattletale service. Students should always be able to seek help when they need it, but they should also be encouraged to develop the kinds of skills they are going to need to survive as independent adults.


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