The Corner

Video: Parents Turn on Fossil-Fuel Protesters at Tufts

When I tell campus horror-stories like “What’s the Matter With Vassar?” people ask if parents know what’s going on at these schools. I don’t think they want to know. But guess what happens when protesters step on others’ rights in full view of parents?

Tufts has one of the most active campus fossil-fuel divestment groups. Lately these protesters have been infiltrating orientation sessions and campus tours for prospective students, mostly high school juniors traveling with their parents. Climate protesters interrupt these recruitment activities with questions about fossil-fuel divestment, on the theory that this will spread their message to high schoolers and show the administration they mean business.

One of these protests was captured on video by the activists themselves. Meant to remain private, this video was inadvertently leaked to the Internet, where it’s stirred up a backlash against the protesters. Parents are shown taking matters into their own hands. (The action begins at about the 1min 40 sec mark.)

After unsuccessfully pressing Vassar’s administration to condemn the student interruption of an anti-divestment speaker (“Vassar Loses Its Compass“), I’m struck by how well the Tufts community grasps the harms of interruptions when Tufts itself is the victim (see link at “infiltrating”). Alienating prospective students and their parents and “disrespecting” admissions officers is widely condemned at Tufts, yet far worse conduct directed at divestment opponents at Vassar draws no rebuke. Feckless administrators bear a heavy responsibility for what’s happening now on campus.

By their own testimony, these protesters believed that their rudeness would win them recruits. They’ve been shocked by the negative response. The campus fossil-fuel divestment movement exists in a bizarre bubble, where the world is literally about to come to an end and anything is justified because of it. They know nothing of the latest developments in the climate debate, yet fancy themselves informed. We can mock the bubble these millennials inhabit, but the problem is serious. Their generation is now controlling the direction of this country.


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