Phi Beta Cons

John Leo on the Political Correctness Mania at Marquette

If you think that universities with a religious affiliation are resistant to the mania for political correctness, guess again. In this essay on Minding the Campus, John Leo writes about the “anti-discrimination training” that is required of faculty and graduate assistants at Marquette University.

Start with the photo that the “training” presents, asking each individual to identify the eight “harassing or potentially harassing” things in a college dorm. Among them is an anti-war poster — bad because it might be hurtful to military personnel and veterans. Of course, a pro-war poster could just as well lead to some hurt feelings, so apparently everyone should keep his opinions about war to himself. Better to avoid the possibility of hurt feelings than allow open debate over contentious issues.

But look at the things Marquette’s trainers miss! See the miniature trophy marlin on the wall? That could hurt the feelings of vegans and anyone who is against inflicting pain on animals for sport. Out it should go. And what about the trophies displayed? Don’t they have the potential for hurting individuals who never did well in competitions? Trophies are emblematic of our meritocratic obsession with winning; some people would find that upsetting.  As for the offensive “men working” sign, it could be sexist, but isn’t it more likely to hurt the feelings of those who feel that society owes them a living and that work is just a way for the one percent to exploit everyone else?

Be sure to read the discussion about the “harassing” discussion between two female students who oppose same-sex marriage.

American college campuses have transitioned from places that encouraged free speech to places where everyone has to tiptoe around anything controversial.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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