Elsewhere on NRO, the historian Victor Davis Hanson has a rousing story about today’s campus (posted Monday). If anyone can put the state of the university into perspective, it is he.
The strangest campus derangement is the graft of Victorian prurience onto postmodern crudity. Students who are quite sexually active, and routinely use drugs and alcohol, nonetheless revert to virginal preteens who must be shielded from rough language or mere rudeness. They demand Victorian rules of sexual etiquette, but not commensurate 19th-century notions of abstinence, housing segregated by gender, dress codes that discourage randiness, or prohibitions against drug and alcohol use.
And there are more, of course. “Why does the country put up with these absurdities?” he asks, and wonders, “Why are universities free from norms that apply to other American institutions?”
Is it the implied social contract that their educational mission is so sacred and so dutifully fulfilled that they simply cannot follow the rules or expectations that the rest of us do?