Colleges and universities: places of tolerance and diversity of ideas?

Attending college is an opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally. It allows for the chance to experience different ideas, concepts and beliefs, marinate on them and then either accept or reject them based on their merits and viability. Groupthink is totally and completely unacceptable and no idea or person is silenced simply because of a simple disagreement. A college campus is a place for the free exchange of ideas, where disagreement is allowed and even encouraged.

Well, not so much. Just look at some of the open-mindedness coming from some of our country’s colleges and universities.

Conservative speakers and writers, Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos, were recently kept from speaking at UC-Berkeley. In the case of Yiannopoulos, his presence on campus was so triggering that it led to actual riots.

Another recent instance in which the open-mindedness of today’s colleges and universities was on full display was during Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ commencement address at the Bethune-Cookman.

Disagree with her all you want. Think her ideas are wrong? Fine. Think she’s unqualified for her position? Great. But, apparently, it’s too much to ask 22 and 23-year-olds to actually listen to what the woman has to say. No, instead the scholars audibly booed her and even stood up and turned their back to her. Let me give you a little word of advice, if you’re actually attempting to drown out someone speaking and physically turning your back on them, you’re not really being the tolerant, opened-minded individual you profess to be.

Yet, another example of the diversity of opinion allowed on college campuses, is the planned silent walkout during Vice President Pence’s commencement address at the University of Notre Dame.  Again, disagree with the man, fine. But to be unable to sit and listen to a speaker says a whole lot more about your mental inflexibility and fear of new ideas than the speaker.

Even worse, the Indiana Democratic Party is apparently 100 percent supportive of this childish response.

This is coming from the party that purports to be the party of tolerance and diversity of ideas. This may be why they only hold one statewide office and are in grave danger of losing that one.

And here’s another example of the open-mindedness on college, this one from Butler University. The school is offering a class called “Trumpism and U.S. Democracy,” which initially described the president as spreading ““sexism, white supremacy, xenophobia, nationalism, nativism and imperialism.” Also, in the course students will apparently learn how to fight against the President Trump and his racism, sexism and utter depravity.

If colleges and universities want to push a left-wing agenda, they should be able to do so. At least it’s honest. The problem arises when they want to appear to play it down the middle, when they so clearly are not. Don’t talk about the diversity of ideas or the welcoming of friendly disagreement when it doesn’t exist.

The only people who get hurt in this scenario are the students, who are used to safe spaces and ideas that don’t force them to confront their own biases, their own preexisting notions.

But then again, why should college be the place to hear new ideas, right?




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