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June 25, 2020

Defund America-Hating Universities

“They are the root of the virulent anti-Americanism” that is causing mayhem nationwide.

Amidst the current climate of violence, looting, arson, and the destruction of historical artifacts, cries of “defund the police!” have reached fever pitch. Columnist Peter Wood has a far better idea. “Now is the moment to defund the colleges,” he writes. “We should defund them because they are the root of the virulent anti-Americanism that feeds the riots, the looting and the learned helplessness that afflict the country.”

Spot on. Colleges have spent the last half-century teaching millions of young Americans that their nation is a fundamentally flawed entity where systemic racism abounds, white “privilege” is endemic, and that merit should be superseded by identity politics. These are institutions where students are coddled like infants and provided with trigger warnings for classical literature or safe spaces replete with coloring books and Play-doh. Students have their rank intolerance wholly indulged to the point where they are allowed to destroy anyone who would challenge any iota of the progressive orthodoxy, even when it involves something as puerile as “culturally insensitive” Halloween costumes.

This odious dichotomy is enabled by intellectually and morally bankrupt faculty members and administrators. “Wonder where today’s ‘cancel culture’ comes from?” asks columnist Liz Peek. “It comes from college campuses, fueled by young people and abetted by an older generation that has not had the courage to say no.”

Thus at UCLA, accounting professor Gordon Klein was put on leave for three weeks after insisting that minority students, who were attempting to use George Floyd’s death as an excuse, not be allowed to delay their final exams. And despite receiving police protection due to threats of violence, the school’s dean, Antonio Bernardo, promised to investigate Klein’s “troubling behavior” and apologized to students for the “added stress” Klein ostensibly precipitated. And despite University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer’s stated commitment to free speech, dozens of faculty members have demanded senior faculty member Harald Uhlig’s ouster for failing to support Black Lives Matter.

By contrast, University of Georgia teaching assistant Irami Osei-Frampong apparently remains employed despite an online post stating, “Some white people may have to die for black communities to be made whole.”

This dynamic is hardly isolated. As columnist John Daniel Davidson explains, you either support the Marxist, race-baiting, anti-cop, violence-abetting organization that is BLM, or “you will be harassed, shunned, and shamed out of mainstream America. If you dare to speak a word against BLM, you will be targeted, mobbed, and probably fired.”

California Associate of Scholars Chairman John Ellis explains why, noting that the ratio of progressive versus conservative faculty members has increased exponentially toward the progressive side of the equation, from three to two in 1969 to more than eight to one currently. Moreover, at the more recently appointed assistant and associate professor level, that ratio explodes to 48 to one. “Everyone can see that it’s wrong. It’s unhealthy,” Ellis states. “And no one does a thing to stop it.”

How did we get here? Former Ivy league professor Robert Weissberg reveals that once-prestigious universities began shifting in the ‘70s when student deferments from the Vietnam War and affirmative action precipitated lower college-entry standards. More telling, formerly tough professors who demanded educational excellence were cowed into lowering those standards by anonymous student evaluations.“No savvy instructor would now challenge a student who 'explained’ that socialism could end homelessness by eliminating all rent,” Weissberg writes. “If he did, the humiliated student would anonymously write how she felt ashamed, cried herself to sleep and felt diminished self-esteem.”

Enrollment-based budgets and soaring tuition costs fed this effort. Filling seats became a priority that led to “grade inflation, shortened reading lists, painless exams and no-brainer writing assignments,” Weissberg adds, while the increasing popularity of political correctness narrowed the field of “acceptable” information.

Yet perhaps above all else, the doubling of non-academic administrative and professional employees — including so-called “diversity specialists” — has far outpaced the growth of students and faculty. Such expansion has given rise to quota-mongering epitomized by Harvard, where black, Native American, and Hispanic students are invited to attend with SAT scores of 1,100, while Asian males and females are required to have scores of 1,350-plus and 1,380-plus, respectively, to get the same invitation.

Bloated bureaucracies are paid for by staggering tuition increases that have precipitated more than $1.5 trillion in student debt nationwide. All loan defaults on that debt are underwritten by the taxpayer, giving colleges no incentive whatsoever to control costs. And despite this increasingly untenable dynamic, colleges remain wholly unaccountable regarding whether or not what they are teaching can secure decent paying jobs for graduates — even as they have convinced America that a college degree is an absolute necessity.

Enough. Wood proposes several commonsense measures for reining in these America-hating entities. They include refusing to cut checks to alumni donation campaigns, enrolling students in educational programs beyond the reach of the indoctrinators, and “rolling back the massive subsidies that state and federal government put into higher education” that are nothing more than “a thick-shelled nut of special interests.”

Make that special interests whose contempt for this nation is blatantly evinced by their silent acquiescence — at best — of the cultural armageddon currently being perpetrated across the nation. At worst? “In recent years these young people have moved out into the world, carrying their intolerance with them,” Peek writes. “They now occupy newsrooms and social media firms.”

They also occupy positions of importance in “woke” virtue-signaling corporations that actively cheerlead this societal degradation. “You know, if I was a member of a political movement that stood up for working people and found myself every single time on the side of Amazon, on the side of Apple, on the side of Google, I might ask myself if I’ve actually chosen the right allies and what it says about me,” states author J.D. Vance. “But unfortunately, too many folks on the Left just aren’t doing that.”

Fortunately, there’s hope. The same China Virus devastating our economy and precipitating extended shutdowns has given the nation a golden opportunity to reassess the contemptible status quo. “The coronavirus pandemic threatens to remake U.S. higher education, speeding the closure of small, financially weak colleges and forcing others to make tough decisions about what they can afford,” Bloomberg News reports.

All well and good, but there’s nothing unaffordable about reinstituting ideologically balanced faculties and tolerance for dissenting ideas, or paring bloated bureaucracies that cultivate intolerance and call it diversity.

Yet if colleges choose to remain as they are, let them fund themselves.

“We are where we are today because of education,” former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University Everett Piper asserts. “The fault for the nightly news lies with our colleges, universities and our public schools. But the blame also lies with us. All parents and other citizens who support these broken schools, with their tuition and tax dollars, need to wake up and face reality. Until we stop sending our kids off to intellectually bankrupt schools, we can expect nothing other than an intellectually bankrupt culture.”

It’s time America raised its expectations — and lowered the boom on these citadels of rank indoctrination.

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