Cancel Culture Is Alive and Well on Campus
By one count, there were nearly 200 examples of campus cancelation by the woke mob last year.
Colleges and universities across the country are now dormant for the summer. Degrees have been bestowed. Commencement speakers deemed sufficiently woke have graced the campuses and delivered their platitudes. What better time to look back at the damage done by the Left during the recently completed academic year?
The Student Free Press Association, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting free speech in college student journalism, tracks cancel culture incidents each year. From June 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022, its Campus Cancel Culture Database tracked 186 incidents of speakers, signs, statues, and other organizations that were canceled or targeted for cancellation. That adds up to nearly four campus cancellations per week over the past school year.
Professorial comments and research came under fire in 41 reported incidents for daring to go against the tide of the predominant leftist campus culture. This led to firings, suspensions, removal from panels, and being chased out of events.
The most recent and high-profile incident was the forced resignation of constitutional scholar Ilya Shapiro from Georgetown University Law School. His crime? Calling out the blatant racism and sexism that motivated Joe Biden’s recent pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson.
The Left succeeded in rewriting history in its own image with the removal of 22 names from campus buildings and institutions. Another 10 were protested but so far have retained their historical place. Among those canceled or attacked were Ronald Reagan, several former Supreme Court justices, wealthy benefactors who paid for said buildings, and respected science and humanities scholars.
Other victims of the woke mob include a University of Washington scientist who was forced to resign after it was discovered she dressed up as Michael Jackson for Halloween 13 years ago. Columbia University has disassociated itself from Dr. Mehmet Oz now that he’s a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Two honorary degrees bestowed upon Rudy Giuliani were revoked, as was one to Michael Flynn.
Giuliani and Flynn probably aren’t too badly hurt by having their honorifics rescinded. Such handouts are often motivated by colleges and universities looking to stir interest in their institutions among donors and potential students, and they don’t hold any weight as actual degrees. Then again, many degrees given to graduating students these days don’t carry much weight, either.
Unlike Giuliani and Flynn, though, many scholars have had their work and their lives ruined by this immature and vindictive behavior. In one tragic instance two years ago, Mike Adams, a sociology and criminology professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, committed suicide after his career was yanked out from under him. Adams had been a respected member of the UNCW faculty until he converted to Christianity and began espousing conservative beliefs. The woke mob and its media lackeys were both relentless and unrepentant, smearing him with unsubstantiated claims even after his death.
College and university administrations have clearly forgotten that they’re in the business of educating students who pay exorbitant fees for the “privilege.” Instead, campuses across the country are being run as if they’re forward operating bases in the woke culture war. As such, they’ll engage in any leftist battle, no matter how small or far away or insignificant. Faculty positions and essential administration staffers are being cut with no consideration of the time that these dedicated people have served. But diversity offices continue to grow, as do so-called “community engagement” programs that are often designed to foment social and racial discord.
Guard against being taken in by the sob stories about colleges closing and being unable to provide financial aid for students. The higher education industry is flush with cash.
Instead, look at each school that closes — and all potential students who choose a path that steers them clear of the university campus — as one more small victory for the long-term health of American society.
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