The lunatic fringe – higher education edition

The current discourse on American college campuses is less coherent than even a Quentin Tarantino movie.


PHOENIX, Nov. 15, 2015 – The current discourse on American college campuses is less coherent than even a Quentin Tarantino movie. If anyone still needs proof of this, recent events on a major campus in the nation’s heartland will provide ample confirmation.

As has been well documented in the media, there was quite the dust up at the University of Missouri campus recently. One student went on a hunger strike due to allegations of racial insensitivity on campus. As it turns out, the student on hunger strike is the son of a big-time railroad executive who reportedly earned well over seven figures in salary in 2014. (So much for only whites having privilege.) Interestingly, he has been so disturbed at the ongoing racist atmosphere at Missouri that he has remained enrolled there for years, I think at least since the Bush administration – the first Bush.

In a show of solidarity for the hunger striker, 30 members of the Missouri football team announced they would boycott football-related activities until the university president resigned.

At the time of the announced boycott, Missouri had dropped five of its previous six games. This included going more than three games without scoring a touchdown, the first time that has occurred since 1937. It seems pretty apparent to most observers that the Missouri players had already been boycotting team activities – like games – for some time.

At issue is the perceived insufficient degree of compassion, sensitivity and action on the part of the school administration regarding alleged incidences of racism on campus. Some of the incidences appear to be quite dubious in nature. Much like the public at large, college campuses no doubt do include some drunken ne’er-do-wells intent on being obnoxious – but enough about the Mizzou faculty.

Missouri president Tim Wolfe next committed the unpardonable sin of being not only white, but also male. Apparently, this fact was only recently discovered by a student body that was previously under the impression their school was actually run by a possum named Lazlo. In reality, however, Wolfe turned out to be not a possum, but a weasel instead.

As a partial result of increasing student unrest, a campus student group provided Wolfe with a list of the usual non-negotiable demands. In true Stalinesque fashion, the first of these demands was that Wolfe apologize in writing for his whiteness and the privilege that comes with that aforementioned whiteness. Their second demand was that he promptly resign. A show trial was apparently optional.

The group further demanded “safe spaces” and a place for “healing.” But the university already has a place for healing – it’s called the hospital. Unfortunately for the student protesters, the University of Missouri hospital works on healing only those who have legitimate ailments, not simple gripes. Nonetheless, major fundraising efforts will begin soon to build a microaggression wing to the hospital by 2017, supported with taxpayer funding, no doubt. The new wing will surely dwarf the size of the current facility.

Notably missing from the list of student demands was a requirement that all Missouri athletic teams be reflective of the student body’s racial makeup by percentage. Hmm, I wonder why that didn’t make the cut.

To help put everything in perspective, the school proved very fortunate to have Melissa Click, assistant professor of “mass media” or something, on hand to provide guidance. Click did her best to make sure that the reporters for, you know, the mass media, could not record the fuss being made by the campus agitators.

At one point, Click even called on students to help provide “some muscle” to stop reporters from doing their jobs. It remains unclear exactly what kind of “muscle” a group of whiny students droning on about their need for a safe space while cowering at the sight of a student dining hall advertising Taco Tuesday could provide. Al Capone’s gang they are not.

Professor Click will be updating her resume soon.

Many of the protesters were upset because those who disagreed with them were exercising their First Amendment rights to, well, disagree with them. The overarching tenet on today’s college campuses is this:

Anyone is free to hold any opinion they choose…as long as it’s mine.

The University of Missouri Police Department decided to add fuel to the already spreading fire by asking students to contact them immediately if they hear any “hateful” or “hurtful” speech. So, it has finally happened: the PC police are really…the police!

The events at Missouri came on the heels of an incident at Yale University, where the school’s Intercultural Affairs Committee (stop laughing, they really do have one of those) sent an email to students warning them to avoid wearing Halloween costumes that are “culturally unaware and insensitive.” (Okay, you can commence laughing now.) The list of forbidden costumes included nearly everything imaginable.

Certain items, however, did got special mention; feathered headdresses, turbans and Al Jolson makeup. Presumably, white sheets were also forbidden, not due to their racial associations, but because authentic apparitions may get offended. And, boy, when they take offense they can really get pissed off, particularly those who are philosophy majors.

This email prompted a member of the Yale faculty (one of the few who appears not to be unhinged) to write a response, in essence stating that young adults can and will be dopey sometimes. In other words, lighten up!

Well, nothing offends the professionally aggrieved student more than not being taken seriously. And on today’s college campuses there is no act, non-act, event, non-event, holiday, non-holiday that can’t be overreacted to. Calls for the silencing and removal of the offending faculty member began immediately. You could have practically set your watch to it. Again, that pesky First Amendment seems to be marginalizing those self-marginalized students.

Following the Halloween dust-up, a panel on free speech was held. Those lovable Yale fascists, apparently lacking the irony gene, did their best to shut down the discussion on free speech. According to National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson, a panel participant, shrieks of “Genocide is not a joke” were chanted by the faint-of-heart students in the audience. Genocide surely is not a joke. But whimpering and running for the nearest “safe space” at the mere sight of a sombrero on Halloween certainly is.

At the risk of offending asylum inmates, it’s clear who is in charge on college campuses today. Eventually, though, these students will graduate and bump into the real world. That collision will definitely leave a mark – and a lasting impression.

I’m not exactly sure why today’s college students, who are so demanding of free stuff, are not similarly enamored of speech that’s totally free, especially when you get to keep it even after college. Yet nobody is demanding that you have to give it back…yet.

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Curtice Mang earned a Political Science degree after attending college during the depths of the Carter Administration, a time where the only thing worse than the Carter malaise was Disco. He is the author of two books of political humor, The Smell of Politics: The Good, The Bad, and The Odorous and The Constitution – I’m Not Kidding and Other Tales of Liberal Folly. He has worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years and is also a high school basketball coach. In addition to CommDigiNews, Curtice contributes to multiple conservative websites, including Broadside News, Front Lines and What Would the Founders Think. He can be found at, where his books are also available for purchase for a song (and the cover price). Contact Curtice at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @curticemang. He can also be found wandering about on Facebook and Google+. His views are his own - mostly because no one else would claim them.