Friday June 14, 2024

Liberal coddling presents a threat to college campuses
Read more content on

By Andrea Peyser
September 12, 2016

Liberal coddling presents a threat to college campuses

It was the dark ages of the 1980s. “Safe spaces” were spots in which parents dumped drooling infant millennials who, nearly two decades before the year 2000, had yet to earn their whiny monikers.

“Trigger” was something found on a gun or the name of the Lone Ranger’s horse.

Political correctness was beginning to choke students and faculty members ensconced on influential college and university campuses across America. Like Zika, de rigueur “progressive” rules of thought and deed soon spread virulently from person to person. (Or am I being speciesist?)

This was the time that I, once a naive, straight female Jewish liberal, transformed into a neo-conservative.

It started in my senior-level Women’s Studies class at the State University of New York at Albany. In it, I eagerly lapped up lectures about gender inequality and man-hating delivered by a charismatic, openly lesbian professor who didn’t seem to notice, or care, that the few dudes enduring her lessons might as well have worn “kick me” signs on their backs.

I was assigned to help produce a multimedia project involving misogyny inherent in Rolling Stones music, or something. At the project’s conclusion, the woman in charge, who was white, awarded failing grades to everyone in the class, focusing her sharpest wrath on caucasian students.


For unknown reasons, minority students enrolled in the class failed to make themselves available to work on the project, and their names did not appear on the finished product. The prof went ballistic. She delivered a severe tongue-lashing to some class members, drawing tears and apologies from those she shamed.

The incident taught me valuable life lessons: Hard work is for suckers. And free rides are available to anyone who lays claim to victimhood.

I was reminded of my introduction to political injustice last month, when the University of Chicago’s dean of students put out a declaration of independence from the bigotry and lunacy ruling the vast majority of campuses today.

“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship,” were the fighting words from John Ellison, Ph.D., in a letter welcoming incoming freshmen to the class of 2020.

“Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” he wrote.

The mewling from some infantilized administrators, students, and alumni around the United States was enough to knock the pacifiers from their mouths. Ellison’s letter is “tone deaf to the academic and developmental needs of many students,” railed Evergreen State University President George Bridges in an op-ed piece in the Seattle Times.

I should note that my turn to the right is not absolute. While I favor a smaller government, lower taxes and a strong military and police, I also support abortion rights and same-sex marriage (though I want guys who “identify” as gals to stay the hell out of my bathroom).

Still, my views might rattle eggheads at Brown University. During an on-campus debate last year about sexual assault, with one speaker a critic of the term “rape culture,” a “safe space” was set up to coddle students who might find the talk “triggering” (a PC word for “upsetting”). The room was stocked with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma, The New York Times reported.

The thought police at Brandeis University in 2014 canceled a plan to award an honorary doctorate to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian-born crusader for women’s rights who has called Islam “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.”

On a growing number of campuses, racially segregated retreats are held — to “empower” students of color and bash white ones. A confab at the University of Vermont last November was titled “Examining White Privilege: A Retreat for Undergraduate Students Who Self-Identify as White.” This year’s whites-only gathering has the less-charged name “Examining White Identity.”

The crackdown on the free exchange of ideas on campuses is more upsetting than any trigger. Take it from a former liberal. Or the University of Chicago dean. This needs to end.

©2007-2024 Andrea Peyser and; No Reuse without permission.
Contact Us    •Site Map    •Biography    •Appearances    •Book Excerpt    •Archive