The war between the liberal and conservatives got pretty heated up last year. From deadly protests to death threats on professors, it’s been an explosive year on campus.
Many flare-ups were over important issues that warrant at least a few solid hours of debate or more, such as gun control or the removal of Confederate statues as monuments to white supremacy. Rage is an appropriate response to the devastating consequences that have arisen from the rising danger or racism from these two examples.
Conservative news site Campus Reform, however, describes the response to some of these issues as ‘silly’ and has even compiled a list of the “silliest and most disturbing” things students got offended with last year.
“In many cases, college-goers are taught to despise long-standing American institutions and symbols, such as police officers, the Constitution, and even the American flag itself,” it wrote.
Granted some of the items on the list were pretty extreme, but labelling it as ‘silliest’ isn’t the best way forward to start a productive discourse. But that’s just our opinion.
Take a look at the six items on the list and tell us what you think:
1. 9/11 memorials
At Southern Methodist University, a conservative student group’s request to display American flags for their annual honouring of 9/11 terror attack victims were denied. While the university new policy for display respects the right of all campus community to express their opinions, it said that it will also “respect the right of all members of the community to avoid messages that are triggering, harmful, or harassing”. And so their display was relocated to another area of campus with less foot traffic.
At Columbia University, an unidentified man removed about 50 flags out of a 9/11 memorial before throwing them away.
One student recounted:
“I ran over and asked him what he was doing, and was laughed at with no proper response.”
Columbia University College Republicans president Ari Boosalis told Campus Reform: “Ever since the election, I believe that this campus has rejected any form of pro-American beliefs or sentiment”.
2. The American Constitution
What would you do if you were handed pocket-copies of the Constitution on the way to class? At Kellogg Community College, officials stepped in to arrest three conservative activists who were asking students whether they like “freedom and liberty”. Administrators said this was a “very powerful” question, and the “social pressures” of such a question would compel the students to stop, thus disrupting them from their journey to “educational places”.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 19, 2017
The students sued the college, claiming their constitutional rights were violated when they were arrested and forced to spend a night in county jail for refusing to stop handing out pocket Constitutions.
3. The police
Students successfully got Brooklyn College to limit New York Police Department officers to a reportedly broken toilet at a building on the far edge of campus if they need a bathroom break. Speaking to the New York Post, they said “people get triggered” by cops and there were plans to petition for a cop-free campus.
“I know students from every background and across every major,” a senior said. “They don’t feel comfortable around cops. They just don’t. It makes safe spaces feel not so safe.”
— New York Post (@nypost) November 20, 2017
According to student body president Nissim Said, the sentiment could be due to an undercover operation by the NYPD that had sent a spy to infiltrate the Muslim community on campus in search of Islamic terrorists.
One neighbourhood cop called the move “insane”, adding: “That protester culture is warping their f–king minds.”
Tearing down monuments are in vogue again across the country, leading to fiery debates and worse, the tragic Charlottesville event last year.
To three professors from the University of Tennessee, the effacing of certain statutes is necessary to remove the “psychological harm” they cause to minority students. In an academic paper, they suggested the creation of a “responsible landscape policy” so that colleges can evaluate the impact monuments, statues, buildings, and dorms named after racist historical figures have.
They argue that campus buildings named after certain racist historical figures strengthen the tradition of “valorizing public figures with reputations for defending and perpetuating slavery, white supremacy, racial segregation, and disenfranchisement.”
5. Non-“inclusive” language
Words like “illegal alien”, “ugly,”, “you guys” and “homosexuals” have been deemed potentially offensive by several American universities last year. “Ugly” is said to be “connected back to white supremacist, ableist, sizeist standards of beauty”, while “you guys” “erases the identities of those who are in the room” in the “Check Yourself Educational Campaign” at the University of Wisconsin.
— Campus Reform (@campusreform) January 14, 2017
An online resource for the campaign explains: “Sometimes we say things without realizing the impact they may have on others.”
“This list is not extensive, but touches on common identities and concepts. Read them. Consider them. Understand them. And Check Yourself before you use them” [emphasis in original].
Last year the University of Minnesota declared “bows/wrapped gifts” are “not appropriate for gatherings and displays.”
Snowflake Alert: Santa, Christmas trees ‘not appropriate’ for holidays, students told at University event https://t.co/xPPGhtCy3V
— Thomas Paine (@Thomas1774Paine) December 16, 2017
Employees were encouraged to “consider neutral-themed parties such as ‘winter celebration” using colour combinations not usually linked to Christmas or Hanukkah.