People Think College Is About Education, But It’s Often Not
Higher education is riding on its reputation as a gateway to a bright future. As of 2018, 82 percent of Americans believed a four-year degree was either “very” or “somewhat” good preparation for attaining a well-paying job. However, recent events have eroded that reputation, especially amongst conservatives.
“Under the guise of speech codes, safe spaces, and trigger warnings, these universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity, and shut down the voices of great young Americans like those here today,” President Trump said as he signed the executive order.
Trump’s comments weren’t just red meat. Do a Google search for names like Brett Weinstein, Jordan Peterson, Heather Mac Donald, Dave Rubin, and Ben Shapiro plus the term “college controversy” to find shocking stories of liberals, moderates, and conservatives being driven from college campuses. A common theme is the rationale under which the above-named figures are driven out: promoting “inclusivity,” “equity,” or “safety” from “hate” and “violence.”
This attempt at silencing is now aimed all the way up to justices on the Supreme Court. Most recently, when George Mason University’s School of Law hired Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to teach a class, students at the university demanded his appointment be rescinded, one saying, “As a survivor, as a student who comes to this university, and expects to have a good education, to experience a happy, safe place, I am insulted.”
It’s tempting to dismiss this kind of rhetoric. College kids are expected to be a bit radical in their youth, right? This language is much harder to defend when students, faculty, and alumni of Yale Law School use it in penning an open letter protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Where do students learn such crazy ideas about the world? Who is providing them with this familiar script?