Cultureeducationpolicycollegesopinioneditorial

Thu May 15, 2014, 09:48 AM

Bonfire of the Humanities

It's been a long time coming, but America's colleges and universities have finally descended into lunacy.

Last month, Brandeis University banned Somali-born feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali as its commencement speaker, purporting that "Ms. Hirsi Ali's record of anti-Islam statements" violates Brandeis's "core values."

This week higher education's ritualistic burning of college-commencement heretics spread to Smith College and Haverford College.

On Monday, Smith announced the withdrawal of Christine Lagarde, the French head of the International Monetary Fund. And what might the problem be with Madame Lagarde, considered one of the world's most accomplished women? An online petition signed by some 480 offended Smithies said the IMF is associated with "imperialistic and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide." With unmistakable French irony, Ms. Lagarde withdrew "to preserve the celebratory spirit" of Smith's commencement.

On Tuesday, Haverford College's graduating intellectuals forced commencement speaker Robert J. Birgeneau to withdraw. Get this: Mr. Birgeneau is the former chancellor of UC Berkeley, the big bang of political correctness. It gets better.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304547704579562101291725062

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Reply Bonfire of the Humanities (Original post)
Troll2 May 2014 OP
purple apoplexy May 2014 #1
Scooter Trash May 2014 #2
Baron Funchausen May 2014 #3

Response to Troll2 (Original post)

Thu May 15, 2014, 04:38 PM

1. The Big Lie

Last edited Thu May 15, 2014, 11:29 PM - Edit history (1)

that protesting commencement speakers is somehow interfering with free speech and indicates that students are becoming close-minded is ridiculous.

As one of the protesting students said--"Ms. Lagarde is free to come speak at the college next Monday-- but not at graduation."

FAIR enough. If a large number of students protest the commencement choice, then the University should find somebody else--easy enough to do. This is not a time for "free speech" arguments--it is a time to listen to the wishes of the students and not invite someone so controversial. Graduation is a time to choose someone the students admire--not warmongers like Condi Rice and IMF Lagarde. I don't know about this Berkeley guy.

University officials are silly not to respond to one of the few things students can ask of them. Not this person for graduation--pretty simple. They want to leave school with hope and positive aspirations. Reasonable request.

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Response to purple apoplexy (Reply #1)

Thu May 15, 2014, 05:39 PM

2. I agree.

The students have a right to say whether or not they approve of their commencement speaker. There's nothing unusual at all about that. Many of them have gone deep into debt to get that degree, and they shouldn't have to sit there and listen to some asshole speak at their graduation. It isn't a big deal; just find someone suitable to their tastes.

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Response to Troll2 (Original post)

Thu May 15, 2014, 05:55 PM

3. Ahmmmm.... Smith has been a little, er, extreme... for a long time.

It's not really new.

Also the WSJ seems stuck in a bit of a time warp if they still think UC Berkeley is "the big bang of political correctness".

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