Demanding Students

The inmates are running the asylum.

The University is in a time of crisis.

It isn’t just the fact that faculty members have abandoned their mission in favor of politicizing education that’s cause for concern.  The astonishing audacity of students also renders painfully obvious that things have gotten entirely out of control on college campuses. 

That this is so is made painfully obvious by the audaciousness of students at places like the College of Wooster in Ohio. 

Recently, student activists issued to administrators a list of “demands.” “We, the students of the College of Wooster,” the list begins, “have a right, responsibility, and duty to hold our institution accountable for its failure to meet the needs of the student body.” 

The first on the students’ list pertains to—surprise, surprise!—increased funding for the Center of Diversity and Inclusion. “Over the last four years, funding for the CDI has decreased drastically,” they lament.  Yet “for the college to truly ‘stand united against hate and contribute to a safe learning environment,’ the funding for this office must increase.”

Not only must the funding increase, students insist upon determining the uses to which the funding will be deployed: “Greater resources for their everyday office tasks;” “Mandatory Training for student leaders on campus;” and “Increased access to cultural engagement education and training for groups that request these services.” 

Moving along, students demand that their organizations and activities receive funding comparable to that received by clubs that “do not engage with the wider campus community” on “issues of diversity.”  Supposedly, “Brothers of Diversity,” the “African Student Union,” “ASIA,” and “First-Generation Student Org” didn’t receive as much monies as did “Men’s Ultimate Frisbee” and “Men’s Hockey.” 

Since the college is guilty of “favoring”  “non-essential diversity groups,” it fails to support minorities. 

The students demand as well that all new students be required to enroll in a “cultural competency training course” that will begin during orientation week and continue throughout their whole first year. The Center of Diversity and Inclusion will determine the content of this training course, but it must be submitted to the student activists for review at least once a year. 

Yet it’s not just other students who these bullies require to enroll in a cultural competency program; faculty members must as well.  “All new, returning, and tenured faculty are required to attend a cultural competency training course.  This will occur right before classes begin and continue on a semesterly basis.” 

The activists add that the program will be designed conjointly by the Center of Diversity and Inclusion, faculty, staff, and, of course, the student demanders themselves.  Annually, the program will go up for review, presumably, before the tribunal of the wisdom of the student activists.

The College of Wooster already provides free storage for all international students. Among the demands is that it now supply free storage for “long-distance and low-income students” as well.  A committee, the students say, will be created to “review applications.”

Other demands include, but are not limited to, the following:

The College must provide “an easily accessible list of resources” for students who witness “bigoted statements or actions,” whether perpetrated by fellow students or instructors.

Students insist that “a person of color” be hired “for both a Title IX Deputy and Director of Student Rights and Responsibility,” for a non-white person’s occupying this position is “essential to creating a diverse environment for college discussions of sexual violence, and providing survivors with an inclusive environment for the healing and reporting processes.” 

Students demand that “SafeZone training” become a requirement “for new and returning students,” and they demand every group “representing people of color should have a provided space for their own private use for the purpose of better serving their targeted community.”

Also, the College website must “_immediately_” become “language-friendly in every possible language for the equal access among our diverse campus community and their families across the globe.”

The student activists are calling for the “immediate” expulsion of another student, someone by the name of Drake Schwenke, who they identify with a group called “the Wooster Right-Wingers.” And neither do these activists have any patience for their school’s insistence that before it expels its students, it must conduct an investigation in order to respect its “‘judicial process’” and “‘the rights of the accused.’”  The student in question, the activists inform the school, “had already been identified as racist and anti-Semitic before his social media posts were made public” (Those making these demands, tellingly, fail to specify exactly how or by whom the student was determined to be “racist” and “anti-Semitic”). 

It isn’t just the “immediate” expulsion of fellow students for which the student activists call; they demand as well that “multiple Faculty and Staff members”—who they identify by name—be made to account for their continual “anti-blackness, stereotyping of minority groups and simply hate speech.” 

The students elaborate: “We expect the college administration to hold faculty and staff to the same standards as students when it comes to racists [sic], sexist, bigoted, misinformed, and stereotypical comments.”  Since faculty and staff “must be held accountable,” “students should be able to press judicial charges against faculty and staff who [that] violate our community standards.” 

Evidently, these students are responsible for having taken control of a campus building shortly before this list of demands was drawn up.  They conclude their lengthy list with a demand for “amnesty.” Specifically, they demand that “the College will not penalize, prosecute, or punish any student involved in the protest and the taking over of Galpin Hall on January 24, 2018.” 

In fact, those students who are “currently on academic probation will not be unfairly targeted for missing a class,” those “who missed a project, quiz or test should be allowed to retake or make the assignment up,” and those “who missed work will not be dismissed or removed from their position.”

This list of “demands” would be laughable if it wasn’t such an outrage. If the administrators of the College of Wooster were concerned about doing their job, they would have summarily expelled every student who occupied a campus building.  Yet it’s precisely because administrators at institutions around the country have long caved to the demands of thuggish students that these students, at Wooster, are emboldened as they are in making any demands. 

The inmates are running the asylum. This is one thing (though not the only thing) that must change course immediately if higher education is to have any hope of returning to its former glorious self.