Here’s another example of academic inquiry and debate being threatened on college campuses. But this time with a faint hope: here come the freshmen.
Chris Bodenner in the The Atlantic:
Another student from India, Jagannath, responded to the canceled lecture by organizing a freshman-only meeting on the quad. For us to rise out of this culture of private concerns, hatred, and fear, we need to find a way to think, speak, and act together,” he wrote in a mass email. Jagannath told me that upperclassmen warned him he was very crazy” to hold a public meeting, but it was a huge success; about 150 freshmen showed up and, by all accounts, their debate over [Humanities] 110 was civil and constructive. In the absence of Facebook and protest signs, the freshmen were taking back their class.
With faculty, administrations, and upperclassmen largely paralyzed by identity politics, perhaps it’s the college freshmen who will help to right the higher-ed ship.
Note too that it’s not placards and Facebook posts that are helping to counter the toxicity at Reed; it’s courageous in-person dialogue.