Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I DON'T THINK THAT WORD MEANS WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS. Glenn Reynolds, writing in USA Today, calls out the higher education establishment for some illiberal thoughts:

In an email to students, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel wrote: “Our responsibility is to remain committed to education, discovery and intellectual honesty — and to diversity, equity and inclusion. We are at our best when we come together to engage respectfully across our ideological differences; to support all who feel marginalized, threatened or unwelcome; and to pursue knowledge and understanding.”

But when you treat an election in which the “wrong” candidate wins as a traumatic event on a par with the 9/11 attacks, calling for counseling and safe spaces, you’re implicitly saying that everyone who supported that “wrong” candidate is, well, unsafe. Despite the talk about diversity and inclusion, this is really sending the signal that people who supported Trump — and Trump is leading the state of Michigan, so there are probably quite a few on campus — aren’t really included in acceptable campus culture. It’s not promoting diversity; it’s enforcing uniformity. It’s not promoting inclusion; it’s practicing exclusion.  And though it pretends to be about nurturing, it’s actually about being mean to those who don’t fall in the nurtured class. Schlissel wrote he wants the university to be “a welcoming place for all members of society,” but how welcome can students who backed Trump feel in the wake of this performance?

A viral (and profane) YouTube rant by Jonathan Pie points out that this sort of fear and “othering” of political opponents is why Trump won, and why Democrats were shocked by his victory. Pie’s right to tell people that they should engage in discussion rather than dismissal of people they disagree with, and colleges and universities should listen to him.

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