The round of college campus protests currently turning institutions of higher education into very expensive places in which to squeeze in a class or two in between sit-ins and overwrought expressions of outrage started, more or less, as reactions to perceptions of residual racism. In response, much of the population outside the academic bubble seems to have embraced the idea that retiring monuments to slavery advocates might be a reasonable thing to do in a world where some students are descended from people who suffered as slaves.
But the rest of the complaints are maybe not receiving such an enthusiastic reception from people who find it hard to believe that students admitted to elite universities are the put-upon victims of a culture of bigotry poisoning college campuses, of all places. Are there racists attending the University of Missouri, Wesleyan, Princeton, and Yale? Probably. Are those racists rare voices of irrelevant stupidity speckled through bastions of racial tolerance? Almost certainly–at least in the experience of the hard-working people who have to dwell in the reality of the world outside, decades after equality before the law became a done deal, even if the criminal justice system hasn’t fully digested the fact.
So, mocked and snubbed for finding offense in the least offensive places to be found in this imperfect world, and at risk of stripping the epithet “racist” of its sting through excessive use, college protesters seem to be detouring into demands for…free stuff. And ponies. Well, the ponies might be more sensible.
From the very lengthy document posted yesterday by the vanguards of the revolution at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Our aspirations are untainted: free tuition via a University open to all, abolition of the police and prisons, free and collectivized housing and food, and more.
A lot more, it turns out, none of which would help to reduce the costs of the free (to students) stuff that would be shouldered by taxpayers.
We DEMAND that University cafeterias, gym memberships, libraries, and class registration be free to all residents of North Carolina regardless of admittance into the institution…
We DEMAND a University and hospital-wide minimum wage of at least $25.00/hour…
We DEMAND that free childcare and afterschool care is provided to all staff, students, and faculty at UNC and UNC-Hospitals. We DEMAND transportation from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to afterschool programs at UNC…
We DEMAND that student-athletes are recognized as University employees, paid a base salary $25.00/hour with benefits, and, further, compensated in accordance with the level of revenue that they bring to the University…
We DEMAND that all workers receive free monthly GO Passes and free parking through employment with UNC or UNC-Hospitals…
There’s a lot more, including denunciations of capitalism and something called the “athletics-industrial complex.” But that just highlights the obvious fact that economics education is sadly lacking at UNC-Chapel Hill. Frankly, a demand for a pony for each protester would be rather more affordable than the laundry list of goodies actually proffered. I’m not entirely sure who the students think is going to pay for all that free stuff, though I suppose it’s the sinister, mustache-twirling one-percenters who, so I’m told, have pots of gold hidden under the stairs.
Or leprechauns. Maybe they have it in for leprechauns.
But don’t fear. The UNC protesters are troubled by badthink, too. They’re not going to let go of that risible aspect of this year’s live-action staging of the movie PCU.
We DEMAND that the University incorporate mandatory programming for all University constituents (students, faculty, staff, administrators, deans, chairs, etc.) that teaches the historical racial violence of this University and town as well as a historical and contemporary look at the ways in which racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and cisheteropatriarchy structure our world.
I’d call it totalitarian except that it’s so over-the-top that it parodies itself. They want to teach us the evils (as they see them) of our world–including “cisheteropatriarchy” which I leave to readers to parse for meaning, if it has any. And when people inevitably convulse with laughter and openly mock their earnest reeducation efforts?
Oh, we’ll have none of that. At least, Princeton’s Destiny Crockett finds that prospect entirely unamusing. In a piece for The Daily Princetonian she wrote (in part):
[I]f your freedom of thought means that I, a Black student, do not have the luxury of feeling safe on a campus that I have worked my entire life to get to, it should have no place in universities or any other beloved institution.
Oh, Destiny. We’re supposed to figure out what makes you “feel” safe or unsafe and adjust our speech and behavior accordingly? I think you and your friends went beyond jumping the shark and backflipped over a whole school of them. In response, all I can say is that I think you need…a holiday in Cambodia.