How is it our fault, exactly, that we live in a society that is so hideously cultish about litigation, that lawyers can actually sell that unadulterated drivel to a school and make them believe it’s a real threat? If that kind of policy came down in my college, there would be a faculty revolt, and I’m pretty sure I know exactly which professor would be leading the charge. And many of our students would be right there with them, myself included.
This is what happens when you make an academic institution more like a corporation. You water down the academics, and you make everyone afraid that they’re going to get punished for saying the “wrong” thing to the wrong person. Businesses are the only culture I know of where simple offense taken by… someone can have serious consequences. Oh hey, look, job training on college campuses. How’s that working out?
We do have to be more aware of what we are saying, not for fear of someone getting their knickers in a knot, but because there really are things such as institutional racism and sexism, and our speech patterns unconsciously reflect and reinforce those and other bigotries. We do need to be aware that certain situations can be triggers for those with PTSD and other mental/emotional health issues. These do require more delicate handling because genuine harm is possible otherwise. And we do need policies in place that protect our freedom to safely challenge the school when we see harm being done. But the focus of those policies needs to be on supporting the campus community and helping it thrive, not protecting the school’s bottom line.
People are inherently worthy of respect, that is the basis of a civilized society. Not all ideas are, however. In fact, some ideas are worthy only of drop kicking off the train of thought. If colleges have forgotten that their solemn duty is to teach us how to tell the difference, rather than to protect their own ass(ets), it’s the fault of the generation running the schools, not the one learning at them.