Yale University last month was the scene of student protests against what Time magazine described delicately as “the racial insensitivity of the school’s administration.”
To recap: In October, lecturer and associate master Erika Christakis sent an email to her students at one of the university’s residential colleges responding to a campus-wide letter on culturally sensitive Halloween costumes. “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious,” she wrote, “…a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?”
Her students’ short answer: No.
Filmmaker and satirist Ami Horowitz decided to visit Yale “to take this campus free speech debate to its logical conclusion.” Horowitz asked students if they would sign a petition to repeal the First Amendment. No tricks. No funny wording. The pitch couldn’t have been more straightforward.
“The result was this unbelievable display of total stupidity,” Horowitz told Fox News.
Well, maybe not so unbelievable, as Kevin D. Williamson chronicled at National Review when the lunacy in New Haven was near its peak.
In any case, watch Horowitz’s video and see for yourself.
Yale spokesman Tom Conroy questioned the veracity of the video, telling the Daily Beast: “There are a number of heavily edited prank videos like this one circulating lately in which someone surreptitiously records people while pretending to support a position that they actually oppose, and trying to get the individuals they speak with to agree with them.”
(That Daily Beast story is best read in its entirety. Horowitz offers many interesting insights on the video, including this: “One girl had the honesty to say, ‘I don’t know what’s in the First Amendment,’” recalled Horowitz… “She pulled it up on her phone, read it thoughtfully, and said ‘Okay, I’ll sign this,’” said Horowitz. “That one blew me away.”)
Not to be outdone, Harvard’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Freshman Dean’s Office last week began distributing what The College Fix describes as “holiday placemats for social justice” in college dining halls.
According to The Harvard Crimson:
[T]he placemats pose hypothetical statements on those topics and offer a “response” to each of those in a question and answer format. For example, under a section entitled “Yale/Student Activism,” the placemat poses the question, “Why are Black students complaining? Shouldn’t they be happy to be in college?” and suggests that students respond by saying, “When I hear students expressing their experiences on campus I don’t hear complaining.”
In the center of the placemat are what it calls “tips for talking to families,” with recommendations such as “Listen mindfully before formulating a thoughtful response” and “Breathe.”
That’s good advice to parents, too. Take a deep, cleansing breath and remember you’re only spending $60,000 a year for this hokum. Then have another eggnog. Maybe make it a double.