Sunday, April 17, 2016

The incredible sadness of being a university protester

The fractious authoritarianism of some groups of university students (and professors) has caught a lot attention in the past year. While administrator's native instinct seems to be to try and placate the students no matter how absurd their demands, it now seems post Missouri University (professor actively depriving students of their civil rights, break the law and going against university policy, for which she was subsequently fired) and post Emory University (activist students are sent into trauma by chalkings on sidewalks, "Trump 2016" and demand protection by administrators who then respond by issuing a letter both supporting free speech and at the same time indicating that it needs to be controlled so that people aren't upset, setting in motion nationwide mockery), administrators are beginning to take a firmer stand. See this account of the administration's response at Ohio State University when confronted by protesting Afrikan Black Coalition demands, Finally - A College President Finds a Backbone by Steven Hayward. Clear the building or you will be arrested and expelled. Seems appropriate for threatening and endangering behavior.

What caught my eye, though were some of the critical, fundamental demands of the protestors. As an aside, at the beginning of these student protests last year, someone put together a site that tracked all the demands being made at universities across the nation. Having glanced at the site I simply assumed that it was a right oriented group that had done this in order to draw attention to the absurdity of the demands. In trying to validate the reported demands at Ohio State, I sought a central aggregator of demands and came across the same site again, The Demands. I see now, on closer inspection, that it is in fact a genuine site sponsored by the Black Liberation Collective. Caught by Poe's Law again.

There was a demand for more locally sourced food in the dining room. Of course there were demands for divestment of various Fortune 500 companies that had somehow drawn their ire. But then there was this sad, sad and very revealing demand.
We demand complete, comprehensive and detailed access to the Ohio State budget and investments immediately, as well as personnel to aid students in understanding this information.
To paraphrase the demand: Give us information that we can use to increase our demands and with which to remand you. Oh, and provide us the experts to understand what we are looking at.

I think that is in the running for lamest demand yet. Certainly it is one of the lamest. A self-acknowledgement of a complete absence of even rudimentary financial or mathematical skills. They could not be clearer in their unconscious self-acknowledgment of intellectual incapacity and absence of life skills. It really is sad.

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