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    On campus

    Joanne Jacobs writes that Queer Studies is spreading. And a good thing, too. There’s no more difficult project than getting spoiled 20-year-old gay men and women at elite private colleges to obsess over themselves and feel disadvantaged. It can only be hoped that giving them academic credit for it will help.

    She also links FIRE’s website. I should know not to click through to FIRE by this point. It’s not that the organization isn’t doing wonderful, necessary work; it’s just that the cases it documents are so infuriating that reading about them makes me want to flee to another planet.

    Of course, you have to wonder which planet the good folks at Jacksonville State University think we’re living on already. They feature in a post on FIRE’s blog-like “The Torch”:

    There must be something illiberal in the water in Alabama. [I blame Susanna.–SRK] In October of last year, FIRE Legal Network attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against Troy University in Alabama for violating the First Amendment by maintaining a restrictive speech code and censoring student artwork.

    Now FIRE has learned that Jacksonville State University (JSU) in Jacksonville, Alabama, maintains one of the most illegally overbroad—not to mention simply inane—speech codes that we have ever seen. The student code of conduct at JSU provides that “No student shall threaten, offend, or degrade anyone on University owned or operated property.” Got that? No student shall offend anyone on University property. The only way for students to ensure they are in compliance with this policy is to remain in complete silence. Otherwise, how could a student possibly know whether an opinion she wants to express might offend one of the 9,000 other students at JSU, each of whom has his or her own particular sensitivities?

    I hate to break it to Samantha Harris (who wrote that on behalf of FIRE), but as a rather laconic guy myself, I can assure you that being quiet only invites Chatty Cathy types to be offended at one’s perceived “unfriendliness,” “aloofness,” or even “elitism.”

    Personally, I cracked up with unrestrained offensive glee at the “degrade” part. I have this vision of some outraged, fresh-faced 19-year-old (of either sex) showing up in a huff at the Dean of Student Life’s office and declaring, “That guy who lives two doors down in the dorm just totally degraded me!” Presumably then there would be a Threat/Offense/Degradation Incident Report to file?

    Bonkers–just bonkers.

    3 Responses to “On campus”

    1. Zak says:

      The ironic thing about this kind of Victimhood Studies departments is that they are a self-fulfilling prophecy. Graduates learn no marketable skills, and so after graduation they end up in society in weaker positions than those who bothered to learn something useful in college (economics, business, plumbing…). This then convinces them that they were right all along, they really are victimized by society.

      If they were really interested in anything other than permanent victimhood, they’d spend that 4 years and $100K gaining at least one skill or trade they could use to support themselves.

    2. Toby says:

      I know what you mean – i feel the same every time I look at FIRE’s site. I think, it is so hard for the young these days – and then start to ask myself whether I am becoming a grumpy old bastard…

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Well, Zak, I think what a lot of people end up doing is getting an MA in [Designated Victim] Studies, and at that point they probably do okay for the simple reason that there are a lot of jobs for which employers require a master’s degree that don’t actually require people to use knowledge from their field of study. I agree completely, though, that such people would probably benefit themselves and their communities more by learning something practical.

      Toby, I thought you were already a Bilious Young Fogey. Don’t you have to become an Indignant Guy of a Certain Age before you’re eligible for Grumpy Old Bastard status?

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