Today's college students suffer from a form of "spoiled bratism" that leaves them unprepared to take the reins and become the next generation of America's adults, says Chester Finn, Jr., a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
"It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry," Finn writes in an opinion piece for Politico Magazine.
College campuses haven't seen a great deal of activism since the 1960s and the Vietnam War, he wrote, but activism now is more about a "generalized kindling of political correctness, self-absorption and — yes, I’ll say it — spoiled-bratism."
College students are demanding "trigger warnings" to alert them if something they are about to read or see in their classrooms or on campus might be too traumatic, Finn wrote.
The warnings aren't just about books, but students want to be told beforehand if classroom topics, sculptures, placards and more might offend them, according to The New York Times
, or for anything that might otherwise cause them some distress while in school.
"Poor dears," Finn wrote. "These are the same kids who would riot in the streets if their colleges asserted any form of in loco parentis
when it comes to such old-fashioned concerns as inebriation and fornication. God forbid they should be treated as responsible, independent adults!"
In the case of Oberlin College, Finn writes, a course-syllabus guide calls for instructors to flag "all forms of violence" and examples of “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.”
Further, the school's Office of Equity Concerns, tells instructors to make the classroom inclusive for all genders and gender identities, as well as sexual orientations.
In addition to classroom subjects, students have also been getting their way when it comes to commencement speakers, including Condoleezza Rice,
who have backed out rather than face student protests.
Such students, Finn writes, aren't the job-holding, career-minded people found in community colleges and trade schools, but are full-time "traditional" students on four-year campuses.
"[They] have been long been accustomed to getting their own way with just about everything, hovered over and indulged by their parents, praised (and grade-inflated) by their teachers and carefully cushioned from every form of risk, adversity and hardship," Finn wrote.
In addition, their colleges expect little from them. Most students take about 15 course hours a week, enjoy shorter semesters and longer weekends, and classes that start later, he said.
Further, they enjoy "copious" food options in their dining halls and elaborate exercise facilities, said Finn, while they should be taking their extra time trying to understand things and people that make them think.
"Might they not make a better investment of their parents’ (and taxpayers’ and donors’) many dollars by reading books containing knowledge (and conclusions) that they don’t already possess?" asked Finn. "By seriously listening to, even talking with — dare I say it — the likes of Condi Rice and Charles Murray?"
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