Those of us who were college students in the late 1960s and early 1970s recall student occupations of administration buildings with varying degrees of fondness. Foolish as they may have been, student radicals in those days had a good idea what they were fighting for: an end to the Vietnam war (not that our colleges were doing anything to prosecute it) and, more broadly, imposition of a Communist dictatorship. Radicals correctly perceived that college administrators were liberals, but they weren’t that far left.
Today’s campus radicals remember the tactic, but don’t have much of a cause. That’s the conclusion I draw from this Minneapolis Star Tribune story about an occupation that took place earlier today at the University of Minnesota. I am pretty sure that this is a straight news report and not a parody:
Several University of Minnesota students alleging on-campus racial and ethnic discrimination took over President Eric Kaler’s office in Morrill Hall early Monday afternoon and were equipped for a long stay.
Ten to 15 students were in the second-floor office and “having a conversation with the president and other senior leaders,” said U spokesman Steve Henneberry.
Heh. That should drive them out before long!
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom,” one student yelled in the president’s office area as police, university staff and protesters moved about. A chorus later erupted into “I believe that we will win; I believe that we will win.”
“I believe that we will win?” Good Lord. Pretty tame compared with, “Two, four, six, eight, organize to smash the state!”
The protesters have a list of demands that include greater racial and ethnic diversity in university hiring practices and more money for the school’s ethnic studies program. These were initiatives that Kaler had promised would be accomplished by the end of last year, the students contended.
To put it mildly, this is not a demand to which the administration has any objection. If the occupiers were calling for more intellectual diversity, they might encounter some real opposition.
This is the funny part:
Other demands include removing descriptions of race and complexion from campus crime alerts…
As we have noted before, this has actually become a cause at the University of Minnesota. Apparently perpetrators of violent crimes on or near the campus stubbornly refuse to assort themselves according to approved ethnic proportions. One of my daughters graduated from the business school at the University of Minnesota. The fiance of one of her best friends was walking down a busy street on the university campus at 11:00 in the morning. Suddenly, a car pulled up at the curb and two men got out. They attacked my daughter’s friend with baseball bats, leaving him blind in one eye, jumped back in the car and sped away. Apparently it was some sort of gang initiation. The perpetrators were not people of pallor. These demonstrators evidently would prefer that they, and others like them, not be caught.
…making enrolling in an ethnic studies class a requirement of all students…
The administration will never go along with that one. The value of a college degree is getting harder to defend all the time, and watering it down with mandatory, useless ethnic studies classes would only worsen the problem.
…offering greater bathroom access for “all genders”…
We’ve come a long way from, “What do we want? Socialism! When do we want it? Now!” I don’t see how any normal person could read this demand without bursting into laughter.
…and removing from admissions applications any questions about criminal history of prospective students.
Yes, that’s just what we need–more criminals on college campuses! If they recruit enough of them, who knows, one in five coeds might be sexually assaulted.
I conclude that campus leftists are but a pale imitation of the leftists of earlier times. Which is, I think, one of many indicators of the decline of liberalism into irrelevance.