Bullying is being purged from college campuses, says David Hacker, in a blog post dated yesterday. At first it sounds a lot like what my parents taught me: treat others civilly. But there’s a twist there:
As USA Today reports, “civility” policies and programs are cropping up at universities across the nation. Some seem to be bound up with efforts to purge “bullying” from campus … other efforts seem to have more affinity with the egg-shell student and the quest to eliminate “offensive” (read, Christian or pro-life) speech from campus. However, you slice it, the civility police are back.
In place of bullying, there is, all too frequently, intimidation. Matthew J. Franck writes in an article dated today:
The deadly combination of unchallenged liberal presumptions and casual intimidation of dissenters is probably at its worst in the most prestigious universities, which set the tone for the rest of the country, on this issue as on many others. But in all except the most resolutely religious colleges, there is no doubting that the default position of the American academy is to dismantle the institution of marriage and remake it on a new basis. The result is a good deal of self-silencing—self-exile into the “new closet” on issues involving sexuality—not just by students but by faculty, too. The path of least resistance turns out to be the path of no resistance. For institutions that claim to be homes of diverse views and free inquiry in the pursuit of truth, this creeping orthodoxy is a sign of wounded institutional integrity and failed leadership.
I used to think colleges gave up behavioral guidance, what used to be called in loco parentis, long ago. How naive of me. They are still very much in the business of telling students how to behave.
I won’t be naive enough, though, to call it moral guidance. The mood on campus is not just to act in the parents’ place. It’s to displace prior generations’ morality and faith, and replace it with a new set of what’s now called “values.” I’ll need help on this from someone who knows Latin: it’s much less in loco parentis; much more in loco [parents' beliefs and morality].