Academic left shelters students from diversity of thought

Alex Stevens, Political Contributor

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Last week, after the election of President-elect Donald Trump, Oakland University President George Hynd released a letter to students and faculty reminding us “that regardless of what is taking place in national politics, Oakland University will remain committed to providing a warm, welcoming and supportive environment that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion for all people, whether they come from near or far.”

Included in the letter was a list of support services for individuals who may be “feeling unsettled or uncertain in the wake of the election.” This list included various university counseling centers: the Multicultural Initiative Center; the Gender and Sexuality Center; the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives; the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; the Dean of Students Office; the International Students and Scholars Office; and the Office of Disability Support Services.

For those who are left wondering how or why Trump was elected president last week, you should look no further than this response by the university.

The reason students and faculty can’t comprehend how someone like Trump could be elected the president of the United States is because they have demanded universities shelter them from the people and ideas that have brought Trump to power.

Instead of creating an environment where students and faculty are encouraged to debate and respectfully discuss areas of disagreement, the environment on college campuses has become one where deviation from leftist groupthink results in displays of public shaming and efforts to humiliate those who aren’t up to speed with what progressive America demands they think about the world.

Instead of making an effort to listen to these people, the left has made it its mission to ostracize and socially isolate them. This type of behavior has sparked an ugly backlash that has fully manifested itself with Trump’s election.

Now, of course, administrators are doubling down on the crippling policies that have put us in this position by assuring the OU community that the university is there to protect them from the dangerous ideas in the world they shouldn’t have to face.

Instead of encouraging students to confront these issues head-on with spirited discussion and debate, Hynd’s letter has encouraged the OU community to shrink from that intellectual endeavor and, instead, retreat to our counseling centers and multicultural offices, where we can assure one another that our university sufficiently supports vague conceptions of social justice.

Hynd’s advice should be ignored, as it is unlikely that a generation of college students who demand their university coddle them in the wake of an election will ever possess the emotional or intellectual fortitude to effectively combat the dangerous ideas and rhetoric that have appeared during this election.

The academic left’s response to Trump’s victory has been all too typical in that it has decided to double-down on the practices that have alienated a large portion of America.

Students and faculty have continued to isolate themselves from the population that elected Trump by excluding and shaming ideas they disagree with. This has resulted in an academic environment that has been rendered completely impotent in its ability to understand or combat the troubling ideas that have surrounded this election.

For that reason, going forward, the type of diversity the OU community should be focused on supporting is the diversity of thought. Only through exposing ourselves to ideas that we don’t support can we learn to combat these policies.