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Martin Center column details dangerous politicization of college campuses

Joel Gardner writes for the Martin Center about more evidence of the negative role of politics on a high-profile college campus.

It is no secret that our colleges and universities have witnessed a sea change in campus culture over the past two decades. Political correctness has run rampant. High-profile incidents such as the Yale Halloween costume controversy and phenomena such as safe spaces and building re-namings have captured public attention.

College officials, however, assure us that such incidents are aberrations and that our institutions of higher learning are still places where fairness and the free exchange of ideas prevail. But those of us who have recently experienced life on a college campus, or have studied recent surveys of student experiences, or who regularly read such websites as Campus Reform or The College Fix, know that such platitudes from those officials do not remotely reflect the current reality at most colleges.

The fact is that there is an endemic rot of indoctrination, politicization, and intellectual intimidation that is eviscerating the historical purpose and nature of our institutions of higher learning.

Accordingly, if you believe that a university should be an institution for unfettered and free discourse, where students, faculty, and administrators can espouse differing viewpoints without fear of reprisal—you should be concerned, very concerned. And if you believe that universities should be institutions where all groups are treated equally and where achievement is based on merit and ability alone—you should be concerned, very concerned. Further, if you believe a college student’s experience should be a time for expanding intellectual and social horizons and enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime joie de vivre of freedom and friendships—then you should be concerned as well—very concerned.

The main culprit behind these problems has been the purposeful politicization of our college communities.

And that has mostly come in the form of the codification of a social justice agenda in the name of the “holy trinity” of so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion. I say “so-called” because, as applied on campuses, these terms take on a different meaning than advertised.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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