Emory's Administration Panders to the Forces of Illiberalism

Early this week, students and employees of Emory University walked onto campus and found walkways filled with numerous chalked messages supporting Donald Trump. Most simply stated "Trump 2016," but at least one exuberantly declared "Accept the Inevitable, Trump 2016." Anyone who steps foot on a college campus these days is used to the ubiquitous chalked sidewalks, usually filled with announcements of meetings, events, and affirmations of political and social causes: "National Coming-Out Week," "Black Lives Matter," and "Israel = Apartheid."

Few people pay much attention and, particularly in Atlanta, the frequent rain showers of the spring wash away the messages within a few days. Emory is a typical elite university - both its student body and faculty lean to the political left - and rhetoric about "inclusion" and "diversity" is ubiquitous, although ideological diversity is rarely intended. Last fall, following the "Black Lives Matter" zeitgeist, African-American students briefly blocked a road leading to Emory Hospital and demanded the university meet a number of demands designed to counter the supposed institutional racism that pervaded the campus.

The demands ranged from requiring courses to uproot the "poisonous tree" of the "Eurocentric curriculum" to banning Yik Yak, an anonymous social media platform filled with snark, gossip, and the occasional racist comment. Apart from complaints that current policies for adjudicating charges of violations of university policies are inadequate, most of the demands lacked any kind of evidence.

At least some were alarming. Citing the fact that "not all Black students are adequately prepared for the rigor of Emory University" and that a number are "unprepared for the academic rigor of Emory's pre-professional academic track," the students demanded special tutoring programs and facilities for minority students. Instead of asking whether Emory's affirmative action policies on admission and financial aid were leading to the admission of students who struggled to succeed in a very competitive environment, the administration responded by pledging to create task forces and hold conversations to address the demands.

Just as alarming as the administrative refusal to defend the integrity of the institution they serve - and whose allegedly "racist" policies they have overseen for years - was the student rhetoric that accompanied the protests. As one black student put it: "We're literally trying to survive the trauma of being on campus every day. It's a traumatic experience." The barrage of "micro-aggressions" they endured every day from their professors and fellow students had left some students in need of additional counselors in the Psychological Center specifically trained to work with black students. If an American institution of higher education, filled with left-wing faculty and administrators, trumpeting its significant percentage of minority and international students, its generous need-blind financial aid policies, and one of the highest percentages of minority faculty among elite institutions was a bastion of racism so severe that it psychologically disabled someone, perhaps they did need psychological aid.

 Read more at The Weekly Standard

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