Elsewhere (227)
Friday Ephemera

Because They Haven’t Quite Infantilised The Students Enough

Amber Athey notes another data point in the decline of academia

A University of Arizona classroom dialogue guide encourages professors to use the “Oops/ouch method,” where students who are offended in class say “ouch” and the offender responds with “oops.”

Apparently, the way to “maximise free speech in the classroom” is to “create a safe space” in which pantomime ensues, and by advising faculty that “microaggressions,” even those on unrelated matters in personal conversations, should be “interrupted” – and interrupted “immediately” - as being “harmful to the classroom environment.” When not eavesdropping on private conversations and offering unsolicited correction, faculty are advised by the guide to be on the look-out for a range of classroom “challenges” and “cultural misunderstandings,” including:    

A heterosexual student claiming that LGBTQIA+ individuals do not have the right to exist.

Because, obviously, that must happen all but daily on a politically correct campus. And,

A white student threatening an African American student over views on affirmative action.

Other forbidden behaviours include acknowledging in class that illegal immigrants have in fact broken the law, or using gendered metaphors in descriptions of atoms, or “questioning the credibility and validity” of (certain) students’ accounts of an event, even if one has contradictory information. “Feelings,” at least those of some students, must not be “nullified.”

Curiously, all of the examples given, and they are numerous, assume that only members of Designated Victim Groups will ever be on the receiving end of “problematic behaviour.” There is no guideline for how to deal with, say, opportunist and vindictive accusations of racism or “privilege,” or attempts to denigrate straight, white male students as inherently ignorant and oppressive, which are hardly inconceivable in an environment where “microaggressions” are regarded as a pressing issue, and where students with brown skin are deemed, automatically and by default, victims of “institutional discrimination” and therefore in need of collective “validation.”