The student-led protests against supposed intolerance on college campuses have been common throughout 2015. While these social justice activists obviously have some support across the nation, however, many critics point out that their attempts to silence others are no better than the intolerant acts allegedly committed by their targets.
David Rubin is one such commentator, who also happens to be the former dean of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Commenting on the tone of a so-called ‘listening session’ held recently on campus, he noted the incongruity between the protesters’ goals and the methods being used to achieve them.
“They want a more diverse faculty,” he wrote in a Syracuse Post-Standard editorial this week, “affordable tutoring services, and more courses on social justice topics.”
Beyond a few arguably reasonable requests, however, Rubin pointed to a few of the outrageous complaints being made against ostensibly intolerant staff members and fellow students.
“One student said a music faculty member was unaware of the latest musical trends in this student’s culture,” he wrote. “The student felt this was a micro-aggression against her.”
Furthermore, Rubin wrote that the idea of demonstrators voicing their grievances in such an overtly sympathetic environment as the one he described is fatally flawed for two reasons.
“First,” he explained, “the people who need to hear these cries – the majority white faculty, staff, and student body – were largely not in the room. For them this was not a safe space to be, a concept that cuts two ways, although I don’t think the attendees at this meeting realize this.”
Additionally, Rubin concluded that the meetings left no room for “true discussion, which is how change comes about in a democratic society.”