George Washington University students – Bizarre Reasoning and Wild Demands; But Others Elsewhere May Follow

Students (which some might call inmates) at George Washington University [GWU] have written a letter demanding that GWU take tuition money and divert it to fund outside non-educational projects such as job training, community centers, and facilities for the homeless.

 George Washington University photo

George Washington University

Photo by Ken Lund

Their so-called argument or justification is that having GWU police provide security on campus is an “act of violence” because police in general have been favorable to Donald Trump – “Placing us in these officers’ care is an act of violence,” they claim.

Given the total lack of any validity or rationality to their argument – which also demands for some unexplained reason that the university recognize “white supremacy” – it seems like they are behaving more like inmates in an asylum seeking to take it over than as students making a rational presentation, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who ironically has fought for many of the causes they espouse.

Unfortunately, as ridiculous and as illogical as their premise and demands are, similar situations have occurred at other higher education institutions where the bizarre claims of their students were taken seriously.

At some law schools, students claimed to be so traumatized by Trump’s election that they could no longer function. The schools responded by cancelling classes and postponing exams.

At one top law school, Michigan, its “embedded psychologist” offered the law students Legos, play dough, and bubbles to help them cope with the “trauma” of Trump’s election.

Some schools did the same when students claimed to be traumatized by the shooting hundreds of miles away in Ferguson of a felon who attacked a police officer.

Many law professors have stopped teaching the law related to rape – normally a major component of a law school class in Criminal Law – because students claimed that it would be too upsetting for their sensibilities.

A feminist female law professor at Harvard Law School is asked not only not to teach rape, but to also refrain from using the word “violated,” even in a neutral sense such as “the statute violated the Constitution.”

The result is political correctness run amuck, says Banzhaf, who complains that it permits those who know the least to determine not only what they are to be taught but also how it is to be taught – which is exactly what is meant by the expression “the inmates have taken over the asylum.”

Can one even imagine how a lawyer like Patrick Henry – who famously said “Give me liberty, or give me death!” in risking his life to establish a new country – would feel if he heard a Michigan law student now say “Give me play dough so I can cope!”

Banzhaf proposes that GWU set up a system so that calls for emergency assistance from the cell phones of the students behind the letter would automatically be routed to the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Multicultural Student Services Center, rather than to campus police headquarters for response.

Also, he thinks that a fund should be set up so that students could take the money they ordinarily use to obtain membership at the George Washington University gym could instead use it to pay for the non-educational projects listed in the letter. Students could also make additional contributions from their trust funds, or by forgoing a night on the town.

Interestingly, it is often students such as those behind the letter who call for and expect help from campus police about things which simply offend rather than truly threaten them.

For example, a student who saw at George Washington University an image of something he mistook for a Nazi swastika called the campus police for help. The school obliged, in clear violation of his free speech rights, by throwing the student who posted the image off campus.

In another incident at George Washington University, students who got upset when another student flew a Palestinian flag outside his window complained to the campus police, even though other students have long flown other different types of flags. The police, in violation of academic freedom, required him to take the flag down.

Ironically, these new protesters are now demanding additional protection for Palestinian students “to prevent their genocide at the hands of Israel.”

Other universities have punished students for simply writing the word “Trump” in chalk – along with other chalk drawings which are permitted – on a university sidewalk, purporting to sell – but not actually selling – cookies at different prices for blacks and whites to trigger discussion about affirmative action; and for using the word “niggardly” which has nothing to do with race.

Banzhaf suggests that one reason students are too often able to obtain such huge and sometimes outrageous concessions from their schools, with their illogical arguments and claims, is that the faculty, who are supposed to be helping students develop skills in logical thinking and reasoned analysis, do not speak up forcefully and effectively when these bizarre and outrageous documents are presented to the administration.

So, instead of running the institution to help those inside learn to think clearly and logically, those in charge too often let those still unable to reason run the place, at least in part.

Banzhaf hopes that his own university will not go down the road so many other colleges have gone down where those who have trouble thinking are dictating to those who job it is to help them learn to think.