Modern progressive college students have become so militant they’re frightening their own like-minded professors, according to an account posted by one such professor on the website Vox.
The professor, using the pseudonym Edward Schlosser, claims to have taught for nine years and currently works at a midsize state college. Over that time, he says, students have decisively shifted to become so protective of their fragile emotions that defying their sensibilities can be “suicidal” for one’s career.
“Things have changed since I started teaching,” Schlosser writes. “The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones.”
In the past, Schlosser says, he had a limited ability to confess his own political leanings in a class discussion, and he had no worries about exposing students to challenging texts and ideas if he thought it was appropriate for the class. Today, however, the danger is very real, especially for professors who haven’t received tenure yet.
“I once saw an adjunct not get his contract renewed after students complained that he exposed them to ‘offensive’ texts written by Edward Said and Mark Twain,” he says. “That was enough to get me to comb through my syllabi and cut out anything I could see upsetting a coddled undergrad, texts ranging from Upton Sinclair to Maureen Tkacik — and I wasn’t the only one who made adjustments, either.”
The shift in attitudes doesn’t just menace professors, but also undermines the education of students, Schlosser says. Students are no longer learning to challenge their own beliefs, and in fact are learning to lash out at those who penetrate their ideological bubble.
Schlosser’s anonymous account is the second account in the past week by a liberal professor describing an increasingly hostile relationship with their own students. Last Friday, Laura Kipnis of Northwestern described the “inquisition” she endured after students complained about article she wrote criticizing the “sexual paranoia” of modern universities.
Although himself of liberal sympathies, Schlosser blames the current environment on “cultural studies and social justice writers.”
“Their manifestations online… have led to adoption of a totalizing, simplistic, unworkable, and ultimately stifling conception of social justice,” he says. If that conception isn’t somehow moderated, he says, the final result is inevitable: a surge of “tremendous” conservative electoral backlash.
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