Venker

If you want to weep for the future of America, then simply look to Williamstown, Massachusetts. Students and infantile officials at Williams College ironically cancelled an “Uncomfortable Learning” series event featuring author Suzanne Venker. The reason: They feared it would make students too uncomfortable.

The whole pathetic display was first reported by Inside Higher Ed Oct. 20.

Williams College students invited Suzanne Venker, a writer and longtime critic of feminism, to speak Tuesday night, but changed their minds and took back the invite for her talk, “One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: Why Feminism Fails.”

Venker had been invited to participate in a student-run, alumni-funded speaking series at Williams called “Uncomfortable Learning.” The program’s purpose is to expose students to controversial voices and opinions they might not otherwise hear. Many of the speakers tend to be conservative or people whose views don’t square with those of most students. …

The concern, [series co-president Zach Wood] explained, was that “people would get riled up while she was speaking,” maybe even throw things, and there wasn’t time before the event to organize security. “You never know,” he said. “We’re just trying to think ahead here. The last thing we wanted to do was do something destructive.”

Coddled college students are like the psycho kids you knew growing up, the ones who threw violent tantrums when others didn’t want to play games according to their rules. The only difference is that now the weird kids are big enough to hurt others.

I have always been extremely thankful for the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a young conservative on an overwhelmingly-liberal campus. Every day students and teachers took great glee trying to make guys like me uncomfortable. My opinions were consistently challenged. I would be a rich man if I had a dime for every rhetorical cheap shot.

The real world is an uncomfortable place. People disagree with you. People don’t like you. People say mean things just to be mean. In fact, some people will hate you — for traits you consider completely innocuous. It is much better to be forced through a social and intellectual gauntlet in college than to be given “safe spaces” and political pacifiers.

The kids at Williams College are being taught a dangerous lesson if threats of violence against unpopular speech are rewarded. Intolerant students are likely to mutate into intolerant political leaders down the line. One doesn’t need a college degree to know that intolerant political leaders easily mutate into totalitarian thugs.

Venker wrote about her experience in a piece for Fox News Oct. 20.

“I had planned to talk about feminism, but from a different perspective than the one students are used to hearing. I was going to tell them why feminism fails. (Hint: because it denies the existence of biology and teaches that equality means sameness, which is a losing proposition when it comes to planning a life—particularly if that life includes marriage and family.) … Naturally, all my preparation went down the drain.”

Zach Wood appeared to understand — far too late — just how pitiful it was to pull Venker’s invitation. He told Reason Magazine on Friday the author was re-invited to speak sometime next spring. Why would an author come back to a school so terrified by a bunch of petulant children that it yanked her speaking engagement at the last minute?

“I can’t muster writing another speech anytime soon. As I say, it’s no small thing and I’m already behind on a book I’m writing,” Venker told Reason.

Williams College wasted an author’s valuable time. Unbeknownst to many of students, attendance at a college that shields them from “uncomfortable” encounters is also a waste — measured in years instead of hours.

Tuition at Williams College: $50,000. Setting self-righteous college kids up for a rude awakening years down the road: Priceless.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

5 comments

  1. College should be a place where students can receive training and education that will prepare them for jobs with a great deal of responsibility: doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, business executives, military officers. As such, the students should be mature, responsible adults.

    Some people do “get riled up” and “maybe even throw things” when they hear opinions with which they disagree. And those people simply do not belong in college. They don’t need degrees, anyway, because they should not be in positions of authority or responsibility.

    Instead of banning controversial guest speakers, colleges should be raising their admissions standards and also implementing strict codes of conduct.

    1. It’s interesting how these schools have endless “speech codes,” but then the school turns a blind-eye when students shut down events with conservative panelists. College is basically a joke these days unless the students is getting a degree in one of the hard sciences. It seems as though for every good professor there are five who are more interested in inculcation than education.

  2. Not sure if anyone here is a South Park fan, but they recently took a massive shot at the concept of “Safe Spaces”. And honestly, it’s so much to the point that it’s a wonder why Comedy Central hasn’t gone out of it’s way to cancel it in order to appease the Social Justice Inquisition.

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