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America's Academic Tyrants By: Walter Williams
Townhall.com | Thursday, September 04, 2003


Many of America's colleges and universities have become the modern leaders of racism and intolerance. Recently, we were treated to information about racism at the University of Michigan, where its academic elite gave students 20 extra points toward admission based solely on race.

The U.S. Supreme Court found this explicit racism unconstitutional but did allow continuance of a more hidden form, where universities can consider race as "a plus" in admission decisions. The University of Michigan case is merely the tip of the iceberg. There are loads of racist and intolerant practices thought up by the academic elite that our youngsters will encounter as they take on the new semester.

Jeanne McDonnell, a freshman at the College of William and Mary, tells her story in an Aug. 25 Washington Times editorial. She sought to enroll in a five-week seminar called the Summer Transition Program offered to help students develop good study habits and test-taking skills. She found out that the seminar was racially segregated, and as a white young lady she was denied admission -- only preferred minorities were accepted. Would supporters of this practice be bothered if William and Mary had seminars for whites only where blacks and Hispanics need not apply?

What about segregated graduation ceremonies? Vanderbilt, Stanford University, the University of California, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania are among those that offer separate graduation ceremonies and separate "celebratory events" for black, Hispanic and Asian-American students. University administrators not only condone segregated ceremonies but racially segregated student housing, as well.

This "enlightened" policy not only occurs at backwater colleges but at our most elite universities, such as Stanford, Cornell, MIT, Pennsylvania and California-Berkeley. What if white students demanded whites-only graduation ceremonies and whites-only dorms?

In addition to racism, universities have become bastions of intolerance. America's liberals are known for their strong advocacy of free speech, including vile speech and speech that assaults precious symbols, such as the U.S. flag and the Bible. Liberals are free speech advocates because it's crucial to their propaganda agenda for control. But liberals have contempt for most freedoms, and once they're running the show, that contempt will extend to free speech.

Yesteryear's flower children are today's academic elite -- they control our universities. Through campus speech codes, free speech is under assault on some college campuses. Steve Hinkle, a Cal Poly student, posted a flier announcing a lecture by Mason Weaver, author of "It's OK to Leave the Plantation," a book that argues that dependence on government programs places many blacks in circumstances analogous to slavery. The flier offended some black students, and Hinkle was ordered to write letters of apologies, which he refused to do and now faces disciplinary action.

Harvard Law School faculty adopted "Sexual Harassment Guidelines" targeted at "seriously offensive" speech. Texas Tech bans "communications (that) humiliate any person." The university offers as examples of punishable expressions, "sexual innuendoes," "referring to an adult as "girl," "boy" or "honey," or "sexual stories." Professor Alan Kors of the University of Pennsylvania, concerned by so many egregious violations of free speech, founded Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). FIRE has successfully brought suit against several universities for their suppression of speech and ideas.

Both as taxpayers and donors, Americans have been exceedingly generous to our universities. The academic elite has contempt for American values and the wealth that make that generosity possible. I think university administrators might get the message if we'd put a halt to our generosity. Maybe a good donation strategy is to search a university's website or catalog. See whether it has multiculturalism, diversity or equity offices and programs. If it has, it's probably practicing some form of racism. The next step is simple: Close your pocketbook.


Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., and a syndicated columnist.


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