We may be seeing the beginnings of a full-blown campus revolution. Not a revolution based on actual oppression, but a revolution stemming from perceived oppression and a desire to attain victimhood status.
The seeds of the revolution sprouted in full force this week, with protests at Yale and the University of Missouri. At Mizzou, students began protesting alleged incidents of racism. In addition to whatever true allegations there might be, false ones have contributed to the mass hysteria, as when Mizzou's student president was forced to retract a Facebook post informing students that the Ku Klux Klan was on campus.
The questionable accusations led to the university's president and chancellor resigning. Their crimes? Not showing sufficient faith in allegations that might or might not be true. Also for not making a bigger deal out of the shooting death of Michael Brown, which occurred last August and two hours away in Ferguson.
The situation has become so bad that it appears a popular professor has resigned after coming under fire because he failed to cancel an exam amid the hysteria.
Yale's outrage may be even more juvenile. Students at the elite Ivy League school began protesting over a professor's email about not being so uptight about Halloween costumes. "If you don't like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other," the email said. "Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society."
For this, the faculty member whose wife wrote it was surrounded by screaming students.
Following the email outrage — which wasn't about actually offensive Halloween costumes, but the potential for offensive Halloween costumes —accusations of racism began flying. One student claimed in a Facebook post that a fraternity party she tried to attend was "white girls only." She later told the Daily Beast a different story. Other people who attended the party said there were black students in attendance, and that they had heard "numerous accounts" of a woman being turned away who then claimed: "It's because I'm black, isn't it?"
These disputed incidents have led to protests on college campuses — and they're spreading. Students at Ithaca College in New York are now calling for their president to resign for not adequately responding (in the protesters' minds) to allegations of racism. Students at Vanderbilt are calling for the resignation of a professor they claimed made "hateful" remarks toward Islam.
Protests sparked by hoaxes and questionable accusations are nothing new to college campuses. Several years ago, female students were demanding action for alleged incidents of sexual assault. To this day, they file lawsuits against schools that don't respond to their accusations in ways they deem appropriate (i.e., immediately expel accused students based on a shaky accusation).
The students currently protesting over alleged racial discrimination may find similar recourse through Title VI, which bans discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin. It's basically Title IX, but for race.
Seeing as how Title IX was warped to define sex between two students as sexual discrimination (even when both parties are of the same sex), and that said supposed discrimination leads to a hostile learning environment; it's not difficult to see how a alleged racial discrimination could be seen as an equally hostile learning environment. And just as a university inadequately (in the eyes of the accusers) responding to sexual assault accusations became grounds for federal investigations, so too could similar accusations made against schools for being indifferent toward questionable claims that something racially offensive occurred or was said.
When schools are inevitably forced to respond due to federal pressure, due process protections for anyone accused will go out the window. Hate crimes, like sexual assault, will be turned into mere disciplinary matters.
College students today, upon learning about systemic oppression of the past, are looking for a way to create their own movement, to belong to something bigger than themselves so that they can look back someday and say they were a part of something. The problem for them is, the sexual and racial discrimination of the '50s and '60s no longer exists, so they have to invent or exaggerate claims in order to make it seem as if problems are widespread.
I don't mean to suggest that sexual or racial discrimination and violence never happen — they absolutely do. But when so many instances lack evidence or are later exposed as hoaxes designed to "raise awareness," it's hard to believe the problem is really as widespread as activists claim.
Expect more schools to follow in Yale and Mizzou's footsteps, to the detriment of innocent students everywhere.