The insanity that has been infecting our college campuses, most recently the University of Missouri and Yale, has now infected Vanderbilt. Wednesday National Review reports that an online student petition demanding the suspension of Professor of Law and Political Science Carol Swain for being “hateful” toward minorities has gotten more than 1,000 signatures. The fact that Professor Swain is black appears to be irrelevant as far as these charges go.
Swain’s crime is that of making what some students deem politically incorrect statements about radical Islam and traditional Christian beliefs. The petitioners feel her statements are intolerant and, therefore, cannot be tolerated by the University. To attend this school a student must have a fairly high level of intelligence, but to feel that you have a constitutional right to tolerance and protection from being offended makes one suspect. Tolerance is a two-way street.
The petitioners are demanding that Swain, as well as the rest of the faculty, be sent to diversity training camp. This is so she will think and speak in a manner approved by arrogant college brats spouting political correctness.
Testifying a number of times before the U.S.Commission on Civil Rights, Swain makes two things very plain: She speaks her mind, and doesn’t tolerate fools or foolishness. Today’s campuses are no longer havens for free or independent thought. For the most part, they have been infiltrated with liberal progressive ideology. It is a hostile environment for anyone with a different viewpoint.
Created this week, the Change.org petition has been signed by about 1,500 people as of Wednesday afternoon. According to The Tennessean, the petition calls for the University to investigate allegations that Swain engaged in “unprofessional intimidation” of students on social media and “discriminatory practices in the classroom.”
In a statement released Wednesday, Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said he appreciated “the serious concerns of our many students and alumni who have signed an online petition calling for the suspension of Carol Swain.” Since coming to the university in 1999, Swain, a Vanderbilt professor of political science and law, has courted controversy several times. About 100 students protested in January after Swain wrote a column for The Tennessean that allegedly attacked the religion of Islam.
What is interesting is that this all seems to center around negative views of Islam, the LGBT movement and Black Lives Matter. All three groups are notorious for demanding tolerance but not extending it. Freedom of speech only applies to them. However, this is the perspective that is being pushed by the Obama administration, Al Sharpton, the New Black Panthers, et.al. Could these be the same “liberal” and “tolerant” Muslim Students Association members that previously tried to bully Swain into silence? Eric Owens of the Daily Caller wrote about it back in January 2015.
Jeffrey Greenberg, a columnist for the vanderbilthustler had some strong words regarding the petition. According to Greenberg, the creators of the petition have since engaged in a series of revisions, first changing the title to “Suspend Professor Carol Swain” and recommending Swain attend mandatory “diversity training” to retain her position at Vanderbilt. They then further changed their language to mandate diversity training for all professors and Swain’s suspension “pending an investigation” into her conduct. Maybe they changed the petition’s language because Swain’s language in no way constitutes an offense worthy of termination, or because the official university response was fundamentally incompatible with the original document.
Greenberg goes on to point out “…this petition remains, at its core, intellectually bankrupt. Instead of analyzing the content of her comments, the knee-jerk reaction of many students, and now the calculated attempt of some, is removing Swain from the conversation entirely by labeling her as bigoted and unprofessional. This approach adds nothing to the critical discussions we need to have about various issues which affect this campus. It suppresses rather than fosters intellectual growth.”
Despite protesters’ claims that the article amounted to “hate speech,” Vanderbilt has not yet taken any serious action against Swain. Time will tell if the current petition yields a different outcome.