Student Protests


By Samantha Hill
Students at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts are trying to get Camille Paglia fired “and replaced by a queer person of color.” The campaign was provoked by a talk Paglia proposed on “Ambiguous Images: Sexual Duality and Sexual Multiplicity in Western Art.”

The students raised concerns with the Title IX office and on social media about “giving Camille a platform.” Paglia, who identifies as transgender has long been a fire rod on the left.

In an essay for The Atlantic, Tom Nichols looks at the rising trend of students trying to act like “presidents and provosts.” Nichols pushes his criticism of these student protests a bit far, calling them “preening would-be totalitarianism.” But if his tone is overwrought, his point is not unwarranted; these student protests are taking aim at faculty governance which is already threatened by the bureaucratization of academic institutions, which now employee more bureaucrats on average than professors. At the same time, the students seek to censor what professors can and cannot say, publish, and write, professionally and on the their own time. Nichols writes,

Changing this culture will be hard, but it starts with the confident assertion by faculty that they are there for a reason and know what they are doing. Students must be reminded that they petitioned the institution for entry, and not the other way around; they asked the university to allow them to enter into a contract in which the professors are obligated to educate them and they are obligated to fulfill the requirements that will allow those professors to recommend them to the university for graduation.