Monday, August 15, 2011

What to Do about Campus Bogeyman Bradley Smith: A Manual for Action

By Jett Rucker

At age 56 (younger by far than our Bradley Smith), I returned to a college campus as a hyperannuated student, far more eager to learn than I was in those days when enrollment in college was one means to defer the draft for us males. I noticed many changes on campus after some forty years, but one thing, particularly noticeable at night, had nothing to do with advances in learning. That was “panic stations,” those pole-mounted telephones or buttons surmounted by a blue light by means of which anyone in fear for their physical safety could signal the campus police to the rescue. A small step forward for technology, I thought, at the same time a great leap backwards for society, or the standards by which its members deport themselves.

Today there lurks on campuses in America a bogeyman thought by many parents, administrators, and appropriations-voting politicians to have been banished long ago: the specter of Open Debate. Free Thinking—call it what you will—it is today but the faintest vestige of what it .....

No comments: