Back when I was in college – a very lefty, ‘progressive’ school – the students and professors were irate over the potential war in Iraq. The students threatened to walk out of class. The professors threatened to cancel class in protest. I couldn’t help but think, “Hey guys, walking out of class isn’t going to change U.S. military policy. Not getting the education that your parents are paying $40,000 a year for isn’t helping anyone, not even yourselves or your cause. Oh, and professors? My family isn’t shelling out enough for a brand-new Lexus SUV so that you can not do your job for some pointless, meaningless, ineffective little protest. Okay, fine, even if it were meaningful and had a point and effected change, you don’t have a right to said protest at my expense.”
Now Dartmouth and Oberlin have joined the crew of “let’s cancel classes to make a point!” (Hat tip.) Some students are understandably quite irate.
A poll of nearly 1,200 students by The Dartmouth found that 67 percent of students said canceling classes was not “an appropriate response,” and 57 percent said it was not effective.
I don’t expect college to be the real world, but this is absurd. There is little reason to stop teaching differential equations or the history of the Roman empire because of intra-campus kerfuffles. All it does it to hold students’ education hostage to the whims of various angry, vocal members of campus.