When was the last time a student flunked out of college? I’m not talking about someone who hit the bong so often they just stopped going and dropped out. I want to know when was the last time someone attended class faithfully, attempted to do the course work and was found so lacking in ability that they were forced to leave college due to poor grades. I’ll bet it has been a long time – and if it does happen at all these days, I’ll further bet that such events are very few and very far between.
All of the lunacy we’ve seen on campus of late I trace back to the fact that you don’t need to be hard working or intelligent to get into college: all you need is money; and Uncle Sam will back a loan for you, if you don’t have any of your own. This has flooded colleges with vast numbers of people who don’t know much but who believe they do know quite a bit (after all, they’re in college, right? College people are smart, aren’t they? The current crop, however, is living off the intellectual reputation of those who went to college 50 or more years ago) – and college administrations quake in fear of them. Partially because the administrators are liberal and thus share a great deal of both the ignorance and the certainty of the students, but also because if you try to bring a bit of discipline to campus, you risk the revenue stream (a kid expelled is one less tuition check next semester – and if that happens often enough, there won’t be as much money to pay high salaries to professors and administrators).
It is a toxic stew – can’t risk the money; professors who are aged liberals; students who know next to nothing…and all stirred up by people who either just want a fracas, or who want to game the system to their own advantage (after all, if you’re set to graduate with a worthless “studies” degree next year, it is in your interest to demand that the college hire more people just like you).
There are colleges out there which don’t accept federal money and are thus free from all this – you never hear the kids at Christendom College or Hillsdale College demanding a “safe space”. This is the model we should take as our conservative alternative to the current higher education system. Either that, or make the federal money no-strings-attached – essentially say that as long as it is being used to educate kids, we don’t care what particular sort of education goes on (this has risks, of course – you could get a lot of Kook Universities springing up out there). But one thing is certain is that as long as we keep the current system, the lunacy will only get worse.
UPDATE: One of the events triggering the Missouri dust up was the alleged scrawling of a swastika made of feces. One small problem: no one has any actual evidence that such a thing occurred. We’ll have to see if any does come up. I doubt that it will: we’ve seen plenty of these alleged racist incidents turn out false, or at least entirely uncorroborated.
UPDATE II: Robert Tracinski writes up his own reform proposal – burn the universities to the ground. This is way too extreme, of course: such fires might spread to nearby property, some of which may be owned by sane people. So, I think my proposal still works better.