There are some ideas so stupid only a college president could endorse them. At least that’s the impression given by reading this recent nearly-three-cheer defense of trigger warnings and microaggession bans on campus penned by two college presidents.
I know, I know it must be hard to be a college president. You are running what amounts to a business and need to heed the voice of the market. And since where one stands is often a function of where one sits, I don’t doubt that these defenses are at least in part sincere.
But if you allow yourself to get stewed in the juices you will eventually be rendered into the pot. As they write “(t)hose who offer blanket indictments of calls for safer spaces and content notices would do well to sit face to face, as we have, with anguished 18-year-olds.” Well, yes. I don’t doubt they had to confront anguished 18-year olds quite a bit. But where is the perspective and–dare I say it?–the gravity that one would expect a president to exhibit? A college president I respect once said that the most important quality needed in the job is social distance. By that he did not mean don’t fraternize with the custodians–he did regularly, and well. What he meant is that one should not blow with the wind and try to be a friend to all.
If only Colin Quinn had a Ph.D. he might make a run at a presidency somewhere.