Ursinus College Professor Jonathan Marks argued in a recent column that college students want to be treated like children. He snidely suggests Fresno State University, which has adopted a new policy about being kind of fellow students, should adopt Barney the Purple Dinosaur as a mascot.
The column, which is entitled “First Grade University,” goes after a new policy at Fresno State University that Marks says are similar to what one might see in an elementary school classroom.
The policy, which was proposed by staff and faculty at Fresno State, encourages students to be “kind” and use words “thoughtfully.” Marks, of course, is not against these universal principles. Instead, he is concerned that the staff at Fresno State think that college students need to be reminded about these simple principles.
Fresno Staters “are Respectful,” which means, among other things, that they “listen with attention to all perspectives with the intent to understand,” “consider the impact of [their] communication,” and “honor [their] word and commitments.” Fresno Staters “are Kind,” so they “use words thoughtfully and [are] mindful of [their] actions.” Fresno Staters are “Collaborative,” so they “do [their] share and make space for others to shine.” They are “Accountable, so they “own responsibility for [their] behaviors and actions.”
The new policy is allegedly meant to reduce bullying at Fresno State. But do college-aged students really need to be reminded to be nice to one another?
Marks goes on to subtly imply that college professors want to transform universities into a religious center based on their partisan social justice politics. He specifically says that they want to turn universities into “Sunday Schools” based on social justice teachings.
As I noted, ideology is not to blame for the abject failure of a university to articulate in any way, much less live up to, its truth-seeking mission. Partisans of social justice seek to turn our universities into Sunday schools. The bureaucrats who manage universities as they would any other enterprise, and faculty who go along with them, are satisfied with less. They just want the kind of school in which all the children seem happy.
Marks sarcastically ends his piece by suggesting Fresno State replace its current mascot with Barney the Purple Dinosaur, to fit in with its new policies on kindness.