September 18, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 12  

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Universities decaying thanks to the PC elite

From the Far Lane
Emmett Macfarlane


When The Gazette decided to take a look at political correctness, we knew it was a significant issue in the academic world (not to mention Western's social atmosphere and some of the scary tenets of the Residence Life Management Team, but that's another feature on it's own).

But just how prevalent PCness is as a problem in university classrooms quickly became apparent as we spoke to various professors. Or at least tried to speak with them.

Even with the security of tenure, most of the professors we asked declined to go on the record with us, not because they didn't have anything to say, but because they didn't feel they could say it. We can only guess as to their possible fears - which might include alienation from their peers or some veiled form of punishment from administration such as being denied a department chair position - but suffice to say some professors were worried about coming off as politically incorrect in a story about political correctness.

We found a lot of genuine academic debate is stifled out of fear and it's a problem that seems to be getting worse.

Does political correctness stem from an increasingly wimpy society, where too many individuals worry about hurting people's feelings? Or is it a problem caused by extreme left-leaning folk, whose dogmatic fight for "equality" has resulted in a perception that simple, honest opinion in the form of words is akin to physical assault. The answer is probably a blend.

Sensitive types would argue political correctness is important and professors should be restrained from making certain arguments because students have the right to not be offended.


There's a huge difference between making an intelligent argument that some people would disagree with and harassing those same people. That line has been blurred by closed-minded elitists who become so angered and repulsed by anything they disagree with that they want to literally forbid the speech.

Because those elitists are clustered at places like universities, the university itself has become a hotbed of censorship and hurt feelings. And the PC pendulum is still swinging in an unfavourable direction. Professors have the greatest job security in the world, but the pendulum is so strong and the PC atmosphere so dense that their security supplants the best part of their job and the best reason for students to go to university: to be able to truly examine and discuss what's important.




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