Nothing has changed on America’s campuses.
Frances Fox Piven. You’ve probably heard that name before. She’s the aging leftist “academic” who called for Greek-style “strikes and riots” here in America. She’s advocated overloading the state and federal welfare programs to accelerate the fall of capitalism. She’s a proud admirer of Karl Marx and an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America … and that’s all before lunchtime.
Naturally, she’s also a college professor in New York City. So to maintain “solidarity” with her underworked and overpaid professoriate brethren, Piven also hits the college speaking circuit.
Just last week, Piven was a guest speaker at Messiah College, as part of the school’s American Democracy Lecture series. As one would expect, she used the occasion to prove her leftist bona fides by calling the Tea Party racist, compared the Occupy Wall Street temper tantrum to the Civil Rights Movement, reaffirmed her dreams of seeing mass rioting in the United States, and even went as far as to say that “riots are what poor people do when they get together.”
Great way to boost the image of those you claim to champion, Frances: Liken them to barbarians!
But here’s where the story gets good.
There was supposed to be a conservative speaker tonight at the school to counter Piven’s intemperate views. The talk, “Why I Love Rich People (And You Should Too),” was the type of counterbalance needed after giving Piven two uninterrupted hours with the small Pennsylvania college’s student body. That’s what the College Republicans thought anyway.
But a strange thing happened from when Piven’s lecture concluded to when the conservative was supposed to take stage: Professors at Messiah pressured the College Republicans chapter to rescind the invitation two days before the event was supposed to transpire. Why? Because the conservative speaker was deemed too controversial.
We kid you not.
The main culprit was history Prof. James LaGrand, who advises the College Republicans. He twisted their arms to retract the invite, claiming that the speaker’s recent comments were “problematic.” On the surface it may seem odd that a self-professed Christian school would be hostile to the presentation of conservative ideas, but that’s nothing unusual for Messiah. Students and alum tell us that teachers there preach “social justice” (read: socialism) as though it were gospel, which is why when the president of the College Republicans told us on Saturday evening that LaGrand wanted their forum canceled, we believed him.
We have a keen interest in this “person” who was allegedly “problematic.” He’s our editor, Jason Mattera. LaGrand found the “evidence” he needed to advance his nasty crusade after he read student news clippings of one of Mattera’s recent speeches at Kalamazoo College, in which the hysterical campus liberals did what they do best: Accused a conservative of hating blacks, Latinos, gays, and whoever else is the aggrieved group of the week on the Left.
Exposing Obama’s failed policies that hurt all Americans, but minorities the hardest is raaaaaaaaaaaacist. (Did we put enough As in?)
The Kalamazoo libs also got their tighty-whities in a knot after Mattera told one guy during the Q&A portion to stop acting like a teenage girl hitting puberty. Mattera’s from Brooklyn, so his style isn’t for those with fragile emotions. Regardless, we’re talking about a college campus here, not a gathering of middle-school children who are restless for chocolate milk and dodgeball. In any event, you should’ve seen the Kalamazoo protester in person. He was an adult male dressed up as a zombie, nearly bawling his eyes out over the assertion that he mindlessly voted for Dear Leader.
In reality, Prof. LaGrand has never heard any of Mattera’s speeches. This self-appointed judge of “proper tone” based his decision on a couple of student newspaper articles packed with spelling errors (Conservative author and speaker “ingnites” heated debate and students “potested” Mattera, for instance). The fact that LaGrand would take those stories at face value makes us wonder about his own critical thinking skills, let alone those of the students he’s responsible for educating. When asked by HUMAN EVENTS whether he had ever heard Mattera’s talk at Kalamazoo for himself, LaGrand answered: “Whatever I could find online.”
What a scrapper, that LaGrand! Can’t fool him. The problem is that there is no recording of Mattera’s prepared remarks on the Internet. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Unless LaGrand is omniscient. If so, we seem to be dealing with a messianic complex.
To recap: Messiah College allows one of the most radical people on the planet to speak, a person who calls for armed revolution and the destruction of capitalism, but a conservative’s invitation is retracted because the speech police didn’t appreciate Mattera’s “tone” at another school.
Messiah’s spinelessness aside, school bureaucrats flat-out lied to their students and the community. When angry e-mails protesting Piven’s planned appearance came pouring in, Peter Kerry Powers, dean of Messiah’s humanities school, deflected criticism by telling the local paper that Piven’s talk “surely will be balanced” by… Jason Mattera.
Of course, Messiah can invite and disinvite whomever it wants. But that’s not the issue. Here we have another example from the world of academia in which conservative speakers are very unwelcome, while leftist ones are heralded as models of tolerance and diversity, even if they’re calling for the overthrow of the U.S. government. That’s acceptable. Indeed it’s encouraged.
But tell some pimply kid on campus dressed in a Halloween outfit who’s still waiting for Barack Obama to hand-deliver him strawberry-scented welfare checks that he needs to man-up? That brings out the ire of left-wingers for sure.
Parents who are thinking of sending their kids to Messiah College, take notice.
Alumni who repeatedly get letters and phone calls from Messiah’s fund-raising department, you too. The students there are being programmed to be politically correct drones.
Should the College Republicans have capitulated to Prof. LaGrand’s demands? No, of course not. But let them view this as a “teachable moment.” You can’t appease liberals. You must confront them.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter