When students effectively shut down the campus in the name of social justice last month at Philadelphia's Bryn Mawr College, the administrators effectively let them.
Bryn Mawr College, a small liberal arts school, a group of students introduced a strike, reportedly precipitated by the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., “to dismantle systemic oppression in the Bryn Mawr community.” It lasted for 16 days and ended with concessions from faculty to "address racism" and "increase diversity."
In fact, school president Kim Cassidy even thanked the students for the disruption.
“This strike has challenged us to face our history in new ways, to confront persistent institutional barriers to progress, and to commit to change,” Cassidy said in a statement to students. “Our way forward will require building new relationships and engaging in repair, even as we remember what members of the Core Strike Collective made clear: this is not a return to ‘normal.’ What was considered normal is unacceptable, given the harm it did to so many.”
A concerned mother of a Bryan Mawr student wrote a scathing and well-worth-your-time op-ed about the scandal over the weekend, under the pseudonym Minnie Doe.
As the parent of a Bryn Mawr student (and the parent of a Bryn Mawr alumna), I found this profoundly unsettling. I kept expecting that, at some point, the administration would take decisive steps to restore order on campus (where, as at Haverford, in-person learning was supposed to be occurring, under COVID-19 testing and social-distancing protocols). But that never happened. Instead, a small group of largely unidentified students effectively shut down the campus—not because their views attracted majority support (only about a quarter of the student body seemed to really be on board, from what I could tell), but because the administration simply never pushed back. (Quillette)
Doe later shared a glimpse of her personal past to argue why she has no empathy for anyone who is "apologizing to their tormentors."
This is a feminist women’s college, where one might think that administrators would be educated about the need to reject coercion, intimidation, and brute force as negotiating tactics. Yet here they were, apologizing to their tormentors. Having been married to an abusive husband, I’m sadly familiar with the temptation to justify one’s own abuse by insisting that the problem “must be me.” I never thought I’d see that same attitude exhibited by the women charged with educating my daughter.
She goes on to recall several instances that proved the strikers didn't want to have real, productive conversations - but only to "showcase their claim to moral leadership."
Doe found solidarity with some fellow mothers and high profile figures. Media personality Megyn Kelly, for instance, explained why she too has "zero sympathy" for the school officials.
I have zero sympathy for the schools that bow to these mobs. They get what they deserve to get. Grow a spine.— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) December 27, 2020
And btw, again, if you are a fed-up student or parent or teacher at such a place, GET A LAWYER. What these students (& colleges) are doing is NOT LAWFUL. https://t.co/wvQHvaBPsw
"These children will continue to protest and demand things be done their way. IF they actually make it to the adult world, they will whine and complain their problems are someone else's fault. And why do we tolerate this type of behaviour?" wrote Twitter user Kimberly Poisso.
The Twitter user "War Machine" had a similarly dire take on higher education: "It seems that college has degraded to an adult daycare. Learning has been relegated to an unimportant consideration."
In her op-ed, Doe could only empathize with the rest of the student body.
"As for the majority of students who came to Bryn Mawr to actually receive an education that goes beyond anti-racist bromides, they’re out of luck," she writes.