College is where people are taught to fear speaking up, lest they be harassed by activists, maligned on line, called out by their professors, and even physically harmed. Colleges have become intimidation centers, where mobs shut down dissent. If this is the future of those who pay large sums to attend, what value is there in it? Why not just take a degree online? Why not just go to a trade school? Surely all this is on the minds of the parents that see the latest round of student-fueled insanity sweep across the educational landscape.
I think these fatalistic actions are signs of the end of the empire of collegic education; before an empire dies, it goes insane. What we are seeing is the collective freakout of the privileged who fear that a way of life is dying; largely, they are right.
Tuition is currently sky-high and enrollment is declining. The rise of online classes and the collective information hoard of the internet add further injury. Colleges and universities have come under increased scrutiny by states, who are feeling the effects of a long economic downturn. What happens when tuition no longer is affordable by most people? They will discover that they can get by without a college degree, much as they did in the years prior to World War II. Those currently in college fear an end to the respect, and the college administrators fete them because they fear the same thing. They are like two people adrift who cannot swim, and so out of desperation, they clutch one another.
It will be a retrenching, but not a rout; yet so tender are the larvae that run colleges, that any shrinking of the education system causes them to scream as though they were boiled in oil. They still will have a purpose – to produce STEM graduates, and not women’s studies majors, to teach computer science, and not Latino studies. Because they refuse to act wisely now, the adjustment will be harsh. Adjunct faculty will be cut loose. Campuses will be decommissioned. The public has already turned its back.
Education no longer no longer an effective rallying cry; along with “racism!” or “for the children”, such words belong to a dead worldview, a worldview that harnessed the American post-WWII boom until it choked it to death in glut of spending. Perhaps it will not all end like Detroit, but it will shrink. It will wither.
Keep protesting, children.
Keep encouraging the protests, administrative idiots.
Your world is in twilight, and the oncoming darkness is one you have summoned.