by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Elite colleges aren’t designed for critical thinking or open inquiry anymore. According to Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post, “A fifth of undergrads now say it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes ‘offensive and hurtful statements.’”
The same survey indicates that about four in every ten students believes the First Amendment does not allow “hate speech.” Meanwhile, even at elite colleges like the liberal arts school Pomona, nearly 90 percent of students say their campus climate chills speech because they fear saying things others might find offensive.
Those illiberal trends are bad enough on their own, but the format of college also makes little sense. Its incentives are poorly aligned with what is valued in the workplace. Students are incentivized to be obedient and compliant, not to set themselves apart from the pack. Many college students end up slinging impressive-sounding extracurriculars together that any hiring manager can easily see through. Mastery of a skill, and understanding what will be valued in the marketplace, fall by the wayside.
Too often, college is merely a signal students use to show bare minimum competence to employers. But is that signal still valuable as college becomes more about leftist indoctrination, coddling, and delayed adulthood?