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From UC Berkeley to Columbia: University protestors more worried about themselves
Correct Dennis Wyatt mug 2022
Dennis Wyatt

Read the demands:

• Amnesty for student protestors.

• No impact on their grades.

• The right to take final exams.

• Not being barred from classes or campus.

• Assurances financial aid won’t be cut off.

• A guarantee they can still graduate.

• And, oh yes, divest from firms doing business with Israel.

Welcome to the Me Generation 2.0.

The college campus protestor, lite version.

Less personal sacrifice.

More self-fulfilling.

And more about “them” than ever before.

They hold their demands to change the world as they have preordained it to be changed as a badge of self-righteousness.

They keep their faces covered.

They demand an absolute right to exercise their free speech at the expense of all rights of others.

It’s George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” on steroids with a CliffsNotes version of “1984” with more intense irony and double talk in the “2024” sequel.

This is not to dismiss the issues at hand. It’s to point out the clear truth. They are not as invested in their beliefs as they let on. Rather, they are acting more like a flash mob, making sure they can hold onto their Starbucks lattes and keep comfortable while negotiating to keep their future earning power intact that the modern replacement of a sheepskin supposedly guarantees them.

They use the education they are getting on someone else’s dime to share with the world robotic chants instead of meaningful dialogue rooted in a desire to actually secure lasting change as opposed to the fleeting state that comes from trying to force others to unconditionally meet their demands.

We are told the fact that they might be held accountable for their actions and that the justice system and college bureaucracy not granting them instant amnesty and making them wait for a ruling as if they have a right to go the head of a line at a DMV office as “feeling very dystopian.”

If they want a true sense of injustice, maybe they might want to check in on the supply chain of Third World miners and workers that make their smartphones and X-Boxes possible.

Or maybe they might try to access a college education without financial aid, relying on minimum-wage jobs instead of from whatever elitist privilege that may have opened the door to their post-secondary education on their own terms.

And while they are at it, they should put taxpayers on notice that their expectation that the financial aid they want protected also ultimately comes with a guarantee it will be forgiven.

We are told there are rewards beyond better paychecks for a college education. It’s too bad one of those rewards today is no longer learning to have an open mind, let alone an open heart. If it did, they wouldn’t so blatantly disregard the responsibilities rooted in the one constitutional amendment they constantly flash as a proverbial get-out-of-jail-free-card anytime they are called on the carpet for asserting the “Orwellian pigs’” free speech double-speak credo that all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

How they twist the First Amendment is no different than those that contort the Second Amendment “right to bear arms” to be so absolute that it includes building your own personal armory of 1,001 automatic weapons you can fire when and where you want, as well as the right to own a Patriot missile or two.

The Constitution wasn’t written in a vacuum. It was written in the context of civilization. One’s right can’t run absolutely roughshod over others in order for civilization to work.

Shutting down a freeway is not free speech. It is making your right to do whatever you want to impede the rights of others to move about freely in a lawful manner that takes the need for civilized — not subservient — behavior into account.

Your right to free speech is not carte blanche. And it certainly means others have a right not to listen.

It’s pretty hard for them not to listen if you take over the Golden Gate Bridge or disrupt a college setting so much it impacts the ability of others to access an education or share their views that don’t align perfectly with your own.

It’s a small price for others, we are told, to pay so they can hear “our truth.”

Yet the second they face consequences for their wanton disregard for others’ rights, the truth comes out.

They — and I apologize for the flippant use of the term — want their mommies. They do not want to pay any price for the means they used to disrupt the educational process, the free movement of goods and people, the exercise of others’ free speech or freedom of religion, or even threatening the safety of others though festering and encouraging mob mentality actions.

Worse yet, those adults in charge — whether they are college administrators, district attorneys, politicians, taking media heads, or even judges — seem to be hell-bent to make sure even the most trivial “criminal”  charge of trespassing doesn’t mar the “records” of protestors who they cloth in bubble wrap so they don’t skin their futures.

The bottom line of all the negotiations to remove illegal college encampments now going on between $400,000 a year administrators and those in a position to access $68,000 a year educational opportunities designed to assure they won’t need to rely on $20 per hour jobs at McDonald’s?

The issue is, as an Associated Press reporter wrote so succinctly wrote, “whether universities and law enforcement will clear the charges and withhold other consequences, or whether the suspensions and legal records will follow students into their adult lives.”

Sorry, college isn’t an extension of childhood. It is, contrary to what many claim, the real world. They are 18 and are therefore adults under the eyes of society. As adults, their actions have consequences.

Welcome to the real world they demand to inflict their will on.

Maybe it’s time we slip back into our childhood and act like college protestors who embrace myopic views or see the world as endless silos where there is no interaction between issues or people, for that matter, that disrupt the fragile cocoon they have wrapped themselves in.

Perhaps we need to demand that the state and federal government divest from institutions of higher learning that are more worried about the demands of a few pseudo adults than making sure colleges educate and not placate.

—  This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Courier or 209 Multimedia. He may be reached at