The president of a university located in Oklahoma has decided to push back against recent student protests by criticizing “self-absorbed and narcissistic” college students in an editorial written on the school’s website.
In a post titled “This Is Not A Day Care. It’s A University!” Dr. Everett Piper told students at Oklahoma Wesleyan University that they should not consider the campus to be a “safe place,” but rather, a place to “learn that life isn’t about you.”
Piper gave the example of a student who came to him last week after a university chapel service that left him feeling “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of love, because he then felt bad for not showing love himself. He believed the speaker should not have made him feel uncomfortable.
“Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic,” he wrote. “Any time their feelings are hurt, they are victims! Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them ‘feel bad’ about themselves, is a ‘hater,’ a ‘bigot,’ an ‘oppressor,’ and a ‘victimizer.’
According to a recent Pew Research Poll, 40% of millennials believe there should be a crackdown on offensive speech. However, Piper suggests that this could create a larger problem that would extend beyond college campuses, asking “Do we want ideological fascism or do we want intellectual freedom and academic freedom?” His editorial suggests that right now, student protests seem to advocate that everyone must agree or they will be silenced.
There are many like Piper who believe college students are “overindulged hothouse flowers who will wilt” when faced with reality. That view has come as a result of student protests occurring across the nation, which started at the University of Missouri when students garnered enough support to cause the president of the university system and the chancellor of the flagship campus to resign.
Although a number of these protests are based on racial issues occurring on campus, students at other campuses have begun to protest a whole host of offenses large and small, writes Maureen Downey for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
While some, including Todd Starnes of Fox News, stand in support of Piper, with Starnes writing that there should be more academic leaders like him, others such as Bruce Shapiro believe students deserve respect and support. Writing in The Nation, Shapiro stated that students were not looking for protection. Instead, he says, people should be free to express their opinions and feelings in order to create a “contentious and challenging conversation.”
Located in Bartsville, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Wesleyan University enrolls close to 1,200 students and offers over 35 majors.
Piper has written editorials in the past for the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise newspaper expressing his views against transgender activism, and offering support for Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who refused to sign same-sex marriage certificates.