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Readers React: Telling college ‘crybullies’ to grow thicker skin

Students at Occidental College gather on campus on Nov. 20 after getting assurances from administrators that the school would address concerns about the mishandling of recent cases of racism and sexual assault.

Students at Occidental College gather on campus on Nov. 20 after getting assurances from administrators that the school would address concerns about the mishandling of recent cases of racism and sexual assault.

(Los Angeles Times)

These days, the kids aren’t all right.

That appears to be the assessment by most of our letter writers in reaction to protests against institutional racism and other injustices at college campuses across the country. As the uprisings that started at Yale and the University of Missouri spawned similar movements locally — at Claremont McKenna College, USC and Occidental College, among other campuses — readers’ letters have focused increasingly on the sensibilities of the student protesters and less on the substance of their complaints.

Some say these students should grow thicker skin; others warn of the potential consequences if the students get their way. Here are some of those letters.

Lisa Niedenthal of Los Angeles sees no benefit in giving in to student protesters:

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Protesting students are exercising their rights of free speech. However, these same students do not recognize the rights of those who disagree with them. Polls have suggested that roughly half of students in many universities favor speech codes and “trigger warnings” alerting them to issues that might offend their sensibilities.

Increasingly there is a totalitarian bent on university campuses, which have become a breeding ground for victimhood. Administrators lack the will to stand up to these tactics.

The real world is not so sanitized and safe. We are doing these young people no service to coddle them. They need to learn to stand up for themselves in debate, not shut down the opposition with demonization.

Protesting students are exercising their rights of free speech. However, these same students do not recognize the rights of those who disagree with them.

Lisa Niedenthal, Los Angeles

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Laguna Niguel resident Spencer Grant quotes Woody Allen:

College “crybullies” calling for cozy and non-threatening campuses at the expense of getting an education with the same fervor as Islamic State seeking a fatuous religious purity leave me thinking of Woody Allen’s witticism: “I have an intense desire to return to the womb. Anybody’s.”

Jim Woodard of Woodland Hills recalls the insults of his childhood:

Many decades ago when I was a kid, my friends and I used to insult each other regularly about looks, clothes, misstatements and even our mothers. Miraculously, we escaped permanent psychological scarring.

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We were unaware of the advantage of being a victim, which absolves one of responsibility for many of one’s actions.

Granada Hills resident Sylvia Alloway encourages students to “deal with it”:

A story is told of Booker T. Washington in which he once hailed a horse-drawn cab but the white driver refused to take him. Washington did not scream “racism.” Rather, he told the man that he would drive.

The world will never be free from prejudice. The greatest and strongest of oppressed people do not demand that all obstacles be removed from their way. They overcome and get on with the work.

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These students are privileged to be in college. Protesting petty language mistakes is taking time away from their studies. Let them deal with it, as they will have to in the real world.

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