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A Creepy, Coercive Turn For Campus Protests

by Monica Showalter     •      Investors Business Daily

As campuses erupt with protests and the TV cameras pan the crowds, an informal survey among the IBD editorial board members finds that pretty much every college student we know of is so busy studying that he or she has no time for or interest in protesting, no matter what the cause. To the far left, schooled in Alinskyite coercion, that’s unacceptable.

Having gone to Columbia University myself, the vast majority of students seeking to mind their own business and complete their own courses of study, rather than spend time protesting, does have the ring of reality. The demanding workload in every department of the university — including journalism — leaves little choice.

The most vivid sight I recall while there was of computer rooms filled to the brim with engineering and other science students working on programs at night — that’s Friday night. It’s the same even today with the students we know in pharmacy, nursing, business, Chinese Studies or, kid you not, performance art. There’s just too much work to do, the penalties are high for not doing it, and the hothouse atmosphere is very competitive.

So it’s striking to see what’s become of Columbia, Dartmouth and other schools as movements such as Black Lives Matter gain media attention. At Columbia, kids are being coerced into joining protests whether they like it or not, as noted by Rick Moran, writing for the American Thinker.

At Dartmouth, it’s even worse — kids are being disturbed if they study, with in-your-face violent pushing, shoving and screaming right in the campus library. They aren’t being allowed to study even if they want to — the epitome of what Bob Tyrrell referred to as the left’s desire to “disturb the peace.”

It goes to show the hollowness of the various grievance-group protests gaining media steam on campus. Unable to persuade college students to join their “movement,” because most students have more important things to do, the campus radicals are now resorting to force in what Moran calls “totalitarianism” and campus “fascism.”

The forced march into the protest movement is not only redolent of the 1960s, where the unwilling “silent majority” was pressured into supporting assorted campus “movements.” It’s also a function of a campus culture that coddles these radicals and a White House that loudly encourages and legitimizes such groups.

We often look upon the university administrators who allow radicals to walk all over them as wretched weaklings, which they are. But the greater culpability is in the leadership at the top, which openly encourages the marauders. That’s some presidential leadership President Obama is showing — belying his stump speech language of “working hard” and “playing by the rules.”