It has become abundantly clear in recent years that becoming a Social Justice Warrior (SJW) is bad for your health. But recent developments in north America suggest that it is also very bad for your bottom line.
It is now three years since the University of Missouri underwent a prominent bout of SJW-itis. On that occasion various students at the university demanded that the college President should resign, acknowledge his ‘white male privilege’ and henceforth organise both faculty and staff along strictly racialist lines. Instead of telling these students who the grown-ups were, and where to go, the university authorities repeatedly bowed to radical student pressure. During the ensuing protests, reporters were harassed by students and university employees. And in an incident that was soon seen around the world, assistant professor, Melissa Click memorably called for ‘some muscle over here’ to help her physically eject a reporter who was trying to report on the student and faculty temper-tantrum.
Clearly after seeing these scenes a lot of parents in the state of Missouri decided that it wasn’t worth re-mortgaging the house in order to make their children dumber. And so over the last two years the University of Missouri lost a third of its freshmen. It has had to shut down a number of dorms and has already had to lay off dozens of employees, with more redundancies likely to come. It turned out that the University of Missouri did indeed need some muscle, and that it was required to carry out the belongings of staff they were forced to let go.
Fast-forward to the spring of last year and it was another American campus – Evergreen State College – that was making international news. This was the campus that was meant to have a day when all white people were ordered off the university’s property, ostensibly to make some point about historic racism. Recognising that ordering people where to go based on skin-pigmentation might be said to be the epitome of racism, one left-wing professor – Bret Weinstein – refused to comply with the demands of the racial segregationists. As a result both he and his wife were forced to retreat from the campus for their own safety. While students rampaged, faculty and officials remained silent or acquiesced in the intimidation of the couple. So the first glimpse of Evergreen for most of the world was of a place where the most thuggish students could dictate whatever rules they wanted to supine college authorities who were begging the students for mercy (and on one memorable occasion begging permission to use the bathroom). Weinstein and his wife – who were among the most popular and respected professors at Evergreen – subsequently agreed to a settlement and left the employ of the university.
But yet again it turns out that advertising to the world that you believe in racial segregation and obedience to the loudest common denominator turns out not to be good for business. In the wake of the Weinstein affair there has already been a 5 per cent enrolment decrease at Evergreen in the current academic year. And the university authorities are now predicting a further fall in enrolment of almost 20 per cent in their 2018/19 intake.
Certainly the behaviour of many students and faculty at Evergreen was so appalling throughout last year’s events that it can hardly be surprising if students and their parents, having looked once at the institution, then looked away.
And now yet another university that suffered from a prominent bout of SJW disease has also begun to pay for its vice. As I noted here at the time, until last November, Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario was hardly an internationally recognised institution. Indeed until last November few enough Canadians had heard of the college. But then there was the Lindsay Shepherd affair, when a bright young graduate teaching assistant got hauled in front of a university inquisition for treading into the gender neutral pronouns debate that has strangely rocked modern Canada. Shepherd smartly recorded and released her resulting interrogation, after which it became clear that the people in charge at Wilfrid Laurier University had a level of intelligence and comprehension only slightly above that of the average beermat.
The exchange included a tearful Shepherd arguing that in a university ‘all perspectives are valid’, only for one of her interrogators to let slip the truth of life at Wilfrid Laurier by saying, ‘That’s not necessarily true.’
Once again, if you were a sane prospective student or a parent who had saved to send your child to college, it was not obvious that Wilfrid Laurier was best equipped to prepare students for the rigours of working life. Or indeed life, period. Though there are, for the time-being, still some roles for ‘gender-policy enforcement officers’ and the like, the wiser type of parent and offspring is clearly able to recognise that there won’t always be a future for people trained solely for such roles.
Now it has become clear that Wilfrid Laurier’s time in the limelight has also had results precisely like those that have affected the University of Missouri and Evergreen State. New enrolment figures show that while university admission confirmations have risen by 0.3 per cent across Ontario as a whole, at the province’s most notorious university – Wilfrid Laurier – admission confirmations (as of this month) are down 15.2 per cent on this time last year. And first-place choices for Wilfrid Laurier are down 12.5 per cent. As one of the few adults at Wilfrid Laurier – professor David Haskell – wryly put it:
“‘We practice hard-line, leftist indoctrination’ seems to have failed as a marketing strategy.’”
We have heard a lot about campus craziness in recent years. We have watched – and chronicled – the Stepford students take over, and we have watched repeatedly as the adults have either joined them, departed the room or hidden under their duvets. But perhaps now we are finally seeing a change in that trend. That is the positive assertion, led by students and parents, that the best cure for SJWs is not just to mock them or expose them, but to deliver them something that is purest garlic to them. The sweet competition of a genuinely free market.