Radicalism on Campus?

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryRecently, I had visited the campus of a technical college my wife is an alumnus of. Students went in and out for classes, school staff worked in various parts of the campus running the administration, and security was around in case there were any problems. About the only real problem was a baby skunk that had wondered on campus. Security got it back into the woods. There are about 2,000 full-time and part-time students enrolled, and at any one time there might be a few hundred students on campus in class or in the school library. When the weather is fair (usually late spring or early summer and fall) students can be seen walking on the outside campus grounds. Until about a year and a half ago, there were restrictions for both students and visitors due to the Covid pandemic, but those restrictions have since been lifted. Everything was pretty quiet when I visited.

What I did not see were protests, demonstrations or riots on campus. There certainly were no leftist, radical groups on campus pushing for Black Lives Matter, pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli confrontations, no women’s rights marches, and no civil disruptions of any kind. The students were there because they wanted to either get certification for a technical field or get a college degree. Whatever else was going on in the country or the world did not overall impact the personal lives of the students. The biggest two concerns for most students was tuition and being able to successfully complete their required classes (note: many of the students had jobs because their families cannot afford to pay the whole tuition). For most of the students at my wife’s alma mater, getting through college was the most important thing in their lives at this point.

I think what this all means is that the smaller four-year colleges and the technical colleges (usually two-year institutions) are NOT hotbeds of student radicalism, and protests and demonstrations, let alone violent ones, are extremely rare. The larger universities and well-known universities and elite colleges might be hotbeds of student radicalism, but many of these places are located in the larger metropolitan areas. Even then, they are only a minority of all the college students that are out there. The notion that most if not all students are being turned into radical protesters is nonsense. There are those who are, but in fact they only make-up a small percentage of the student body even in the larger and better known universities and elite colleges. The newsmedia more often than not focuses on the student protesters than on what students do in general. While some of the trends of student radicalism is disturbing, in my view most students are not involved. Like my wife when she was a student, most young people just want to get on with their lives. They want to get their certification or college degree to get a better job and live a better life. In my view, most college campuses are pretty peaceful even in this uncertain time.

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