Ward of the State

In the United States, each state has at least one system of public-funded universities. As someone whose family suffered economically after the 2008 crash, I had thought it would be parsimonious to attend a state university. At the time, I leaned very left and found a home at one of the most liberal schools in New York. I’ve seen every flaw of the left up close and personal.

Students are passed on to the university by their parents and the school quickly moves to fill the void, carrying on the helicopter parenting usually administered to millennials. My generation, for the most part, grew up so pampered and tended to that they are ill-equipped to face any sort of discomfort or adversity.

Most students live on campus, in dormitories where they’re crammed into small rooms with one or two other people. Problems inevitably arise in such crowded circumstances. Who intervenes? Students that have been hired by the university to look after a section of the dorm hall. These resident assistants likely do not see themselves as an extension of the state but, nevertheless, that is essentially what they are. Every time there is a disagreement or grievance experienced by one of the students, they’re supposed to seek out an RA who does their duty and documents the incident. The students will do so because they have no sense of agency. They’ve never been afforded such a luxury. Our lives are open to complete strangers and the state. There is no privacy here.

Intervention by the state in personal affairs before they can be resolved by the original actors undermines agency in the personal lives of what ought to be adults. The guides that intervene cannot uphold any values because to do so would not be considered “inclusive” on a multicultural campus. They can’t teach morality or even tell a student that they’re wrong in any fashion unless they have breached some section of the code of conduct. All they can do is preach tolerance and acceptance or, in extreme cases, move one of the students into a new room.

It is a strange phenomenon to pledge to stand united under the American flag all twelve years of public school and then attend a state university that declares diversity as one of its core values. Diversity by its very nature cannot unify the student body and each member is subsequently left isolated in a population of thousands.

On a larger scale, the administration will send out emails to the student body that are clearly partisan. After the election of Donald Trump, the university released a statement expressing sympathy to the students and directed them to the school’s psychological health center and safe spaces. A number to a hotline was also linked in case anyone experienced a “hate crime” and that calling to report one will not affect their immigration status. Another released shortly thereafter stated that the university would actively oppose any motion by Trump to repeal the DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy first implemented by the Obama administration in June of 2012. That email mysteriously disappeared shortly thereafter.

The state (university) is there to mother, not correct. It becomes an enabler and will not correct bad behavior.

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