Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Riot at the Mall

Here are Seattle Central Community College students surrounding a military recruiter back in February. Apparently, the mob then "hurled insults and water bottles, according to witnesses, forcing the recruiters to flee under the protection of campus security officers." Dandy.

The school has tried to atone for the situation by demanding that a campus anti-war group, who denies any involvement with the mob scene, write an apology letter. I'm not sure if the group would be expected to apologize for the apparent lack of security on campus. Or, should they apologize for everyone who opposes the war? The school has since realized that this idea was pretty stupid and backed down.

Should the school support "free speech"? Sure. Should that include mob violence? Of course not. But, it is deeply sad that college students have the chance to express themselves and this is all they are capable of. How long until they are demanding their right to fling their own feces?

As for the recruiters being on campus, I don't really understand why campuses should allow so much hucksterism in the first place. Why should the school bookstores put adverts in with the books? Why should the "food courts" have so many booths hawking sneakers and radio stations? Why should the athletes play sports in the "Nike Stadium"? Why should university-based science research be funded by companies like Pepsi or Nutrasweet?

I'm not convinced that "federal funds" should entitle the government access to student's email addresses, for example. But, I'm also not convinced that the problem isn't that we've allowed the money changers into the temple of learning. If you build a mall in the place of a university, it's hard to kick out one particular store.

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