Friday, May 29, 2015

From Paternalism to Maternalism sans Maternity

In 1966, the University of Georgia defeated the University of Florida in their annual football game in Jacksonville, and a friend of mine attended the game as a member of the Georgia Redcoat Marching Band.  When they returned to campus still jubilant after the long drive home to Athens, they had to telephone the dorm mistress to be let in the door.  In those days, if you came in late without excuse, there was an inquiry and possible consequences.

The practice of in loco parentis died on campus in the late 1960s and early 1970s due to court decisions determining that the students were adults and from the competition of colleges to have as few rules as possible.  Students in dormitories now largely govern themselves, for better and for worse.

Now we have bureaucratic nannies running campus life, and before long we might be looking for sweet old dorm mistresses to replace the residential life "experts" and their codes of conduct.

We used to presume that young women on college campuses (and to a lesser extent, young men) needed protection, and we of my baby-boomer generation were happy to get rid of any, if not all, rules.  If we won the battle, we likely still lost the war.  Campus administrators outnumber the teaching faculty on campus, and they are bringing back a perverted form of PC maternalism to replace the Victorian paternalism of yesterday.

The campus is becoming the most regulated place in America, and the students and faculty have little or no due process.  Free speech is cordoned off to some corner of the quad or student union.  See  "On Trigger Warnings" as published by the American Association of University Professors.