Pepper-spraying taxpayers: The college diversity boondoggle

The pepper-spray victims have been recounting their very real pain in media venues across the land. By now we get the point. But the melodrama showered on the Davis casualties is stoically restrained compared with the glamorization of the OWS movement both before and after the Davis fiasco. For once, student protesters spoke with impeccable accuracy when they called a post-pepper-spray encampment at UC Berkeley a “pajama party.” The only sacrifice incurred by students who sleep over in their college quads is having to forego widescreen TV; otherwise, they’re having a ball, not least because they are so certain of their moral superiority.

And here’s another reality check: American college campuses are not police states, pace UC Davis English professor Nathan Brown. (“The fact is,” he wrote in an online letter, “the administration of U.C. campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly.”) To the contrary, despite the presence of a few abysmally trained clunkers of campus guards, they are zones of maximal freedom (unless of course you challenge certain campus orthodoxies) and of privileged leisure and comfort, into which millions of striving Chinese and Indians are desperately seeking entry.

The Big Lie of the campus diversity industry has been that without constant monitoring by diversity bureaucrats, faculty and other administrators would discriminate against minority and female professors and students. In fact, anyone who has spent a day inside a university knows that the exact opposite is demonstrably the case: Hundreds of thousands of hours and dollars are wasted each year in the futile pursuit of the same inadequate pool of remotely qualified underrepresented minority and female applicants that every other campus in the country is chasing with as much desperate zeal. The hiring process has been thoroughly corrupted. Faculty applicants are brought onto campus who have no chance of being hired, either because the hiring committee incorrectly assumed from their names or résumés that they were the right sort of minority (East Asians don’t count) for a position set aside for just such a minority, or because, although they were the right sort of minority, their qualifications were so low that their only purpose in being interviewed was to fill an outreach quota.