My favorite demand was that along with everything they wanted the university to do for them, they wanted to get away with disrupting the university enterprise. You can’t have your tantrum and snacktime too. Any kid in daycare knows that.
But I overall agree, with Bialik… Rob Barham mostly gets it though he has not much of a problem making the students politics everyones politics and thinking that disrupting small class sections are an alternative to big lecture halls since they have lower impact.
The students lived up to the worst stereotypes of bratty college students: petulant knowitalls who want the university to revolve around *their* pet issues and for the administration and faculty (and fellow students) to get out and push to make it happen. Not fair? You might say that, but they had their drama and alienated the wrong people — like their fellow students and faculty who are there to learn and teach.
Worse still, they drove a wedge that puts the faculty in the same corner as the administration. We get nasty when a fellow colleague holds a classroom for longer than halfway through the between-class pottybreaks and they had the gall to expect us to smile as they something even worse? This sort of thing puts back faculty-student relations typically just in time for them to work together on a real issue close to home.
And that’s before you take the toxicity of big-P politics into the game. Wanting local minority scholarships is one thing or to get the cafeteria to stop serving “veggie puffs”. Taking over part of the school to make your politics the school’s politics and then expect the perks of academic freedom (like the no repercussions I mention above) is like stealing school papers when you disagree with an editorial, lighting them on fire, and saying you’re exercising free speech. And these protesters burned off almost all of their karma with that stunt… and in doing so, jeopardized student activism in the near future no matter how sober and professional its expression and no matter how important it is to the university community’s interest.
Add to that, Fred, that these poseurs likely hold MLK and Rosa Parks and others who participated in real civil disobedience (and did jail time) in high regard. But it’s just not their thing and in doing so insult their sacrifices.
This throwing a tantrum and having snack-time also perpetuates yet another negative stereotype of the modern college student (and some profs!) that college is a place to go to defer growing up.