Radicals Repressing Radicals @ Reed

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

When campus radicals run out of conservatives or even moderates to use the heckler’s veto on, they turn their sights to other radicals deemed insufficiently radical. “At Reed College in Oregon, where I work, a group of students began protesting the required first-year humanities course a year ago,” Lucía Martínez Valdivia wrote in a column which appeared recently in The Washington Post. “Three times a week, students sat in the lecture space holding signs — many too obscene to be printed here — condemning the course and its faculty as white supremacists, as anti-black, as not open to dialogue and criticism, on the grounds that we continue to teach, among many other things, Aristotle and Plato.”

“In the interest of supporting dissent and the free exchange of ideas, the faculty and administration allowed this. Those who felt able to do so lectured surrounded by those signs for the better part of a year. I lectured, but dealt with physical anxiety — lack of sleep, nausea, loss of appetite, inability to focus — in the weeks leading up to my lecture. Instead of walking around or standing at the lectern, as I typically do, I sat as I tried to teach students how to read the poetry of Sappho. Inadvertently, I spoke more quietly, more timidly.”

Valdivia was an odd choice of target for the intimidating crowd. She self identifies as an “untenured, gay, mixed-race woman with PTSD.”