If you’ve been part of any conversation about American higher education recently, you might have heard someone complain that colleges and universities are morphing from educators to babysitters.
Now, students at Dartmouth College are fighting back against the perceived shift. Leaders of the school’s student government delivered a scathing petition, signed by 1,200 students, demanding the administration to return to its mission of educating—not policing—students.
Dartmouth’s administrative staff has grown by thousands in recent decades to 3,500 today—despite faculty layoffs. According to the petitioners, this massive bureaucracy not only inflates their tuition costs, it takes an active role in censoring their speech. The petition elaborates:
Buoyed by the idea that the College should support exclusionary “safe spaces” that act as a barrier against uncomfortable ideas, administrators have assumed the role of paternalistic babysitters.
Do the Dartmouth students have a case? In the video below, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Director Catherine Sevcenko argues that people like the student government leaders at Dartmouth are part of noble tradition of people standing up to assert their right to express themselves.