This article first appeared in New English Review
Wednesday night's riot at the University of California at Berkeley, which forced cancellation of yet another speaking appearance by conservative gay pundit Milo Yiannopoulos, is the final straw. It is now self-evident that the entire University of California administration from its president, Janet Napolitano down to its chancellors needs to be overhauled and replaced.
The UC system is far from being the only American university that has fallen into disrepair, but it may be the worst. To be fair, things were bad when Napolitano took over as president after screwing up the Department of Homeland Security, but under her weak leadership things have gone from terrible to worse.
This past year, I concluded an 18-year-career teaching English as a second language part-time in the UC Irvine Extension, of which I have nothing negative to say. During the past decade, however, I did have a few criticisms of the main campus administration, chiefly for their refusal to address the problem of anti-semitism on campus. That continues to be a problem system wide (as well as nation-wide). While Jewish college students across the nation continue to face anti-semitism and bullying at the hands of the pro-Palestinian crowd, the UC system has accumulated more than its share of complaints. Swastika's have appeared on several UC campuses and pro-Israel events have been disrupted by the brown shirts of Students for Justice in Palestine. In spite of numerous complaints from Jewish students and supporting groups like the AMCHA Initiative, Napolitano and her chancellors either deny the allegations or make cosmetic fixes, which solve nothing. Last year, after much work and struggle by the above groups and in the face of strong opposition, the UC regents passed a revised Statement of Principles Against Intolerance, which specifically addressed anti-semitism. It has proved to be nothing more than a scrap of paper sitting in their files.
In addition, the thuggish elements among the students-aided by professional outside agitators, have made a mockery of free speech when it comes to conservative points of view. What rules on the UC campuses are speech codes and silly notions of trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, and goofy new pronouns in place of traditional English words like she or he. If America's adversaries wanted to turn out an entire generation of uneducated and sniveling Americans, they could not have done any better than our current crop of educators.
Into all this mix arrived a previously obscure young man named Milo Yiannopoulos. A conservative gay man from Britain who works as a Breitbart educator, Yiannopoulos came up with a brilliant marketing shtick called "The Most Dangerous Faggot" tour as he travels from one university campus to another, usually sponsored by the College Republicans. His specialty is poking fun at political correctness as he insults one special interest group after another. Milo is now a rock star thanks to the anarchists and sensitive cupcakes of academia who do everything in their power to shut down his events. Prior to last night's riot at UCB, his appearance at UC Davis had to be cancelled at the last minute. (Just two weeks ago, while speaking at the University of Washington, one leftist from the "Industrial Workers of the World" decided to attack a pro-Trump/Yiannopoulos supporter during a mass protest outside the auditorium. He chose the wrong victim and wound up in the hospital with a gunshot wound. The shooter, who claimed self defense is as yet uncharged.) UCLA has now cancelled Yiannopoulos' Thursday night appearance. The term, "heckler's veto" is no longer sufficient to describe what is happening now. Free speech in our universities is a thing of the past.
It would be comforting to think that the governor, Jerry Brown, and the adults in California would step in and kick the whole bunch of UC leaders out, but then again, we are talking about Jerry Brown and California here. Help is hardly on the way. As it is, UCB Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, under fire for irregularities, is on his way out awaiting the naming of a successor. He has proven to be a feckless chancellor even having an escape hatch built into his office in case of student protests. No doubt he used it last night. In fact, no arrests have even been reported. Napolitano is now battling cancer. While I wish her a speedy recovery, this is an opportune time for her to declare victory and leave. The University of California, like so many other institutions of higher learning, is in bad shape. Unfortunately, changing a culture that has been building since the 1960s will take a long time. President Trump is now talking about taking federal funding away from UCB. I hope he does. Only when the money dries up will these people get the message that the party is coming to an end.