Creating wimps at University of Maine

November 7, 2006

There is one thing we definitely do not need during a time of war: wimpy Americans. Unfortunately for students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI), the manly men that enroll as freshmen may graduate a pansy, due to the absurd campus atmosphere of political correctness.
 
As the Foundation for Rights in Education (FIRE) notes on their blog The Torch, UMPI has a remarkably foolish (and not to mention unconstitutional) anti-harassment rule. According to their handbook

Even if the harassment is unintentional (e.g., an off-hand comment or joke) it still occurs and will not be tolerated. Harassment is the violation of another’s rights; it could be related to sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, personal habits, or even to someone’s physique. It can be communicated by actions or in a verbal or written form. The right not to be harassed shall be guarded by the staff and should be honored by all students. 

This is a dangerous rule and even more dangerous definition of harassment. UMPI is attempting to create new rights that prohibit anyone from feeling uncomfortable – even by an off-hand, unintentional comment that doesn’t apply to them. This is part of a growing trend across the country.
 
As a college campus, the administration of UMPI wants to foster a friendly environment and that is certainly admirable. No one will want to attend a school that is rude and unfriendly (expect, perhaps, terrorists who like campuses with a little aggression). But this rule certainly goes too far, and by telling students that they have the right to be free of anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, it has serious implications.
 
How is this country supposed to fight a war on terror if our future leaders are indoctrinated with this loose definition of harassment? Can we be a safe country if we were to apply this new “right” to our national security?
 
Imagine this rule being applied on our nation’s border patrol officers. If a patrol officer sees, for example, a man that looks like a stereotypically dressed Muslim extremist crossing over our border with Mexico, it would be considered harassment to stop this intruder because the basis we stop him is related to his religion and personal habits (maybe he’s hanging around the border because he likes the weather there, right?).
 
Of course, that sounds like an irrational scenario. UMPI couldn’t possibly mean to expand their harassment rule to something so unreasonable, could they? They absolutely can.
 
UMPI prohibits comments that are “unintentional” as being an incident that “will not be tolerated.” So when a student jokingly says to someone “you run like a girl” and can be punished, it leaves little doubt that UMPI’s intent is to expand harassment rules so vastly that the rule is no longer about protecting people from actually being harassed, but to promote an atmosphere where no one is analyzed because of how they look (step over our border, Mr. Scary Looking Terrorist, we’re just being irrational to assume you mean our country harm) and no one is criticized for their actions (terrorists bomb us because they feel wronged by our country, we shouldn’t judge them!).
 
When these students are held to possible removal from a residence hall for breaking these rules, one must wonder if this will change their way of thinking about issues outside of their campus life. Will they bring with them into the real world this view that we shouldn’t offend potential enemies with our national security policies? (After all, not negotiating with terrorists is demeaning – these terrorists have feelings too, you know.) Should we lax our airport security guidelines? (After all, anyone acting suspicious in an airport can be questioned and possibly detained – what if it’s a “personal habit” to look anxious, scary, evil, etc.?)
 
The goal of this politically correct rule is to turn their students into wimps, so when they collect their diploma they can enter the real world with a smile on their face and not a single offensive thought in their head (even thoughts that are unintentionally offensive). And when our current leaders are to be replaced, we have to decide if we want someone in power who doesn’t mind ruffling some feathers in the name of protecting our countrymen, or someone who will be polite to the enemy that tries to attack us.
 

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Schools: University of Maine – Presque Isle