At a time when college students are coming in for sharp criticism and ridicule for some of the immature, even inane displays of emotion they have exhibited since the election of Donald Trump two weeks ago.

Reports of campus “coddling” by administrators and professors dispensing tissues and hot cocoa, cancelling exams, providing arts and crafts rooms with Play-Doh, and various coping “therapies” such as puppy petting and aromatherapy to help students deal with their disappointment.

Given the cocoon these parents imagined, built and raised their children in – complete with participation medals and ballgames with no winners so there are no losers, however, it may not necessarily be the fault of the students if they have been led to believe that real life would always be the safe space they seem to need to protect themselves from the unpleasantries of the adult world

In fact – it may be the adults at the college who are stifling the growth of the students they are charged with educating.

That certainly seems to be the case at Loyola University in Maryland Student where student government leaders were pressured to drop a senior party by a dean’s office and university administration more concerned with keeping applications high – and tuition checks rolling in – than in supporting the leadership of the senior class they will send out to the world next June.

At the core of the dispute was this year’s chosen theme for the annual senior party chosen by survey last year.

The university administration began contacting student government officers urging them to reconsider what it termed an “alienating, divisive and harmful” theme that was “against the university’s core values,” according to emails that were confirmed by the student leadership.

The university’s executive vice-president, Susan Donavan, emailed student government members: “I encourage you to reconsider this plan. We have made progress in providing a welcoming climate on campus and do we want to reverse that progress with a theme that divides us?”

Dean of Students, Sheilah Horton, also put the pressure on portrayed the student government as “insensitive” saying that the gala would “provide an opportunity for students to dress or behave in a way that offends or oppresses others.”

But the administration tipped its hand when Horton went on to note that the party theme might keep potential students from applying to Loyola in the future – and it was that fear of reduced attendance rolls that seems to have really been the motivation.

To its credit, the student government ignored the heavy-handed pressure and went ahead with the “offensive” party, which by all accounts was a success – there were no police calls and no ambulances, fire trucks or media camera crews by the end of the night.

No scenes from Animal House played out on the evening news.

So… what was the offensive theme that so concerned the university’s higher-ups?

It was, simply, an “America-themed” party, according to one student government officer, who asked to remain anonymous fearing retribution, adding, “It’s disgusting how people feel and see the word ‘America’ as something that is discriminatory.”

 

 

 

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