President Obama condemned the rash of liberal political correctness seen recently in American colleges Monday, saying "that's not the way we learn" and that college students shouldn't be "coddled and protected from different points of view."
Speaking at a town hall in Iowa about affordable college education, Obama launched into his remarks after a question about Dr. Ben Carson's proposal to stop government funding to schools with political biases. Obama slammed Carson's idea, but he segued into his criticism of left-wing intolerance for opposing viewpoints that have popped up on campuses around the country.
"Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal, and maybe even agree with me on a bunch of issues, who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side, and that’s a problem too," Obama said. "I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women.
"And you know, I've got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. You know, I think you should be able to—anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, ‘You can’t come because I'm too sensitive to hear what you have to say.’ That’s not the way we learn either."
The examples of what Obama was talking about are endless: "Trigger warnings" for course readings that could be anguish-inducing, angry demands that conservative speakers not be allowed to give talks on campuses, an attempt at the University of Michigan to ban American Sniper from being shown because it made students feel "unsafe," a "safe space" with coloring books and videos of puppies at Brown for students unable to handle a debate on sexual assault, and an online forum at Oberlin for students to report "microaggressions," a term for subtle ways some students may feel marginalized by others.
A UCLA professor was accused of such a microaggression recently for correcting grammar on his students' papers.