Here’s the conversation I wish I’d had with my daughter:
“Honey, remember how you hated it when your father was a student and you had to share a room with your brother? How you worried that he was watching you dress? Hang on to that feeling – it’s called common sense modesty. It’s a good warning signal, and it will keep you safe.”
Here’s the conversation my friend wishes she’d had with her son:
“Sweetheart, forget everything I taught you about being a gentleman. Protect yourself and forget about your women friends. Leave them to the campus escort service. Leave them to the campus police.”
Here’s what happened to my daughter:
Over the course of four years, the campus culture taught her that there were no differences between men and women. She learned that men and women were interchangeable. In due time, she found herself – involuntarily, and in violation of the terms of the university’s policy and her housing contract – sharing a quad bedroom with one other young woman and two male roommates in the latest campus rooming arrangement: “gender neutral housing”. But she wasn’t upset; “It’s not a big deal, Mom,” she told me. She doesn’t understand why her father and I are angry at the university, which gave us no opportunity to discuss the issue with her. Which failed to post the policy on their “parent” page on housing. Which failed to warn parents that their policy had changed to allow this travesty of sensible rooming arrangements in order to better accommodate their transsexual students. Which failed to enforce the limitations on the policy it had created. But then, she had already taken advantage of our ignorance to choose a dorm where she knew enforcement of housing policies was nonexistent. We learned a lot about Stanford housing arrangements after the fact.
Here’s what happened to my friend’s son:
One night at the end of his sophomore year, he was at a party. A woman friend and her roommate were out late, and he volunteered to escort them home, for safety’s sake. At their dorm, he found himself too tired (or otherwise under the weather) to return to his own dorm. The friend’s roommate offered him her bed. He climbed in and fell asleep, he says, until morning. In the night – and I still find this astonishing – the young woman climbed into bed with him. According to her, he reached over. She admits that he “might have been asleep.” She told him “no,” removed his hand, and nothing further happened. Back in the day, this would have been a feminist’s dream response. But no more. The young woman reported him to the university, which expelled him after a process in which hundreds of students have been found guilty of violating campus policies, but not one – not a single one – has been exonerated. After much effort and expense by his parents, he was allowed to continue his studies. He may not room on campus, and he may only be present on campus to attend classes.
I wish I had a good solution to offer other parents. Perhaps you should read the campus paper every day. That would have told us about the proposed policy, although only an insider’s awareness would have told us that Stanford would have no interest in enforcing its policy in certain dorms. Perhaps you should research the campus disciplinary procedures. That would have told my friend about the kangaroo court her son would face, although nothing but experience would have told her that young women now climb into bed with their roommates’ friends expecting no consequences.
My daughter is at a “prestigious” school; my friend’s son is at a large state university. Others have told us their solutions: trust what you’ve taught your kids (well, we both did that); send them to a military academy; send them to a technical school, where students are too busy for this post-modern nonsense; send them to a religious college; require that they live at home. The reality is that college is a gamble: some few will graduate with their moral values intact. Many more will spend years discarding and rebuilding after the ruin left by the moral values of the colleges and universities they attended.
I am not sure what educational course we will follow with our other children. But one thing we will make clear: the college may link attendance with our payments, but we will link our payments (and our cooperation concerning payments) to both the college’s policies and to our children’s behavior. We will no longer pay for higher education to reshape our children’s moral landscape.
Here’s what the students learn: all students are equal, but some students are more equal than others. Women are stripped of modesty and common sense. Men are threatened with (and given) draconian punishments, so that they will not respond normally to immodest behavior – and remember, I’m not talking about rape. These are the moral lessons of the modern university. Consider them carefully when you’re putting down that deposit this week.