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Jonathan Haidt on How Universities Foment Student Radicalism

“Their goal is to shape incoming students to be warriors for social justice”

Most of our “DVD extras” are paywalled, but we’re making this one available to everyone. In it, Jonathan Haidt touches on the role universities, specifically administrators, play in encouraging students to think in binary terms, to see the world as battle between good and evil. 

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Jon references the work of Samuel Abrams, a professor at Sarah Lawrence College. Abrams conducted a national survey of college administrators who work directly with students. He found that “liberal staff members outnumber their conservative counterparts by the astonishing ratio of 12-to-one.” 

That makes administrators the most left-lopsided group on campus, and it explains what Abrams observed on his campus:

[The] Office of Student Affairs, which oversees a wide array of issues including student diversity and residence life, was organizing many overtly progressive events — programs with names like “Stay Healthy, Stay Woke,” “Microaggressions” and “Understanding White Privilege” — without offering any programming that offered a meaningful ideological alternative. These events were conducted outside the classroom, in the students’ social and recreational spaces.

In the DVD extra, Jon goes on to point out how the “common humanity” approach employed by leaders like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela can counteract “Us vs. Them” thinking.


Check out past DVD Extras: