One of the real benefits – and most important parts – of a post-secondary education is to be introduced to all kinds of different people who have different backgrounds, opinions and beliefs.
You can meet people from all around the world with diverse viewpoints and experiences, raised with values and mores that may directly oppose your own. And even if you might not agree with their opinions, they add valuable depth and insight when controversial issues are discussed in the classroom.
Unfortunately, over time those voices and opinions are becoming conspicuously suppressed as our colleges and universities have become increasingly politically-correct, and debates are sanitized to ensure that no one in attendance might possibly be offended.
According to a release issued Monday, Toronto’s Harris Institute (a music production school with approximately 80 students) has taken a stand against seeping political correctness in its classrooms, hallways and meeting rooms.
“I have experienced and followed with great concern the increasingly disruptive challenges post-secondary educators are facing with political correctness issues,” said John Harris, the college’s president. “In my view the most valuable aspect of post-secondary education is being undermined.”
“I have experienced and followed with great concern the increasingly disruptive challenges post-secondary educators are facing with political correctness issues. In my view the most valuable aspect of post-secondary education is being undermined.”
Starting on March 21, students at the school will be required to acknowledge in writing the school’s Rules of Civility, which state that students, faculty and staff who are found to have “shouted down an opposing view” can be placed on probation or dismissed.
Harris told Metro News that the policy was created in response to increased complaints from students about words and ideas being discussed in classrooms, including swearing and race issues.
“We’ve got courses that talk about hip-hop culture and rap culture and for some people those are sensitive areas in terms of racism, sexism, et cetera,” Harris said. The school teaches students about music production and management.
The Rules of Civility were created after months of consultation with staff and students and were unanimously approved, Harris said.
In the statement, two articles on political correctness in universities were highlighted: The Atlantic’s “The Coddling of the American Mind” and Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz’s “Universities Should Be Unsafe For Political Correctness.”
Beyond a solid education in a chosen field, learning the ability to listen to others who may not share your beliefs and developing the ability to think critically about different ideas and issues are critical by-products of a well-rounded post-secondary education.
One can only hope that the stance taken by the Harris Institute will be recognized and adopted by more of Ontario’s universities and colleges.