|by Eleanor Taylor for the New York Times|
The crux of the argument expressed in the piece seems to be that in an over-medicalized, over-protective culture, students today are perfectly content to sacrifice free speech and independent thought so that they do not ever risk the danger of being "discomfited" or, gasp, "distressed."
Writes Shulevitz, "It is disconcerting to see students clamor for a kind of intrusive supervision that would have outraged students a few generations ago. But those were hardier souls. Now students' needs are anticipated by a small army of service professionals --- mental health counselors, student-life deans and the like."
The boomers, they were so tough, so resilient, so revolutionary. Oh, that trope again. Nostalgia much?
As a faculty member at a state university, I am all too familiar with the army of service professionals of whom she speaks. Do they bureaucratize campus life? Yes. Do they endeavor to homogenize experience to the point of blunting it? Maybe. They also find housing for the kid sleeping in his car, connect students living in situations where they are being abused to resources that help them get out, help with emergency loans and enable students to avoid dropping out of college with a load of debt and nothing to show for it when times get hard and students fall off the rails. They are not only on campuses to protect their own jobs. They actually, you know, do things.