Clemson University has become the first college in America to offer “campus-wide” availability of an anonymous app “to report misconduct and integrity issues.” While the new “rat on your fellow students at the push of a button” feature stokes entirely warranted fears of more Maoist cultural policing in the halls of higher education, the further infantilizing of young adults breaking free from parental apron strings also gives reason to shudder.
“RealResponse is a real-time reporting system, allowing the University to receive and address issues communicated via text messaging – a medium people already frequently use and trust,” an October Clemson news release stated. “The platform will enable officials to respond and engage with the texter while allowing the individual to remain anonymous at their discretion.”
The RealResponse app was originally designed for university athletic programs and in that regard can be said to possibly offer a genuine service considering the rampant corruption endemic in big-money college sports. But American university life is a woke petri dish; it was only to be expected that things wouldn’t stop there.
‘We’re Talking About It a Lot’
RealResponse, the company behind the device, appears keen on boosting a corrosive narrative that 18-21 year-olds on campus are helpless toddlers wholly unable to deal with life on their own. On Nov. 22, RealResponse offered a window into its view of American college students in 2022 with a tweet linking to a remarkable Time magazine article. “Over 60% of college students met the criteria for one or more mental health problems in 2020-21,” the tweet luridly asserted as fact. Dr. Connie Kassor, “a professor at Lawrence University, is pushing back by offering a class called ‘Doing Nothing’ in an effort to get students to relax and disconnect.”
Dr. Kassor is a Professor of Religious Studies at the Wisconsin liberal arts college. According to her school bio, she specializes in teaching “courses on Buddhist thought.”
The article stresses the angle that the majority of America’s college kids are mentally damaged. The 60% figure cited marks “a roughly 50% increase compared to 2013,” Time relates. A reported 50% increase in mental health problems in a nine-year span for a demographic comprised of millions of individuals from varied backgrounds. Is that really believable? Or is this another case of, when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail? Perhaps anticipating how dubious those numbers would appear, RealResponse tackled this question in a July interview with Texas A&M assistant athletic director Dr. Ryan Pittsinger. His theme: We are all in touch with our fragility now, and that is a good thing:
“People ask me all the time, ‘Do you think there are more mental health concerns now than 30 years ago?’ I think what’s happening is that we’re talking about it a lot. Back then, it was ‘Hey, dust it off and move on. Man up and let’s go.’ I think that created a lot of toxic masculinity and some other things that contributed to some mental health concerns. But now people are so much more willing to talk about it. This has always been happening. People have always experienced feelings – anxiety, fears of failure, feeling inferior. All that stuff is pretty normal. It’s just that we’re talking about it and illuminating so much more.”
Kassor says about her class, “This should tell us something about the current state of college students.” It may, but it says far more about those constantly telling them how weak and broken they are.
Is This College or Kindergarten?
“We had a dance professor come in and take students on a mindful walking activity,” Kassor exclaimed. “Everybody had to go outside for 30 minutes without looking at their phones, without talking to anybody. We’ve got somebody coming in to teach Tai Chi next week. We’re going to do some meditation. The course is titled ‘Doing Nothing,’ but we’re actually doing quite a bit.”
Again we return to the key point. Having smartphone-addicted young Americans walk around in the fresh air may indeed be a salutary endeavor. However, it should not be the role of a university to hold the hands of 18-year-olds and make them do it.
In October, a mother who raised two highly successful children penned an article for CNBC touching on this theme. “The more you trust your children to do things on their own, the more empowered they’ll be,” Esther Wojcicki wrote. “You can try this with all sorts of simple, everyday actions,” including “waking up: Have them set their own alarm” and “Getting dressed: Let them pick their own outfit.” She continued, “The idea is to teach [kids] how to cope with what life throws at them. One of the most important lessons I taught my daughters is that the only thing you can control is how you react to things.”
This very sensible woman is talking about children, yet American universities are doing the exact opposite with the burgeoning adults who come under their influence, telling them that they absolutely cannot be expected to deal with what life throws at them without an omnipresent safety net there to shield their every tentative step.
Stripping young adults of their personal agency under a guise of “concern” is a profoundly disempowering act. Keeping in mind the stridently leftist agenda that fires those in authority in higher education today, it is impossible not to suspect that this is a deliberate goal rather than the unfortunate result of some touchy-feely error in judgment.
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