I was quoted pretty extensively in this morning’s Inside Higher Ed story on campus protests against Chick-Fil-A, and one of the nice things about being interviewed by a sharp journalist is that it prompts you to articulate things you wouldn’t ordinarily have occasion to say.
A lot of what I write is in response to specific circumstances, and for a particular audience, and because of all that some basic stuff often goes unspoken. Here’s an example from the IHE piece:
“Students feel a sense of ownership over, or citizenship in, the campus. They don’t see themselves as consumers of a product. [The Chick-Fil-A protesters are] responding out of that sense of community, that sense of obligation.”
The concept of students as consumers of a higher education product isn’t one that students came up with. It was invented by university administrators in the early 1970s as a way of blunting student demands for an active role in governance while meeting the administrative challenges posed by new consumer protection laws and the decline of in loco parentis. To the extent that it’s been adopted by students in the decades since, it’s only hesitantly, conditionally, and under duress.
That’s worth remembering.