05 February 2016

He Said It: Hatch

Here is Nathan O. Hatch, president of Wake Forest University, in the Spring 2016 issue of Wake Forest Magazine:

"That was an age [the 1970s] in which students tried to generate controversy and the resisters were patrons of the University. The whole climate on campuses today is markedly different. You can see the developments examined in major articles such as 'The Coddling of the American Mind' in The Atlantic and Todd Gitlin's 'You Are Here to Be Disturbed' in The Chronicle of Higher Education, which laments 'a plague of hypersensitivity.'

"Today, students are much more sensitive. That's one major difference between now and the 1970s. In my view, a university is a place of ideas, and, as a student, you should be disturbed. You should confront differences. College should not conform to your expectations. We talk nationally about trigger warnings about anything that is uncomfortable. We need to return to the university as a place for the free exchange of ideas.

"We want to make this a place where people can disagree but do so with great respect. We have not had blatant attempts on either side to limit speech, but one can see the climate nationally where people have a harder time hearing, listening to and even imaginatively empathizing with those different from them. We need a panoply of speakers across the spectrum. We will have very progressive speakers and very conservative speakers. That's good and healthy. Campus should be that way.

"At Wake Forest, our values are unwavering: we stand for freedom of expression, serious intellectual engagement and building a community in which the art of conversation is paramount." 

Well said, Sir. 

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