Is UW-La Crosse in a Panic?

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UW-La Crosse Dean of Students Paula Knudson drastically overreacted to a confederate flag on a semi truck on campus. This was the topic of my latest column over at Right Wisconsin.

Knudson’s email to the campus apologizing for the flag, which was an enterprise undertaken by her evidently on her own, is how campus administrators proactively tackle controversies these days. I make the argument that Knudson, who I got to know well as the editor of the campus newspaper at UW-L, is a very nice and level-headed person who was paranoid that the campus was about to erupt in a zombie apocalypse over a flag symbolized on the grille of a semi truck.

I don’t think the events were the result of Knudson’s ideology. Granted, she is almost certainly a liberal. I don’t even know – which helps make my case. I was a conservative editor of the student paper, and she knew it. But she was not the type to operate professionally based on her personal ideology. Her decision to use the language she used in two campus-wide emails, invoking feelings of being threatened and of the pain, hurt, and angst caused by the semi truck confeddy, was attacked widely in conservative media and social media.

But I don’t think she should be personally attacked. Her decision was a quasi-rational overreaction to the potential of an uprising by politically correct, thin skinned, blithering ninny students who should be kept in a padded room rather than allowed in the erstwhile diverse environment of a college campus.

Administrators should stop infantilizing students, because the vast majority are level-headed young people just looking to get the education they paid for and have a good time. These students need to stand up – as many at UW-L did – both in defense of free speech and sanity.

As Chancellor Joe Gow advised the Student Senate when anti-abortion protesters brought graphic images of dead babies on posterboards to campus, it’s their right, and it’s best to err on the side of free speech.

I agree.

Whole thing here.

About the writer: Chris Rochester is editor in chief of Morning Martini. He’s a communication specialist with experience in the private sector and on various campaigns. He's the communications director for the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy. Commentary here is strictly his own.