- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Grades are inherently unfair. And it takes time and effort to get an A. It’s time better spent protesting, standing up for what you believe in.

That’s what a group of students at Oberlin College apparently believe.

More than 1,300 students signed a petition to the school to eliminate grades lower than a C for the semester so they could divert their attention to their social justice causes, according to a profile in The New Yorker.

My question is: If their causes are so prolific, why do they care if they receive a C or lower? After all, they’re working for the greater good that can’t possibly be measured by a grade. Why do they care so much what they get, so long as they’re passing?

Or is it, they want to have time to protest — gather with their friends, perhaps smoke a little marijuana, bathe in pseudo-intellectualism — and still get those dean’s list grades that guarantees them entry into a top-flight law school.

“Students felt really unsupported in their endeavors to engage with the world outside Oberlin,” Megan Bautista told The New Yorker. Others said being arrested — a liability of protesting — infringes on their ability to do their homework, or prepare for their lessons, but those experiences shouldn’t be discounted. No, they should be valued more than what you learn in school books.

If that’s the case, these students should drop out of school and save their parents the $51,324 tuition it costs to attend Oberlin annually. Really learn from the school of hard knocks.

So far, Oberlin hasn’t capitulated to the student’s demands, but that doesn’t mean the idea isn’t raising in popularity.

According to Campus Reform, which first reported on the Oberlin students, pupil activists at Brown University issued similar complaints, saying their schoolwork was interfering with their social justice causes.

“These are people breaking down, dropping out of classes, and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” one Brown student told Campus Reform at the time. “My grades dropped dramatically. My health completely changed. I lost weight. I’m on antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills right now. Counselors called me. I had deans calling me to make sure I was OK.”

Godspeed, little snowflake. The true perils of activism in the world’s richest, freest democracy.

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