- - Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A sequel of sorts to the 1975 film, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” is playing out at the University of Maryland at College Park, where the inmates are threatening to take over the asylum. The cuckoo’s nest, which the movie set in Oregon, has been moved to College Park.

A coalition of 25 “progressive” student “activists have submitted to the university 64 demands, ranging in tint and tone from far left to very, very far left. The coalition says it represents the “Marginalized, American Indian, Black, Latinx (sic), LGBTQIA+, Muslim, Pro-Palestine, Undocumented.” (“Latinx” is an invented word with unique spelling to show that “Latinx” is dutifully “gender-neutral.”)

Unlike Nurse Ratched at the looney bin in the movie, who brooked no nonsense, University of Maryland administrators are eager to brook a lot of nonsense and say they are “thoroughly review[ing]” the demands. The Diamondback, the student newspaper, published a “special project” explaining each of the demands, reminiscent of how grown-ups at The New York Times and The Washington Post leaped to publish the manifesto of the infamous Unabomber.

Three fraternity chapters are signatories to the demands, which include requiring so-called “diversity training” for Greek organizations and other student groups recognized by the Student Government Association.

Diversity, so called, is prized on the modern campus, but it’s diversity summed up as “we welcome people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.” To enforce groupthink at College Park, the student activists further demand the university administration agree to punish whatever the student activists deem to be “hate speech,” with consequences for the perpetrator, such as a mark on his transcript noting “potential suspension.”

The 64 demands include declaring the College Park campus a “sanctuary campus” for “undocumented” students and their families. This might be a demand to put on the back burner because the new president and the Republican Congress are likely to make good on their promise to shut the spigot of federal cash to “sanctuary” cities and states. Money talks, and nowhere louder than in academic councils.

The students want to replace Christopher Columbus Day on the university calendar and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in hopes of washing the “stain of colonialism” from the university, which has actually never colonized anything, not even Takoma Park.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Program must be expanded into a full department, because a Ph.D in LGBT studies might one day help such a graduate land a good job in the real world beyond the campus. A room in each “major” campus building must be designated a prayer room, and since a shuttle must be provided to take student worshippers to a mosque, it’s not clear that Jews and Christians would be welcome. So far, there’s nary a peep from the ACLU, ordinarily the canary to warn of church vs. state conflicts in campus or coal mine.

Wallace D. Loh, the president of the university, tugged a forelock and saluted smartly, announcing that he “has convened a group of his staff to thoroughly review the list of demands and make recommendations accordingly.” A university spokesman says “that process is well under way.” Tenured professors and administrators on the modern campus, mostly like-minded flower children who missed the last streetcar home from the ‘60s and took refuge on the nearest campus, are likely to give in to most of the 64 demands. The cuckoo’s nest has become large, indeed.

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