The students of George Mason University in Virginia are protesting the appearance of Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin on campus. Youngkin is scheduled to deliver the commencement speech to the 2023 graduates. Of the 36,000 students at GMU, approximately 6,000 have signed an online petition organized by Change.org demanding the invitation to Youngkin be rescinded.
As of this writing, GMU President Gregory Washington says he has no plans to cancel the Governor’s appearance, but he recognizes the student’s right to protest the scheduled speech. In a statement released on Monday, Washington said, “That being said, I don’t believe that we should silence the voices of those with whom we disagree, especially in this forum where there is no imminent threat present as a result of the disagreements.” Washington is GMU’s first Black president.
In a stroke of irony, the same students who want to celebrate diversity and inclusion are the most vocal in their desire to keep the Virginia Governor off the campus. We see this consistently with similar protests before or during a conservative speaker appearing on campus.
With their current mindset, these students are in for a rude awakening when they morph from student to employee. The workplace is filled with many people of differing thinking. And you will not find petitions to sign when faced with thoughts that do not align with yours.
I am pleased that Washington is not yielding to student demands. Some of the student’s characterizations of Youngkin are unwarranted. Youngkin and his Black, female, veteran Lieutenant Governor have been consistent since the campaign. Youngkin and Winsome Earle-Sears ran on a platform of restoring the parent’s place in their child’s education, eliminating Critical Race Theory and sexually themed books from elementary and middle schools. They are also pro-life and against counseling young students on gender issues. These beliefs are not filled with hate or indications of racism and homophobia. The Lieutenant Governor is Black, in case the students are unaware.
This protest of a commencement speaker may be the first of the year, but it definitely will not be the last of the graduation season. Today’s college students, not all of them, want to only hear from people of their ilk. This is narrow-minded and anything but diverse. This is not how people learn. This is not a healthy debate.
It is imperative that President Washington of George Mason University and any other president or dean who is challenged by the student body stay firm with their decisions and not yield to these immature graduates. These graduates, and all college students need to be informed that they are at a college or university to get an education, not to leave their mark on the institution by trying to change the make-up of the institution.
We are witnessing the harvest of the DEIJ efforts by our education system over the last few decades. The educational system has been in the indoctrination business for one hundred years. Now, with the support of Progressive Democrats, learning basic skills of math and reading have taken a back seat to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This focus has given us lower math scores every year, and the majority of students in college can only read at a seventh-grade level. We are failing our children, and we need people like President Washington to teach the hard lesson of life.