Greg Fenves, the president of UT Austin, removed four statues from his campus in the dead of night, with a pedantic email justifying his action being sent to all students and faculty. What disgusts me about this action isn’t that the statues were removed, (the fact that people are somehow offended by statues doesn’t surprise me at this point), it’s the reasoning why Fenves removed them. Although his email pretended that he cared about creating a climate of peace, the fact of the matter is Fenves knew that if he didn’t remove these statues, his campus would fall into chaos in the upcoming school year.
Just like we saw at Evergreen and several other colleges, the hordes of violent and extremist students have multiplied, and all it takes is one decision by the administration to be “offensive” for there to be all out rioting at places of higher education. After we’ve seen two students get murdered on my campus the past two years, Fenves would have to immediately resign should violent protesters swarm around our campus, tearing down statues and vandalizing our public campus. Don’t mistake Fenves’ action as one of “social progression”, it was an act of self preservation and cowardice.
The fact that on the drop of a dime, campuses can break out into massive hysteria and violence over such ridiculous reasons worries me to no end. I chose to attend my college because I wanted a university that would surround me with optimistic, talented people from all backgrounds that would join together in changing the world for the better. Instead, I’ve met countless anti-semites, racial supremacists (whether white or black), hate groups that want to progress their agenda through violence, an ignorant student populace who’s obsessed with social justice over more important matters, and an administration more concerned with financial bottom lines than the well being of the students they’re supposed to protect. I return to university on Wednesday with an uneasy feeling, worried about what radical hate group will compromise my safety this year. The past two years, I looked forward to returning to further my education, but now I look forward to completing my time there as fast as possible so I can spend my time in a less toxic and more productive environment.