A Pittsburgh high school (now college) student who in 2013 gained national attention for her op-ed detailing her rejection from her top choices for college which place premium value on diversity and a hobby-rich resume is now back with a new op-ed blasting what she calls the campus “thought police.”
Suzy Lee Weiss, now a freshman at the University of Michigan, wrote an essay Sunday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled: “I was recruited by the thought police: Political correctness on campus has reached the level of crazy, and for using that word I am a bigot.”
Weiss described the campus-wide initiative in which students are told to avoid using words “that are not inclusive”; the mandatory session that discouraged extending the wish of “Merry Christmas”; and a freshman seminar in which her friend was lambasted by the lecturer for being a white heterosexual man from Georgia.
Under the Inclusive Language Campaign, “which is all the rage at Michigan and some other universities,” students are told to “Stop. Think.” before they speak.
According to its Facebook page, the ILC “is an educational program designed to raise awareness about the impact of words. It is not a ban, but a campaign to encourage individuals to speak with thought and purpose.” Based on posters the group posted online, one element of the campaign aims to discourage students from wearing ethnic costumes to parties, including dressing as women in full Muslim coverings and wearing Mexican or Japanese costumes, writing "This is not Okay."
One commenter on the group's Facebook page who called himself a “bleeding-heart, New York progressive liberal” wrote, “I think this campaign is CRAZY and INSANE. If you think this isn't an assault on free speech, you are completely nuts. You are also becoming the laughing stock of academia. Grow up.”
“We’re all being drafted as thought police, charged with regulating the speech of our peers,” Weiss wrote. “Sounds like a joke, right? If so, it’s one that my school, a public university, has reportedly spent $16,000 on. Apparently that’s the budget necessary to explain that words such as ‘jewed’ and ‘gyped’ are offensive. My grandmother could have told you that for free, saving Michigan thousands on the morally obvious.”
The freshman attended one mandatory assembly “where we were taught, among other things, that wishing someone a merry Christmas is a micro-aggression. I am Jewish and proud to report that I have faced this very verbal assault and survived.”
The real scandal at Michigan and similar schools isn’t the use of particular words or slurs. It’s the tendency of the politically correct police — students, professors and administrators — to shut down legitimate debate by silencing anyone who dares to commit what they consider a crime of speech or thought. […]
Instead of pitting student groups against each other in a painful game of out-oppression — who’s had it worse, the black students or the transgender students? — wouldn’t it be better to drop the -isms and learn to simply be good to each other?
I propose a new initiative, one that I’m confident will outlast previous bulletin-board, bake-sale and social-media campaigns. Call it “The Golden Rule.” Or being a mensch. Or maybe just using your head. It’s a classic.
She also castigated her campus administration for failing to punish the students who threw hot dogs, eggs and nasty messages at the door of fellow Michigan student Omar Mahmood over a column he had written.
In December, Mahmood was forced to resign from the campus newspaper for penning a column poking fun at social justice buzzwords like “womyn’s studies,” and “white privilege.”
Weiss suggested that the word-limiting campaigns actually prevent students from preparing for the real world, where “some people are bigots, that some people will hurt their feelings inadvertently.”
In 2013, Weiss told NBC’s “Today” that her open letter to the colleges that rejected her was meant as satire.
“It’s a satire. That’s the point. Just like ’30 Rock’ is a satire, which pokes fun at things that are politically correct. That’s what I was trying to do,” she told NBC.
She now writes for the satirical student newspaper, The Every Three Weekly.
Read Weiss's full op-ed here.