BY SAM WHITE
In September 2015, student union officials at the University of East Anglia prohibited the handing out of sombreros at a fresher’s fair, on the grounds that the headwear comprised “discriminatory or stereotypical imagery”.
In April of this year, a survey found that two thirds of British students support the ‘no-platforming’ of speakers. This means denying controversial people the right to participate in on-campus debates. We’ve seen the exclusion of dangerous hate preachers such as… Germaine Greer and Maryam Namazie, a human rights campaigner.
Following US trends, growing numbers of British universities are now issuing ‘trigger warnings’ to let students know if upcoming course material will make them fall over in gasping convulsions. This has included archaeology students at University College London being forewarned darkly of “historical events that may be disturbing, even traumatising”. Yes, traumatising.
And at City University London, Plymouth University, and Queen Mary University in London, student unions have banned the sale of a terrifying clutch of evil publications. You may have heard of these sinister journals, they’re called the Sun, the Daily Mail, and the Daily Express. Going into a shop selling right wing newspapers is simply too much to handle for many of today’s students.
Look across the Atlantic at what happened when Donald Trump took first the piss, and then the White House. There was complete meltdown. Distraught students were excused from class, while feebly named cry-ins were organised. Tutors cancelled exams and emergency support services were provided. On campuses across the United States, the sky came crashing in. It appeared that many students had been scarred for life, unable to forget the black day when—brace yourself—a candidate they didn’t like won an election.
Clearly, such wrenching pain mustn’t be allowed to inflict its trauma on Britain’s youth. I care deeply about the emotional well-being of our idealistic young sunbeams, as they delicately strive for intersectional justice, while crushing all forms of dissent along the way.
So I have a proposal to guard their fragile, progressive intellects, in line with their fondness for politically pure safe spaces.
In order to protect them from the potentially lethal shock of not only encountering different opinions, but maybe even losing an election to them, I propose that while the legal voting age of 18 is appropriate for the general population, university students should have their voting rights suspended until after they graduate.
Sorry, suspended is a strong word. They should have their voting rights placed, like a fluffy, gender neutral kitten, into the temporary care of a state assigned thought-comrade.
Please understand that this is entirely for the benefit of the students themselves. Remember that safety is paramount, and that words are violence.
Put yourself in a snowflake’s crystal slippers for a moment. Can you imagine the deadly potential of encountering a conservative opinion? Of going up against a libertarian in debate? Of voting for someone, that person not winning, and then having to just accept the result, even though you know your choice was better? It’s all so upsetting, it simply doesn’t bear thinking about.
I fully understand that what matters most are feelings. Not the feelings of straight, white men, obviously. The most important feelings belong to people who are definitely right, such as Marxist NUS officials. It’s wonderful that their leftist ideas go unchallenged in the academic environment, and it would be a horrendous, shattering tragedy were students who cherish such ideologies to have their thoughts tainted by the real world.
After all, there are right-wing thinkers out there. As university students can’t even look at a copy of the Sun without their eyeballs bursting into flames, it would be unfair and incredibly dangerous to make them participate in elections, overflowing as they are with terrifying, never before encountered opinions.
Emerging from the incubated political bubble of university life after graduation could in itself be troubling, and a period of decompression may be necessary. I suggest that graduates at first be given just a tenth of a vote, increasing by a further tenth year on year, until after a decade of exposure to reality, when they’re comfortably acclimatised and deprogrammed, they’ll be able to enjoy complete democratic participation.
I look forward to my proposal receiving the full backing of student unions and LGBTQQIP2SAA solidarity groups across the land, and thank them in advance for their support. #HopeNotHate. #HugsNotVotes.