by Elaine Gunthorpe
Loyola Marymount University President Timothy Law Snyder recently wrote an op-ed for the Miami Herald arguing Ron DeSantis is on the losing end of the woke battle in education since most students today are already socially liberal by the time they enter college.
Snyder suggests that DeSantis is out of touch with undergraduates, stating, “Has DeSantis met the college students of the year 2023? If he has, he has somehow missed entirely their makeup and conviction.”
He calls today’s college students the “Solidarity Generation,” since they “[require] no prodding by college professors to stand up for social justice or oppose systems of oppression.”
Invoking young activists like Greta Thunberg and those from the March for Our Lives, Synder asks: “Are we to believe that a 17-year-old who marched against gun violence would return to a childlike state of neutrality if they don’t learn about systemic racism at the University of Florida?”
Snyder outlines how DeSantis’ anti-woke policies are essentially ineffective since today’s youths are extremely “hyper-interconnected”, even though they are always accused of being addicted to their smartphones and social media.
College students nowadays use technology in order to “transcend traditional boundaries, including borders, socioeconomic status and generations, as they build community,” and are therefore “emboldened by their care for one another, their proclivity for purpose and their human connectivity,” he writes.
“If anything, Gen Z is indoctrinating us. College students are the ones pushing institutions to adopt transgender-friendly practices and to create safe spaces,” he continues.
“That’s why claims that colleges and universities are indoctrinating the younger generation are false,” Snyder claims. “Before they even fill out college applications, America’s teens are progressive on race.”
He also argues that by the time professors “encounter” them on campus, new students have “naturally become justice-conscious and equity-minded.”
Snyder concludes that college students are “already engaged in collective action over causes like racial justice” and that they “seek to enact the most basic of Christian teachings and the most basic tenets of America’s founding documents.”
Concerning DeSantis, Snyder accuses the governor of authoritarianism and being committed to “[b]anning books.”
He specifically rebukes DeSantis as a “close-minded” official “whose goal is suppressing ideas he doesn’t like.”
Snyder also asserts that DeSantis’ “effort to outlaw the teaching of certain concepts, like other uninformed attacks on the academy, rests on an archaic perception of how education works.”
“In DeSantis’ world, the student is an empty vessel, waiting to be enlightened by teachers with knowledge and ideas,” Synder notes. “The reality: Macro issues like climate change, gun violence and racism are what bring the Solidarities together in activism, not the indoctrination of allegedly liberal universities.”
In conservative circles, DeSantis has been a leading figure of anti-woke policies and is famous for his fervent battles on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies within the state of Florida.
Throughout his governorship, DeSantis has laid the groundwork for other states to follow suit with the enactment of legislation like the Individual Freedom Act (“Stop WOKE Act“), which seeks to limit DEI and critical race theory from being taught in public schools and universities.
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Elaine Gunthorpe is a rising junior at Christendom College. She is pursuing a major in Political Science & Economics and a minor in Philosophy. As an active member in her community, Elaine is involved in a number of organizations such as College Republicans, Network of Enlightened Women, and Shield of Roses.
Photo “Timothy Law” by Loyola Marymount University. Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Governor Ron DeSantis. Background Photo “College Classroom” by Dom Fou.