A recent Chronicle of Higher Education headline asked, “Should Colleges Intervene to Stop Heckling of Campus Speakers?”
An important question, to be sure.
But it’s yesterday’s news.
Reports from around the country indicate that student activists have moved beyond heckling. Now they are tickling…..with a vengeance. At the University of Louisville last week, white-supremacist wingnut Richard B. Spencer was giving the keynote address at a “50 Shades of Pale” conference when three male students in ski masks rushed the stage and wrestled him to the floor behind the lectern. As two of the students held him down and pulled up his shirt, the third tickled him with a guineafowl feather until he wet his pants. A humiliated Spencer scooted from the stage on his rear end while holding his lecture notes over his lap.
Similar events have occurred over the past two months at the University of New Hampshire, Lafayette College, and Idaho State University. University officials aren’t sure how to respond. “Cubby” Dixon, Dean of Student Life at Idaho State, laments that his school doesn’t have a specific policy that regulates tickling on campus. Interestingly, tickling is actually encouraged, and taught, as a foreplay technique in the two-day Safe Sex Workshop (“Passionate Potatoes”) that all first-year ISU students are required to take during Orientation Week. “It looks like the Workshop may have come back to haunt us,” Dixon observes. “Our students have become really skilled at tickling. On the other hand, it’s nice to hear all the squealing and giggling coming out of the dorm windows at night.”
It’s unlikely that student protestors will stop at tickling. Just two days ago at Grinnell College, Ann Coulter was slathered in creamed corn while participating in a Young Republicans symposium on “Tall Conservative Women Who Aren’t Laura Ingraham,” while Milo Yiannopoulous was forcibly massaged with Texas-style dry-rub seasoning at an alt-right rally at Baylor University on Halloween. Responsibility for both incidents was claimed by the Revolutionary Intersectionality Brigade (Manifesto: “You can’t just be one thing!”), a rogue student collective with ties to a Whole Foods Market in Madison, Wisconsin that is violently resisting Amazon’s takeover of the Whole Foods chain. A siege of the market by FDA agents is now in its third week, with latest reports indicating that agents have taken control of the Produce section after heavy fighting. Casualties include scores of severely bruised fruit, with many melons of all types not expected to survive. “There’s pulp everywhere,” says one FDA agent who has been inside the store. “We’re having to use DNA swabs to identify some of the cantaloupes.”
College administrators may soon be looking back fondly at the days when all they had to worry about was heckling.