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The Center for Campus Involvement at the University of Michigan cancelled last Tuesday (4/7) a screening of "American Sniper," the Clint Eastwood film about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

It was cancelled after sophomore Lamees Mekkaoui gathered "roughly 200" signatures (out of a student body of 42,700) on a petition alleging the film "promotes anti-Muslim rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer."

"We deeply regret causing harm to members of our community, and appreciate the thoughtful feedback provided to us by students," CCI said in a statement.

The screening was back on a day later, and the vice president for student life was apologizing for canceling it in the first place.

"The initial decision to cancel the movie was not consistent with the high value the University of Michigan places on freedom of expression," said E. Royster Harper.

The flip flop occurred shortly after Coach Jim Harbaugh said he will show "American Sniper" to the football team.

"Proud of Chris Kyle and proud to be an American," Coach Harbaugh tweeted. "If that offends anybody, then so be it!"

Aside from Coach Harbaugh, UM officials are a sorry bunch. They are, alas, typical of college administrators today.

"Universities emulate greenhouses where fragile young adults are coddled as if they were hothouse orchids," says Victor Davis Hanson, who taught the classics at Fresno State University. "Hypersensitive students are warned about ‘micro-aggressions’ that in the real world would be imperceptible."

Many colleges have established "designated areas where traumatized students can be shielded from supposedly hurtful or unwelcome language that should not exist in a just and fair world," he says.

"Safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being ‘bombarded’ by discomfiting or distressing viewpoints," says Judith Shulevitz in the New York Times.

Columbia University Prof. Todd Gitlin recalls having to watch the Nazi propaganda film "Triumph of the Will" in a sociology class.

"The pedagogical tactic was precisely to produce discomfort," he said. "Discomfort was the crucible for a ‘teachable moment’."

The destruction of free speech is "a horrible betrayal of everything universities are supposed to be about," says Bard College Prof. Walter Russell Mead.

But the worst thing about "PC stupidity and mandatory cocooning on campus is…the catastrophic dumbing down of a younger generation that is becoming too fragile to exist in the current world," he says.

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney apologized for causing students to be "hurt" and "made to feel unsafe" because she didn’t object when a fellow panel member uttered "the N word" during a discussion about teaching "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

"It’s amazing to me (students) can’t distinguish between racist speech and speech about racist speech," responded the culprit, free speech advocate Wendy Kaminer, in an email to Ms. Shulevitz.

"Universities are not fallout shelters," Prof. Gitlin said. "Attention to the appalling causes disturbance. Deal with it. You’re at college to be disturbed."

Colleges that shield students from the world’s harsh realities – and from opinions that differ from their own – aren’t preparing leaders for tomorrow.

Because most also aren’t learning what they need to know to have productive careers, the "hothouse orchids" aren’t getting much value for the exorbitant cost of college.

CCI scheduled an alternative film for students who wouldn’t "feel safe" watching "American Sniper." It was a children’s movie about a stuffed bear. Could there be a better metaphor for the infantilization of the university?

When "American Sniper" was screened a week ago Friday (4/10), the 150-seat room was filled to near capacity. Most applauded as the credits rolled. Only 7 UM students watched "Paddington Bear."

It’s typically only a relative handful of leftist students who demand protection from "hurtful speech." But colleges all over the country have rushed to violate free speech to appease the handful who complain about "hurtful" speech, said the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Fascist wimps control the "education" of many of our children. What are we going to do about it?

Well, for starters, read Jack Wheeler’s classic Infantilizomania from September 2005 – then send it to everyone you know (it’s Free Access).  Infantilizomania – the compulsion to treat adults as children – is the liberal neurosis.

As Jack says, "The liberals’ path to power is to reduce adults to children through their phony claim of compassion."

I say we start exposing the libs’ neurosis wherever we find it, and expecting our hothouse flower kids in college to stop being afraid of the real world.

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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