A protester holds a sign, as protesters usually do.
Frustrations are on the rise at one California university as students and completely unrelated activists alike fight to end a perceived attack on student choice. The Second University of California has long held to its liberal values; it is a place known for its lack of enforcement of all antiquated ideologies, which administrators boast promotes a distinctly amoral and anarchist atmosphere that no private school would be able to match.
“We pride ourselves on having absolutely no convictions,” says the dean of admissions, who has opted not to be identified by any formal name, title, or pronoun. “By not taking sides on any issue, we don’t offend anybody. And that is the goal of a higher education, after all, to avoid offending students as they learn to live their lives.”
But, one student in particular says that this is not the case. Maryn Blue, junior Biblical studies major at SU of C, is stepping up and speaking out against the only thing that this school stands for and has stood for throughout the past century.
“It’s ridiculous,” says Maryn emphatically. “They say they don’t want to offend anybody, but it’s just not true! I’m here and I’m offended!”
When asked what exactly she found so offensive about her college, Maryn said simply one made-up word:
While SU of C claims to be completely free of all institutions and ideologies that might cause offense to anyone, everyone, and their dogs (SU of C is also known for its animal inclusion program and is currently the only school where a chimpanzee not only was admitted but graduated magna cum laude with a degree in philosophy. It is speculated that this brainy primate might have had a paw in writing the school’s “Suggestions of Conduct,” a document which gives vague and optional guidelines for student behavior and can be signed or amended by any student if they are so inclined.)
However, despite SU of C’s striving for total affirmation of all things, Maryn is not alone in feeling oppressed by what she considers to be rampant conservaphobia. She, along with a small but loud group of like-minded students called the “Morality Underground” is taking aggressive measures to force the school to change in order to accommodate them.
“Yeah,” said Maryn with a defiant shrug, “I probably could have looked into the school’s lack of policies before I came, or maybe read their pamphlets before applying, but why should it be my responsibility to be informed about the college I attend? That’s a lot to ask of a 23-year old.”
When asked to elaborate on ‘conservaphobia,’ Maryn explained, “SU of C is a wonderful place. I love this place so much. It has sidewalks and benches and coffee and really good breakfast burritos. I cannot really stress how much I love this place.”
After waiting a few more minutes for Maryn to finish her professions of love for SU of C, she continued to complain about how cruel the school has been to her and how unhappy she has been there.
“I’m a Biblical studies major,” declares Maryn. “But you know what upsets me? My academic advisor keeps telling me that SU of C does not have a Biblical studies degree program because it’s a secular university. That is really an injustice! It’s conservaphobia, plain and simple, that they won’t hire professors or offer courses for my chosen field of study! I mean, just because a school is secular does not excuse it from having to promote subjects that contradict its values, right? ”
Maryn did not wait long before answering her own question.
“Right! I’m absolutely right and when the school tries to tell me I’m not, it really hurts my feelings, which, if I am not mistaken is against SU of C’s only value: that of non-offense.”
There are numerous private universities across the United States that hold to the same values that Maryn posts about on her Tumblr. It is reasonable to assume that such schools would have welcomed Maryn and Co. with open arms and financial aid, but when asked why she did not just choose to attend a school that aligned with her values rather than “hateful conservaphobia,” Maryn rolled her eyes and answered:
“Here’s the thing. Who’s usually paying for college? The parents. So who gets the biggest say in where a kid goes to college? That’s right. The parents.”
She went on to explain that her parents could not afford to send her to a private university and that even if they could, they were adamantly against the strict morals of such places.
“They wanted me to be a woman of the world, but that just wasn’t me. So here I am, trying to be myself in this place where I do not feel that it is appreciated. When I am told I can live in whichever dorm I want, am given vegan options at every meal, and am taught amoral subjects such as math, I feel the the weight of my trial. I have drafted a series of demands. If the school does not immediately cater to these whims, my friends and I are prepared to sue for damages.”
Already, over 93 individuals of the 80,000 that make up the SU of C student body, have signed this petition. Of these, nearly 17% have acknowledged reading the document and claim to possess a general idea of its contents.
“Yeah, I read it,” said Kale McBirkenstocks, super-senior undecided major. “I oppose phobias of all kinds and it would have been against my clinically-diagnosed phobia-phobia to not sign this petition.”
Maryn is confident her support can only grow from here.
“I think most people will come to agree that forcing a secular school to adopt religious moral policies is not unreasonable,” she concluded. “Besides, everyone will certainly agree that the government’s hard-earned money should not be used to fund education that promotes ‘conservaphobia’ rather than traditional, virtuous learning.”
Maryn is hopeful that she will be able to gather the external support necessary to pressure SC of U into complying with her goals. And, despite never truly defining ‘conservaphobia’ or proving how it violates her rights, Maryn is insistent that it is “a newfangled notion that can be overcome with greater activism.”