Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why do today's college students riot?

I wish I knew.

I realize I am a dinosaur, and many things have changed since I went to college, but at least when students rioted in the '60s, it was about a war.

Students at the University of Kentucky rioted after their team lost in the finals of the NCAA basketball tournament. I suppose you could say they were disappointed and decided to vent outdoors.

This article says at least 17 couches were burned. Why is it that people in the South burn couches when they riot? Where do they get these couches? Are there a lot of living rooms without couches in the South? Is there a market for asbestos couches?

Not to be outdone by the Wildcats, students at the University of Connecticut rioted because they won the NCAA title. I can understand celebrating, but rioting?

College students riot when they lose and riot when they win.

Lacking powerhouse basketball teams, students at the University of California Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College apparently have to invent a reason to riot. Every spring they take to the streets for a weekend called "Deltopia." This year's event resulted in 100 arrests and 44 injuries requiring treatment at a hospital. Last year there was a death when a woman fell off a cliff.

Instead of rioting, maybe they should spend more time studying. The UCSB student newspaper published a piece called "An Open Letter in Defense of Deltopia" written by a student who wisely chose to remain anonymous. The letter is stunningly stupid in both syntax and theme and must be read firsthand to be fully appreciated.

In case you don't have time, here are some excerpts from that apologia:

Do not forget the student activism that has taken place within this community over the course of its inception.

I assure you, the urge to rage will long outlast the budget of Santa Barbara to keep sending in large numbers of police.

They treat the UC students as if they didn’t have to work hard to get here, and they treat the CC students like they’ll never amount to anything of substance. Contrarily, SBCC and UCSB are beacons of the educational process in their own respects.

To those lobbied against the students, you should definitively decide how much animosity, brutality and prejudice you are going to harbor and exert on the students who call this place home.

If this is an example of what these "beacons of the educational process" are turning out, rioting about the faculty and the curriculum might be justified.


artiger said...

Forgive my nitpicking, but couch burning is primarily a West Virginia tradition, which is not in the South. Since it borders Kentucky (which some, but not all, consider to be in the South), I can only conclude that it is a communicable disease.

As for rioting, I don't know. Imitation is a form of flattery. Maybe today's students admire their grandparents.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the Santa Barbara kids are lashing out at the poverty and horrible weather at their campus.

Anonymous said...

I hope none of these kids go to med school. If I didn't know better, I'd say a couple of doctors of mine came from there.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Admire their grandparents, but as I said, the reasons for the rioting don't seem as substantial.

Yes, it must be tough to go to school in Santa Barbara, the Mogadishu of the West.

I hope the one who wrote the defense of Deltopia doesn't get into med school.

Anonymous said...

OT: UCSB has one of the top physics departments in the world.

Some years ago, as a science backwater it poached some top guys from Einstein's old place in Princeton. The line of thought prob. ran "hmm, more money, sun, sand, beach, babes, Hollywood stars, temps of 65-85 all year. Tough choice."

artiger said...

Scalpel, it's ignorance laced with apathy. They don't know why they riot, and they don't care.

Anonymous said...

Conservative students don't riot. That fact and their limited numbers makes them invisible. They are the people you need to seek out if you have any interest in the future of this country.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

First anon, I'm not so sure how many Hollywood stars there are in Santa Barbara, which is about 90 miles away.

Artiger, they riot because they are permitted to do so.

Second anon, You are probably correct. They also don't suppress the free speech of others (ref: Rutgers commencement speaker).

Anonymous said...

A politician can do much more damage than a doctor.

There are 3 physicians in the Senate right now, and one of them will likely be running for president in 2016. There is nothing about Rand Paul's previous job as a small-practice ophthalmologist which yells "president"!

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Anon, I agree with your comments. A politician can do much more harm than a doctor.

Rand Paul, who is not ABMS board-certified, apparently started his own board. Clever, but IMO, that is not a resume-enhancing act. His background and public statements don't even whisper "president."

Anonymous said...


This is OT, but I have a problem with the captchas required by Blogspot to post. I am in my 50's, reasonably smart, and computer-literate. I failed the captchas about 25% of the time on first pass. The subsequent presentations become more difficult. In fact, on my large-screen smartphone on which I often access the internet, they are impossible to solve.

I understand that Blogspot does not provide different levels of difficulty for its captchas. Is this a useful tool for you to svreen out spam?

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I agree. The captchas can be annoying. It's difficult to say how effective they are at screening for spam. I get 2 or 3 spam comments to moderate every day. I have been assured by other commenters that the spam is generated by bots, despite the fact that many such comments have specific things to say about the post in question.

If a human is writing these comments, I have to wonder why. I never post them. You would think that they'd realize they are wasting their time, especially when the comment is about something such as their spine surgery practice in India. I doubt that too many people with spine problems are looking for a referral to a spine surgeon in the comments of my blog.

Anonymous said...

They riot so their (hopefully) more successful and intelligent peers that have pursued medicine will have a cohort of trauma patients. "As long as there is stupidity and gravity, there will be job security."

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Good point.

Les said...

"College students riot when they lose and riot when they win."

They riot because it is the only behavior they know? The tantrums mummy and daddy appeased have morphed into riots. The tolerance they ask for is simply a new form of the appeasement they are accustomed to at home.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Les, that's an interesting theory. You may be right.

Scott said...

Google Mifflin.. UW students had the habit of rioting at the drop of a hat. Long after the anti-war movement and long before today's generation.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Scott, Wikipedia has a nice write-up on Mifflin. Thanks for enlightening me about it.

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