Friday, October 15, 2004

In loco parentis -- a history 

...and its future, as suggested by David Weigel in Reason. Money quote:

Four decades after in loco parentis started to stagger, college students would be hard pressed to name their new personal liberties. Yes, they no longer fear "double secret probation." And when administrators crack down, they will almost always at least provide a reason. But today�s students may be punished just as hard as their predecessors -- often harder. They�ve discovered that social engineers have a hard time turning down the opportunity to control things.

The expanding control over college students has had repercussions in the rest of America. Campuses are proving grounds for make-nice public programs. They�ve provided laboratories to test speech codes and small, designated "free speech zones" for protests. (Such zones marginalize and effectively silence dissent, which is one reason they�ve been adopted by the major political parties for their national conventions.) The stiffening of campus law also illustrates the trend toward greater control of adults� personal behavior.

For just one example, consider this story at UMass.