From “The Problem with Defining Antisemitism” by the New Yorker

Stern tells this story in “The Conflict Over the Conflict,” a work that is unlikely to please partisans. The book makes the case for bridging differences and recognizing nuance. It also describes Israeli-Palestinian history as an “ideal subject” to teach at universities, precisely because it is so divisive. At the West End Temple, Stern reiterated this belief. “On college campuses, students have an absolute right to expect they’re not going to be harassed, they’re not going to be bullied,” he said. “But to be disturbed by ideas is O.K.: we want students to be disturbed by ideas and to figure out how to think about them.”

When I read what is written about campuses today I find it hard to relate to my own experience between 1984 and 1989. I think an in-depth study of what has happened to U.S. universities since the mid-80s may be illuminating. One aspect that I recall from my experience that may be related is a focus on getting a degree in order to get a job. Even back then going to college was becoming less about growing up and becoming a more complete person but rather most students I knew were focused on the goal of obtaining a high paying job. In such a climate I can see where college not being a place where one is disturbed by ideas might be expected because that climate put no value on such a thing.