According to a new study by the Brookings Institute, the bulk of violent college protesters hail from wealth and privilege, evidenced by the fact that they are enrolled in expensive schools.
Protests turning violent over conservative lectures on campus continues to rise and played out most recently at Middlebury College where social scientist Charles Murray and political science Professor Allison Stanger were attacked by an angry mob of students who successfully shut down their debate. Stanger required a hospital visit to be fitted for a neck brace after her hair was violently yanked by one of the oh-so-tolerant students. And according to the Brookings study, those students have got quite the privilege:
But one overlooked irony of the events at Middlebury is how they perfectly proved some of the points that Murray made in his book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, which he had been invited to discuss. The book documents the separation of a “new upper class”, raised in rich neighborhoods, immersed in liberal, cosmopolitan values, and educated at expensive, liberal universities. In other words, it profiles the students of Middlebury College.
Middlebury’s students are among the richest and most privileged in America. The average enrollee comes from a household making a quarter of a million dollars a year, according to recent research on universities and social mobility. As many students at Middlebury come from the top 1% of households (23%) as come from the bottom four quintiles (24%). The annual cost of attending is almost $64,000 a year.
Along with FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the study found even more telling stats on these protesters:
Since 2014, there have been attempts at some 90 colleges to disinvite speakers, mostly conservatives. The average enrollee at a college where students have attempted to restrict free speech comes from a family with an annual income $32,000 higher than that of the average student in America…
Of course, we don’t know which particular students were involved in the violent protests at Middlebury. Perhaps they were from the 2.7% of the college’s students who come from families in the bottom 20% of the income distribution. It seems unlikely. Rather, it seems likely that many of the students most offended by the likes of Charles Murray come from the wealthiest families and attend the most expensive universities in the country. After all, when Murray spoke at Saint Louis University, where the median income of students’ families is half Middlebury’s, he was received respectfully, with some silent, peaceful protests.
It appears the more you pay, the less free speech you get, the study concluded.