American college students seem to think that their primary reason for attending college is to stage protests, even if their outrage is based on an inability to understand the issue.

Take as a case in point, this story from Carl Straumsheim at Inside Higher Ed.

Anger Over Scare Quotes

Students at the State University of New York at Geneseo are lashing out at a professor for scheduling the lecture “Against ‘Sexual’ ‘Assault’ ‘Awareness’ ” (yes, with three sets of scare quotes) during the college’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week. The professor himself, however, says students are jumping to conclusions without even knowing the contents of the talk.

News of the lecture drew outrage from students who say Theodore Everett, professor of philosophy, intentionally aimed to provoke. Sam White, a senior political science and international relations major, created a petition calling on SUNY Geneseo’s administration to reaffirm the institution’s dedication to sexual assault awareness and condemn Everett’s talk.

“To have someone who is looked up to by Geneseo students give a talk against sexual assault awareness and try to question the severity of the issue … I think is a step in the wrong direction,” White said, calling Everett’s actions “doubt mongering.”

White closed the petition after 30 hours and 1,690 signatures when President Christopher C. Dahl released a statement to the college.

Professor Everett’s entire point was that borderline accusations of sexual assault diminish the gravity of  serious cases of sexual assault and rape.

The abstract of Everett’s talk states “the sexual assault awareness movement counts too many borderline cases (for example, badgering somebody into letting you give them a kiss) as true sexual assault, when they are not really sexual and not really assault. This diverts attention away from the truly damaging core cases of rape and sexual assault that everybody cares about and toward borderline cases that no one believes are equally important, even though they also shouldn’t happen.”

Even a visiting feminist professor has defended Everett.

Another last-minute change includes the addition of Heidi Savage, visiting assistant professor of philosophy, who will respond to Everett’s lecture from a feminist perspective…

“The talk was misrepresented in the assumption that [Everett] was seen as some kind of rape apologist, simply in virtue of the title, which he certainly isn’t,” Savage said in a post on the blog Feminist Philosophers, one of several websites that have taken issue with the lecture. “I’ve seen the talk and it raises legitimate issues, issues that are controversial within feminist discourse itself.”

Savage said she respects the views of the students objecting to the lecture, but rejected the idea that the talk was scheduled during Sexual Assault Awareness Week in order to stir up controversy.

“Speaking as a victim and a feminist, I don’t see anything particularly pernicious about scheduling a talk about sexual assault awareness during sexual assault awareness week,” Savage said.

HT to Instapundit.