Campus spies. Pepper spray. SWAT teams. Twitter trackers. Biometrics. Student security consultants. Professors of homeland security studies. Welcome to Repress U, class of 2012.
Since 9/11, the homeland security state has come to campus just as it has come to America’s towns and cities, its places of work and its houses of worship, its public space and its cyberspace. But the age of (in)security had announced its arrival on campus with considerably less fanfare than elsewhere — until, that is, the “less lethal” weapons were unleashed in the fall of 2011.
Today, from the City University of New York to the University of California, students increasingly find themselves on the frontlines, not of a war on terror, but of a war on “radicalism” and “extremism.” Just about everyone from college administrators and educators to law enforcement personnel and corporate executives seems to have enlisted in this war effort. Increasingly, American students are in their sights.