The president of a Christian college in Oklahoma touched off a social media firestorm this week for saying in a blog post that students are too quick to play the victim card and current culture has taught youth to be self-centered.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Everett Piper has received an outpouring of support for his post titled "This is Not a Day Care. It's a University," and criticism for not being sensitive to the concerns of students.
"Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims," Piper wrote on the school’s website in late November after a student told him he felt victimized by a sermon about repenting and showing love.
"Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a 'safe place', but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn't about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt," Piper wrote.
The post has garnered national attention as it comes in the wake of numerous student protests around the country, where administrators have been criticized for not doing enough to tackle issues such as racism on college campuses.
Piper touches slightly on race, saying in his note: "We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin."
"The response has been really positive," said Megan England, media relations coordinator for the school in Bartlesville, which describes itself as an evangelical Christian university of about 1,700 students.
A supporter in Kentucky, Deven Nicholas Bowen, wrote on his Twitter feed: "Oklahoma Wesleyan University's President has everything right, our generation are babies and get mad if people don't agree with our views."
“My goodness, Everett Piper has my eternal respect,” said Rex Alley of Utah on Twitter.
Critics said Piper's comments could be used to promote intolerance and further marginalized minorities.
"To continue to think of ‘college kids’ as underage whiny juveniles is not only frighteningly ignorant, but perpetuates the invisibility of nontraditional students,” Pat Campos wrote on a discussion forum for the Tulsa World newspaper.
“Shouldn't college be a place to learn AND a safe place?,” asked Alicia Bervine on Twitter.
Piper told local media he appreciated the debate and his comments were more of a challenge to contemporary culture and not a critique of students.
(Additional reporting by Lisa Maria Garza in Dallas; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Alan Crosby)