© Veronica Henri / Postmedia
Back in my college career, it was considered a good day if you weren't teargassed.

No more. Sure there are still tears, but they are more crocodilian than courageous.

We mollycoddle our kids. Universities are turning them into cogs in the Age of the Victim. Two examples this week, one protecting the poor innocent dears from free speech, the other sparing them the fear of fat.

Oh, the humanities. Let's start with free speech 101.

If you have kids at Western, you may have heard that controversial prof Jordan Peterson is giving a talk there next Saturday.

Luckily, there's a safe haven to retreat to with their ravaged psyches after the awful man speaks.

"Sensitivity trained" volunteers are standing by in the university's Peer Support Centre.

Who knew pronouns could cause such pain? Who knew today's collegians were so easily traumatized?

Peterson is a University of Toronto psychology prof who refuses to refer to students by anything other than good old "he" and "she."

Thus, he contravenes a U of T policy demanding use of gender-neutral pronouns such as "they" or "ze" or "zir" or whatever a student wishes. Technically, I suppose, you can be addressed as "whozzit," if it suits your fancy.

Peterson thinks that's just silly. A lot of people do. But not the U of T or social engineers.

So students reportedly have complained they don't feel "safe" in Peterson's classroom, and activists have had a field day with online outrage.

Apparently, an expensive university is no place for free speech. The young souls in its tender care have enough trouble forging their own ideas — let alone having to listen to others.

Debate can make your head hurt. Free speech is, like, complicated. Hence the trauma.

A speech by Peterson — on "the psychology of creativity," his speciality — at the National Gallery of Canada last week drew 100 protesters. One organizer, a Carleton University student, mewled to the CBC, "Art has always been a safe space for queer people, people of colour and marginalized people in general.

"We don't feel safe coming to the National Gallery of Canada anymore."

I kid you not. Ze actually said that. Well, you know how dangerous an art gallery can be. A Rembrandt might topple off the wall onto your head.

Speaking of Carleton U, it is my alma mater and the source of the past week's second case of college coddling gone crazy.

The university gym has removed its weigh scale to avoid offending folks with body issues such as, dare I say it, fat people. This is no joke.


"Scales are very triggering," a student told the school paper, the Charlatan. Which is true. They might trigger you to ... GET FIT!

The good news is Carleton's more sensible students are pushing back. "Next it will be mirrors," criminology student Riley Main warns on Facebook.

Weighty matters, indeed. We are teaching our kids to be afraid of their own shadow.

What happened to universities as wonderful bubbling stews of ideas, viewpoints, rebellion and fearlessness? Isn't debate the best way to learn?

Are today's schools turning out free thinkers ... or politically correct zombies?