Another chapter in “WTF”?!
Seems college isn’t about college anymore – at least at Oberlin. The shot:
A recent piece in The New Yorker examines the effects of a new wave of student activism at Oberlin College, a small, private liberal arts institution in Ohio, and it’s pretty eye-opening.
According to writer Nathan Heller, Oberlin is “at the center of the current storm” of activism on college campuses, with students heavily involved in issues including classroom diversity, safe spaces, racial inequality and social injustice.
Due to the intense focus on those issues, many progressive students are dropping out.
They claim that their activism is getting in the way of their studies, and other students, the faculty and the administration have made it impossible to live on campus.
Heller spoke to self-identified “Afro-Latinx” student Megan Bautista, who said that she was upset that the school refused her demand to erase any grades below Cs.
“A lot of us worked alongside community members in Cleveland who were protesting (the death of Tamir Rice in the fall of 2014 – ed.). But we needed to organize on campus as well—it wasn’t sustainable to keep driving forty minutes away. A lot of us started suffering academically.” In 1970, Oberlin had modified its grading standards to accommodate activism around the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings, and Bautista had hoped for something similar. More than thirteen hundred students signed a petition calling for the college to eliminate any grade lower than a C for the semester, but to no avail. “Students felt really unsupported in their endeavors to engage with the world outside Oberlin,” she told me.
But that’s not the real world even if it is the world the students feel they need to embrace.
It’s funny to me. You go to college and you essentially make a commitment to that college to take classes you choose and to perform well enough to get a good grade. Then … squirrel! Suddenly that commitment is put on the back burner as you discover a new and more important one. Well, more important to you. The old, “I want my cake and I want to eat it too” selfishness of a child who has always gotten their spoiled way.
And who is supposed to suddenly change the rules because you’ve decided on this new commitment and thrown over the old one? Oh, yeah, the institution you made the previous commitment too.
Students should feel “really unsupported” by the school because they’ve reneged on their commitment to the school. Why should the school feel obligated to support them if they don’t feel obligated to their commitment to the school?
Mature folk actually know the right answer to that question. The immature? See above.
Maybe they should offer a Maturity 101 course for these children.