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What passes for college in some places?

+3 votes
Jun 3, 2017 in Education ✍ by TheOtherTink (21,068 points)

What happens when a college president cravenly submits to demands by "students" whose behavior is reminiscent of communists and nazis in the 20s, as they shout down the opposition and silence them with physical threats?  As when dealing with any gang of blackmailers, more demands and more threats are made.

2 Answers

Virginia Jun 3, 2017

I watched the whole video, and very sorry to see that...Evergreen State College is only 21 miles from my home in Washington State. It is known as one of the most progressive schools anywhere, everything is done green - doesn't even give grades; every student receives a narrative evaluation for each class. Professors are not ranked, all just known as 'faculty.' With a student body of only around 4,500, the beautiful campus itself is second largest in the state - even though close to Olympia (large city).

It's only fifty years old, and I was one of many people surprised at how well it has turned out. It accepts 98% of applicants, with a freshman retention rate of 70%.

                                                                           * * *

It's a public college, so I don't know if you can expel students for this kind of behavior, but unless there is some extenuating information that did not come out in the video, that is what I would like to see happen.

Marianne Jun 3, 2017

I am shocked to see such behaviour. There is no respect, no dialogue, no decence, and no dealing with the real problems (or their roots) - just much arrogance and floods of vague, unrealistic claims, including sexism (of any kind) and ancestral superstitions - the "masses" yelling blindly with the loudest and preventing those, who really want to study, from learning. And there is a significant lack of good examples. It looks much like "a jungle out there" ...

At work, I had lots of contacts with university students, postDocs, young scientists, etc., and most of them were/are adorable, eager to learn, the first to volunteer (if help was needed), respectful to everybody (not only the mentors and group leaders) and thankful (of course, the selection criteria here are very strict; Think: yes, also the question of noise, behaviour, language and discipline during leisure time is important - lol).

Also in Europe, many innovative projects and studies, involving schools at all kinds, from elementary to university levels, are in course. But if the families or surrounding people are not "cooperative", or if there are religious and other conflicts, there will be no positive evolution in the education systems.

It is true that teenagers (whether students, apprentices, working or unemployed) are going through a critical period, and that they must deal with various "obstacles" and performance requirements.

But if teachers are not respected, if kindness, understanding and fair-play are out of fashion, there's little hope left to improve education and attitudes.

Actually, there seems to be an increasing shortage of engaged teachers, because their work conditions have become unsustainable.

TheOtherTink Marianne Jun 3, 2017
@ Virginia and Marianne,

It is ironic that Prof. Weinstein, whose progressive bona fides seem to be impeccable, is both a witness and a victim of an attempted coup at his college, a totalitarian revolution in microcosm.

How often do we have to learn this lesson?  In such movements, the most brutish elements take over and the more reasonable majority is cowed into silence… or else.

It’s no accident that the communist salute is a clenched fist.


Virginia Marianne Jun 3, 2017

Other Tink, yes the brutish elements...even more chagrin for me because the 'lefty-loony' potential for that kind of behavior is exactly what people were concerned about at the founding of ultra-progressive Evergreen State College in 1967. 

What really helped bail the college out and give them 'street cred' was when Governor Dan Evans stepped up to become their first president...still known here as a very popular, straight-arrow-honest politician - and he is Republican, also, which helped get the college accepted in our (overall) conservative state.

There truly does need to be some plan/protocol in place to intercept and prevent such behavior...this creative and innovative college could be badly damaged.

TheOtherTink Marianne Jun 4, 2017

@ Virginia,

Yes, of course protocols should be in place.  It would have been a simple matter to have students sign a statement, as an admissions requirement, agreeing to refrain from disruptive behavior, threats, mob actions, abusive language, prevention of freedom of speech and opinion, etc., with violators subject to suspension or expulsion from the college.

I think the University of Chicago has such a policy in place.

Virginia Marianne Jun 4, 2017

I looked at just the opening paragraphs of that document, O'Tink...that is quite hopeful, and perhaps now the Board of Trustees will help the president move toward something similar at Evergreen. What he (this president) does not seem to realize is that his behavior is only encouraging and validating those students - it's counterproductive.

Marianne hints at the circumstance of teens/young adults, where they simply don't have the life experience to know how to handle themselves responsively or responsibly...they need clear guidance here, prospectively if possible and ASAP.

Marianne Marianne Jun 7, 2017

@Virginia and T(h)ink

An excellent analysis! :)<3

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