William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Scenes From A Mid-Sized University

A feminist riot is an ugly sink, unt, I think that it is just about time dat ve had vone!

A couple of small but notable items, lifted from one issue of a mid-sized university school newspaper.

  • “Student success is a major component of the strategic plan…” Component? Strategic plan? This from an article showing how STEM fields will receive more, and even primary, attention. The strategic plan includes “new Active Learning Classrooms”. As opposed to inactive?
  • “Student Government Associate vice president, [Name] believes if you’re not outraged by what’s going on in the world then you’re not paying attention…’There are so many really intense and scary things going on in America and overseas,’ [Name] said. ‘If we actually empathized those issues, weren’t so separated and actually paid attention to those, we wouldn’t be scared.'”

    So which is it? Outraged or scared? If you’re “outraged”, it’s a good bet you’ve have never read history or a novel which wasn’t chosen by the demographic characteristics of its author.

  • 3,000 is a big number. In an article about September 11, “‘When you hear the number 3,000 it’s a lot, it’s a big number,’ [Name] said. ‘But when you see 3,000 then you realize it’s a big number.'”
  • Headline: “Pizza and networking event aims to end sexual assault.” The hidden power of pepperoni?
  • The above event was sponsored by—can you guess?—the “Women and Gender Studies Program”, the director of which said, “It’s an opportunity to make a collective calendar and learn to be riotous and active and amazing feminists on campus.”
  • A student said about the event, “It’s all about getting people talking and having conscious raising discussions that raise awareness.” I’m confused about what’s being raised, consciouses or awarenesses?
  • In the papers’ op-ed, a student explains her “lifestyle choice”: “For me, eating meat differs from accidentally eating a food I dislike.” It’s the same for me.
  • The rest of the paper, considerably more than half, was given over to the school’s sports teams.

8 Comments

  1. I needed to read this today. I was feeling a bit slugish about working out in the studio this morning, but now I’m working inspired.

  2. I am in awe of the students intellectual prowess.

  3. I’ve come away with the feeling that the important thing is to say the right words and not necessarily to say anything coherent with them. Surely you empathise with people not issues? And how self-centred is it to “empathise the issues” in order to feel comfortable rather than to understand someone’s situation?

    Oh dear.

  4. Hahaha. If cheese can make some people miserable, pepperoni can have certain powers too. It might have the same mysterious power as prayers.

  5. “Is our children learning?”

    apparently the answer is “no, they is not.”

  6. In the current jargon, “active” learning is the opposite of “passive” learning and means that students do activities — experiments, demonstrations of principles, data collection and analysis, observation and explanation of phenomena — instead of just reading about results in a textbook. In other words, they learn by doing. Yeah, it sounds kind of silly, but experiential (active) learning produces better understanding in most students. Maybe that’s a sign of a lower average intellectual capacity than in the past. Maybe that’s what’s necessary when almost everybody goes to college.

    The emphasis on STEM majors these days echoes the fear in the 50s and 60s that we were falling behind our cold war rival. Plus today, these jobs pay better than most. Schools are under market pressure.

  7. ” “It’s all about getting people talking and having conscious raising discussions that raise awareness.” I’m confused about what’s being raised, consciouses or awarenesses?”

    I’m becoming aware that the degree of unconsciousness may be what is being raised….

    ““Student success is a major component of the strategic plan”

    As opposed to the tactical reality..

    ” ‘If we actually empathized those issues, weren’t so separated and actually paid attention to those, we wouldn’t be scared.’”

    Hands up everone who thinks that finding out that you are closer than you thought, to something scarier than you first realised will reduce your fear…

  8. I recently visited a small book store with a poster stating “You don’t need to burn books to destroy a society. You only need to get people to stop reading them.” Evidently the sisterhood mentioned above doesn’t read books with proper grammar or sentence structure.

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