Colleges seem to have lost their way. I think about that as I follow the blatant breaking of rules at so many schools – North Carolina! Notre Dame! Syracuse!
But it is not just football and basketball. More and more, college seems to be a highly expensive country club, forcing less affluent students to mortgage their futures for the right diploma, the right contacts (never mind the right education.)
The food services. The pools and health clubs. The exotic “study” programs abroad.
Now we are reminded that colleges can also be a breeding ground for prejudice and arrogance. Fraternity boys and their girls (I deliberately do not use the words “men and women”) at the University of Oklahoma chanting vile (and apparently traditional) doggerel about African-Americans while in formal wear on a chartered bus.
What a caricature of America, no doubt leading to the racist scams of places like Ferguson, Mo.
These privileged fraternity louts and city officials take their cues from the highest court in the land:
“Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote with smug assurance in the 2013 Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act.
Fortunately, David L. Boren, president at Oklahoma, came down hard on the punks and punkettes who rode the charter bus. He shut down the fraternity house, which should be razed, just to exorcise the bigotry, and he has ordered two ringleaders expelled. Boren’s righteous anger was appropriate, but there is a broader question:
Why have colleges become a haven for rich boosters to underwrite powerful basketball and football teams that have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with education?
Yet at the same time, less affluent students cannot keep pace with the tuition and luxuries at the landmark schools? It’s all connected, you know.
In the Times on Monday, Joe Nocera discussed better ways to deliver actual education at a reasonable price. There needs to be a way for qualified students to learn from the best schools and teachers, via the web at times.
Three separate articles and columns in the Times on Monday, all describing higher education out of control. But now it’s time for March Madness, prime athletes shoehorned into “college” for a year – I’m talking about you, Kentucky -- another gross caricature of higher education.
Have a good bracket.
3/11/2015 02:19:43 pm
Dear Saint George,
3/11/2015 03:36:27 pm
Brian, thanks so much. When I was covering sports all those years, I knew that the rancid link between "education" and FB and BKB gave me the creeps but I did not think I could approach it with total disdain. (I was an abolitionist toward boxing and basically loved boxers...I had no problem with that position.) But since stepping away a few years ago, I am in touch with my contempt for the degradation of colleges through big-time sports, and other bread and circuses. I went to a college that made its athletes pass regular courses -- Hofstra College, late 50's. I'm very proud of my athlete friends who have had good lives. GV
3/12/2015 12:08:52 am
Working hand in glove with the poison pill of big time college sports, I believe, are the university and college Marketing Departments, now euphemistically called admission departments. Staffed mostly by folks who couldn't get into the schools to begin with, or did but couldn't find a real job, the mission of these folks seems largely to find and produce class after class of future Funding Mechanisms, aka "students." The tools given to them are sports teams, pools, glorious gyms, golf courses, and palatial living spaces. As a rule, they couldn't judge an academic mind if their collective lives depended on it. But who cares?
3/12/2015 02:07:21 am
Brian, totally agree.
Thor A. Larsen
3/13/2015 10:02:36 am
George, I am 100% behind you in your comments about college students today and the distortion of 'advanced education' by such enormous focus on sports and making sure the students 'enjoy' college life. As mentioned in previous discussion, I am a strong advocate of separating NCAA sports from the colleges.
3/13/2015 10:13:26 am
Thor, thanks, man. Marianne, as a teacher, has been saying that for years -- the web is so available, particularly to young people. Kids already keep up on details from teachers that we could not have imagined. But lectures, assignments, can be aimed toward larger and willing audiences. Then "colleges" can provide Kentucky-style basketball teams and health clubs and gourmet food for those who want it. But call it something else. GV
5/31/2015 07:19:54 pm
It is everybody's dream to acquire good standard education at reasonable rate. But it is actually not. So, some college students are forced to depend upon credible online resources in order to improve their learning standards.
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“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.