In this month’s letter from Amherst, we get to learn that:
(1) Required summer reading is Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change. I am sure the discussions around that book cover all the bases, and even question the premise of the book. Ironically, Amherst prides itself as having an “Open Curriculum.”
(2) They are considering changing the name. We are of course named after Lord Jeffrey Amherst, who famously did nothing to the Frenchmen and the Indians (or so our fight song told us). I wonder what’s next after that? Giving back our library books to Williams? Here is the first discussion. Note the depth and clarity of the discussion above the comments section (tongue in cheek). And note how these sorts of movements get started, just like we see for various “E”nvironmental movements on campus – it just takes a few kids who want something, and the fate and funds of thousands of people are altered, sometimes dramatically. Strangely perhaps I don’t see any such movements from other groups of students with different ideas. For example, where are the ______ (insert your preferred idea here). That’s one reason I’m shutting it down.
We now live in a world where it is both impossible NOT to offend anyone and where a right not to be offended has been institutionalized. Meanwhile, our students have perfect SAT scores and can’t write or do math worth &^%%#*&.
Thanks for not letting TUW die, WC.
Regarding summer reading lists, do you think that students, even with the perfect boards who cannot write or compute #%*%#£€, bother with that, knowing their lazy professors cannot be bothered to test them on whether they read the %#}*£ propaganda? They spent the summer trying to get laid, maybe in an AmeriCorps or an OWS tent. The reading list is supposed to impress someone, or may be tied to getting money from BHO.
When I taught English (in the days that included Woodstock, Bill Ayers, and The Summer of Love), we tried not to include Jane Austen and Samuel Pepys in the summer reading list, out of mercy, but there was some serious reading, which everyone knew would be disregarded deliberately by the smartest students, even those with the perfect boards.
Today I heard that a mere thirty percent, plus or minus a few, of teenage students had summer jobs this year, and I was shocked, I guess, having grown up on the farm, walking five miles through the snow to go to school, etc. I thought this phenomenon might be a great subject for economic research, maybe on a small scale for an undergraduate economics project. Are teenage boys slackers, as a group? Are teenage economics majors slackers? Is the earth too hot to tempt teenagers to mow lawns for eight bucks an hour, net? Do they need date money, or do they expect their girl friends to get a summer job and take them out?
Maybe they need time to complete their summer reading lists.
“Risalat Khan is a social activist, environmentalist, geologist, and photographer from Dhaka, Bangladesh…Risalat understands Climate Change and environmental degradation as the biggest challenge that our species has ever had to face, requiring an unprecedented restructuring of the present global social order. He hopes to do all he can to help overcome this challenge, motivated largely by the vulnerability of his fellow country (wo)men to rising sea levels, and dreams for humanity a more egalitarian future where progress is measured using parameters other than mere economic growth.”
Yay!!! A commie!
A hypothetical 1 deg shift in 100 years is the “biggest challenge our species has ever had to face”? Has this guy ever heard of the ice age? Or, wolves? Or, the plague? In comparison, this should be seen as the littlest challenge humanity has ever faced.
Well, to be fair WC, there is little here to be gloomy about. This is, after all, Amherst. Seems perfectly normal for that place.