Monday, May 18, 2009

Hit the Deck!

There was apparently a non-fatal shooting at Harvard today. It's unknown if the victim is a student; he is now hospitalized in stable condition. Both AP and the Huffington Post have the story.

1 comment:

Reader of the D said...

While on the topic of Harvard, consider the following observations on the Dartmouth curriculum in today's D;

"When I went to find a course on Eastern European history, however, there was nothing in sight — and not just for Fall term, but for any term. There’s a course on the Mongols, and a course on the Russian Empire that provides “a review of [the] Kievan and Muscovite antecedents,” and then launches beyond my immediate interests. In my despair over this horrifying discovery, I thought to myself, “Surely I could take a history class on the Byzantine Empire!” Not a single one in sight. What about the complex history of the Indian sub-continent? I’d settle for a survey course! The history department doesn’t touch that subject until the British arrive.

What was I able to find? A class on “Caribbean Women Writers,” a class on “Black Theater, U.S.A.” and a class on “Queer Marriage, Hate Crimes and ‘Will and Grace.’”

This is the part of the column I call “tactfully avoiding hate mail.” I do not dislike any of the above courses, nor am I questioning their role in the modern academic curriculum. I believe that Women’s and Gender Studies, African and African American Studies, and Native American Studies are all integral parts of our curriculum, and I have no desire to abolish any of these programs. If anything, a class that involves an examination of “Will and Grace” sounds like fun!

Still, I find it puzzling, to say the least, that students here are willing to give Will and Grace a close look, but not the Byzantine Empire, which played an integral role in the development of Europe and the Middle East (even if that role was to slowly decay)."
What some students, and faculty!, do not seem capable of understanding is that you cannot always have it all. With ultimate limits on dollars and faculty, no matter how large the endowment and alumni funds not to mention tuition, one cannot have an infinite number of classes. And as there must be limits, what non-essentials should go and what should be "core" in the curriculum?