Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Pitzer College: A Bunch of Loons

My esteemed co-blogger and I attended Claremont Colleges (different ones, mind, but that's another story). Coincidentally, we were just discussing how crazy many of the students at the other colleges were. The Claremonts are an eclectic mix, to be sure, but despite the rampant eccentricities, Pitzer students always stood out. I wish I could say they stood out for their intelligence, curiosity, or what have you. Really they stood out for their "deeply held commitment to improving society." They seemed to express this desire mostly by smoking pot and not showering. Also, they occasionally stood up to The Man by wearing $150 Birkenstocks (which, of course, synergize with the not showering thing -- nothing is as Bohemian as stinky, dirty feet!).

Anyway, this op-ed, ably made fun of here is symptomatic of the Pitzer culture. I hate to bandwagon, but having seen odd Pitzer antics at work for four years, I can't help but chortle.

I have to sign out now -- but maybe I should take one or two more pot shots (no pun intended). According to its website: "Pitzer College believes that mastery of a subject makes informed, independent judgments, and so requires students to complete a major." Even excluding the fact that the sentence makes no sense (how does "mastery of a subject" "make[] informed, independent judgments"? I think the sentence may be missing a direct object somewhere but who knows?), what does this say about the educational experience? To me it shouts: "Bare minimum education standards! Come here, smoke pot, take 'interdisciplinary' classes, wax poetic about social strife, graduate." What is it with interdisciplinary classes anyway? You'd think (if you'd never taken one) that they would be doubly hard. But such as not been my experience. Thoughts on that?

Now of course what I've written isn't entirely fair (what I write rarely is), and I know a slew (well at least one) of smart people who went to Pitzer. That said, I believe their success is in spite of the atmosphere, and certainly not because of it. I have no larger point, except that Pitzer's new stance is just ridiculous. Brian? Thoughts?

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