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Ser Scot A Ellison

Wisconsin Plan to eliminate Liberal Arts at the University of Wisconsin

177 posts in this topic

28 minutes ago, Altherion said:

but this was a text message sent to a friend (who, it turns out, was of the "with friends like these, who needs enemies" type). In that context, it is a fairly generic statement of exasperation or anger with an instructor.

Fair enough, and agreed.  I meant to qualify the above by stating I didn't read the link you guys were discussing, but I was distracted by a really poorly done zombie television show.  I've texted similar things - hell, even recently.  A text to a friend has an entirely different context.

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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Altherion said:

“My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/That'll stab you in the head.”

^^^^ That is definately not an example of threatening language, FFS a Creative Writing Instructor should recognize that. Especially in the context of a young person in a creative writing class. I have to agree with Altherion here and view this as an example of not recognizing cultural expression.

Take the lyrics and imagery used in this song 

 

A few lines from this song- 
[Waqas:]
I throw stones at my eyes
’cause for way too long they’ve been dry
Plus they see what they shouldn’t from oppressed babies to thighs
I throw stones at my tongue
’cause it should really keep its peace
I throw stones at my feet
’cause they stray and lead to defeat
A couple of big ones at my heart
’cause the thing is freezing cold
But my nafs is still alive
and kicking unstoppable and on a roll
I throw bricks at the devil so I’ll be sure to hit him
But first at the man in the mirror
so I can chase out the venom.

The lines bolded coincide with images of a Bishop and a Political leader. I have the impression the English Instructor would think a threat is implied from the writer. In fact its quite the opposite being expressed, its an offer to stand up to an abusers oppression, to protect the innocent and stand with and remember victims. He will face down "Goliath", do not fear.

The throwing of stones is used throughout the song as metaphor, the song was originally written as a protest of the treatment of Palestineans under occupation. It was used in the video as protest of a Canadian political issue and to publicize the efforts of Native American families trying to have their loved ones remains returned (from residential school cemetaries) and buried in their rightful resting places.

About the songs meaning-https://shadowproof.com/2012/11/19/protest-song-of-the-day-try-not-to-cry-by-sami-yusuf-isam/

^^^You could find endless similar examples of many lyrics, poems, stories where violence is purposefully used as part of a larger context. Ironically imo, the exposure we get in the Humanities area of our educations, can assist us in recognizing (beneficially) such instances.

 

Yeah we should just cut Humanities from all the Colleges around the country. All the future generations needs are trades, professions and techies, learning anything else is just a waste of time that they could better be using for slaving and consuming in endless circular fashion. Cant waste a moment, must get in the herd (smfh).

Edited by DireWolfSpirit

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Altherion said:

We didn't write it either, but we certainly said it. Which part of it do you find so objectionable? There are only 3 statements there:

I hate this class.

Practically everyone I know who went to college or school has said this at one point or another.

It’s a waste of time.

This goes hand in hand with the statement above together with its close relative "Why in the world do we have to study this?"

They can all go fuck themselves.

This is idiomatic so one has to translate from culture to culture, but again, there is nothing out of the ordinary here.

As someone who hated some classes in college and thought some were a waste of time, I can say people who said “I hate this class” almost without fail were the people who got absolutely hammered or high as often as possible regardless of whatever responsibilities they might have in terms of class work or employment, however they also tended to be the kids that had zero need to have employment while at school (and another hint, they weren’t the scholarship kids). Without fail they all got jobs and are probably making more than 200k per annum today, and it’s not on merit, just the nepotism and privilege that goes with the resources backing them. They were also all pretty smart and in general had always done well in school so they were used to skating and coasting and getting all As. Which also brings me to:

The people that said “it’s a waste of time” without fail, 100% of the time these comments came with classes that were effing hard and had merciless workloads substantially more than the median class workload. These tended to be classes that were heavy on theory and baseload applied critical thinking than typical. Or were archaic subjects come to think of it. This is classic smart kid syndrome by the way, since most smart kids have always had success (and praise) in school come easy with minimal effort, when they finally encounter something that is hard for them it immediately gets labeled “a waste” “stupid” “useless” or some other pejorative.

note, that two thirds of their peers constantly hurled the same pejorative invective at algebra et al back in ninth grade while these future flailing college kids smirked their way through. Now they’re in the same position and fundamentally they can’t cope with not succeeding so rather than believe the impossible thought that something is wrong with themselves, they resort to insisting that the problem is the content (or class or teacher) and sometimes it is, 

All that said. The class I hated most in college, and did very poorly in, well in retrospect there is only one reason I hated it, it was my only eight am class in four years. Not the content, professor, tas, labs, lectures, textbook  or anything else I complained about at the time. Nope. It was just the schedule.

***

anecdote. As a rising junior in high school I went to one of those couple week “college immersion” summer programs the local university put on, where you go live in a dorm, eat campus food, and take a couple faux college classes. There was a lot of different little programs too about different majors etc you could attend. I went to several, the only one I remember was for literature or the English program. The grad student putting it on pitches the program and the general curricula you’d have to read and classes you’d have to take over four years. At the end in q and a, a girl asked what he studied, and he said, “I am finishing my thesis on humorous British novels from 1830 to 1870.” And without missing a beat or even realizing what I said was bad, just straight up, I blurted out “whoa! What kind of job do you get after college with that thesis?” Everyone else looked at me like I was a leper and I have never in my life sense seen someone’s face crumple so fast. He made a quick recovery though and talked briefly about a couple of the novels he knew so well and then dismissed us.

Edited by lokisnow

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Posted (edited)

Ultimately, if this kid hates this class, why is he in it? There is no school that makes a creative writing class or program mandatory for graduation credits.  And if it turns out that this class and teacher and the student are a poor fit, why doesn't he drop it and enroll in a different one next semester?  This is how we handled classes and instructors with whom we couldn't get along with -- not with violent threats, implicit or explicit.

Also, it's a lot different for women, being targets of such explicit language, than for men who are sitting safely on their asses, far removed from that language and even witnessing the sort of behavior exhibited inside the classroom.

One gets the feeling that some of you here commenting either haven't read the article and / or cherry pick bits from it, while ignoring the parts that don't support the poo poo.

She wasn't speaking of class assigned content entirely -- for which she gave the benefit of the doubt, because of the context of background for rap, etc., which she actually knows. But what most disturbed her were the physical manifestations in the classroom -- violent -- and text messages to and about her.

Thousands upon thousands of women have been the target from males of threatening words that combine violent humiliation with death, including the favorite -- "You will be / could be / should be raped to death."   Even implicitly, that is unacceptable in any context.

Even at best, when the professor is female, male students will constantly state that "I should fuck the bitch and then I'd get an A."  

Certainly a person involved with writing creatively and otherwise, all day, every day, can tell when something has moved from contextual violence into a problematic area pretty clearly most of the time.  These days people sure are going to err on the side of caution, if they are intelligent.  But like the admin at this professor's school, so many males who aren't on the receiving end opt for telling the woman to be 'more understanding,' instead of being proactive for her safety.  As long as such heavy duty weapons are so easily available to everyone, this kind of reaction is way behind the curve.  Again, even here, men poo poo a woman's sense of personal danger -- because it isn't directed at men, but at HER.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/31/us/florida-chinese-student-guns-deported/index.html

 

 

Edited by Zorral

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10 hours ago, lokisnow said:

anecdote. As a rising junior in high school I went to one of those couple week “college immersion” summer programs the local university put on, where you go live in a dorm, eat campus food, and take a couple faux college classes. There was a lot of different little programs too about different majors etc you could attend. I went to several, the only one I remember was for literature or the English program. The grad student putting it on pitches the program and the general curricula you’d have to read and classes you’d have to take over four years. At the end in q and a, a girl asked what he studied, and he said, “I am finishing my thesis on humorous British novels from 1830 to 1870.” And without missing a beat or even realizing what I said was bad, just straight up, I blurted out “whoa! What kind of job do you get after college with that thesis?” Everyone else looked at me like I was a leper and I have never in my life sense seen someone’s face crumple so fast. He made a quick recovery though and talked briefly about a couple of the novels he knew so well and then dismissed us.

Anecdote: I wrote my senior college history seminar paper on the expropriation and nationalization of the Mexican oil industry in the 1930's. I was into studying Mexican history at the time and it  was aimed at the professor who specialized in Mexican and Central American history. With that narrow-based thesis, I finished my history degree and moved right on to, you guessed it, the telecom industry, where I remain to this day.

That history background had nothing to do with today's tech, but it did provide me the basis to use the written word to communicate in complete sentences, as well as an open mind to learn new ideas on the job. Developing friendships and networks during college also helped when I was in search of post-college employment, as well. Those are just as important as the thesis on a narrow subject (that I have since pretty much forgotten, to my shame).

A liberal arts degree does not doom one to the graduate school slog or "Do you want fries with that?" unless they limit their horizons to remaining in academia. Once I recognized that, I felt free to let my skills work for me.

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Posted (edited)

53 minutes ago, The Wedge said:

Anecdote: I wrote my senior college history seminar paper on the expropriation and nationalization of the Mexican oil industry in the 1930's. I was into studying Mexican history at the time and it  was aimed at the professor who specialized in Mexican and Central American history. With that narrow-based thesis, I finished my history degree and moved right on to, you guessed it, the telecom industry, where I remain to this day.

That history background had nothing to do with today's tech, but it did provide me the basis to use the written word to communicate in complete sentences, as well as an open mind to learn new ideas on the job. Developing friendships and networks during college also helped when I was in search of post-college employment, as well. Those are just as important as the thesis on a narrow subject (that I have since pretty much forgotten, to my shame).

A liberal arts degree does not doom one to the graduate school slog or "Do you want fries with that?" unless they limit their horizons to remaining in academia. Once I recognized that, I felt free to let my skills work for me.

True, on the other hand, you probably did not have 35,000 in student debt (as I did), to repay, or someone who gets an equivalent degree from my university 12 years later with the same percentage of student aid would likely have 85,000 in student debt, I was strongly aware of the idea that I'd have student debt equivalent to a brand new luxury car, 85,000 would be more like a house in my home town (my sister bought her first house about 8 years ago in my hometown for that much, actually), my youngest sister transferred out of the state university after two years, to graduate instead from the local university, because the state university would have saddled her with 50,000 in debt. 

When debt levels are so extremely high, privileged degrees like yours are not justifiable, because students cannot service nor retire the debt post-education, not without becoming an economic drag and accepting that for their entire lives their college debt means they will never be able to ascend to normal life status like getting married, having kids or taking on auto debt or housing debt.

;)

If I had kids, the expected cost of their attendance 18 years from now over four years at my university is currently over $800,000, at my wife's state university $450,000.

Edited by lokisnow

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35 minutes ago, lokisnow said:

True, on the other hand, you probably did not have 35,000 in student debt (as I did), to repay, {snip]

That's a leap on your part. I did foster ambitions of staying the academia, but after a semester of grad school, I realized that debts I had accumulated, and was still accumulating, would crush me.  So I used the liberal arts skills and my social network to find work that started me on the track to not living in debt.

I realized that within a year or two I could jump back into graduate courses, but I liked what I learned and the stability of a salaried job. Even as I started as an hourly contract worker and made the leap to salaried employee at my company, I lived an grad student life in cheap apartment and lots of ramen noodles in order to pour as much of my money into paying off loans that had a fairly high interest rate at the time.

I'll grant you that today's debt loads are more insane than 20 years ago.

Point being: A liberal arts degree did not stop me from getting a salaried job. It took time, tears, and a lot of support from friends who were living the same kind of life at the time. I can be done, but everyone's path is different.

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On 3/27/2018 at 9:00 PM, Yukle said:

I recall reading that there are some theories that that basic unit of information in the universe is information, rather than matter. I didn't really understand it, though, beyond the basics.

It's why I hope that somebody like @Starkess reads this thread and posts in it...

... just in case, you know, she wanted to contribute. Hypothetically. :) 

:bowdown:

Aww, I was summoned! I feel so flattered. :wub: Of course I'm way late and the conversation has moved on, and information theory is way outside my area of expertise. :)

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9 hours ago, Starkess said:

Aww, I was summoned! I feel so flattered. :wub: Of course I'm way late and the conversation has moved on, and information theory is way outside my area of expertise. :)

That's when you BS and hot take! 

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On 4/2/2018 at 1:17 PM, lokisnow said:

If I had kids, the expected cost of their attendance 18 years from now over four years at my university is currently over $800,000, at my wife's state university $450,000.

Such extrapolations usually hit a brick wall somewhere along the way -- even adjusting for 18 years of inflation, most people won't be able to pay those prices. More realistically, the prices will stabilize and the institutions which cannot sustain themselves under this scenario will close. In fact, there are some which are already closing. For example:

Quote

Struggling Mount Ida College, a liberal arts school with roots dating back to 1899, will close and UMass Amherst will acquire its Newton campus under an agreement finalized Friday.

...

“The financial pressure on small colleges has never been greater, and our limited resources obligate us to consider the long-term future of our community,” Mount Ida president Barry Brown wrote in an e-mail sent Friday to students to announce the news.

Small private colleges across the country are struggling to survive, as the number of high-school-aged students decline and families are increasingly unwilling or unable to take on big student loans.

 

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Posted (edited)

For climate change we talk about getting various goals always with a historic year applied

let’s get emissions below 1990 levels by 2040!

leta get emissions below 2008 levels by 2025!

etc.

why not do the same for college, set a goal like 

get cost of attendance below 2000 levels by 2025

and heavily sanction institutions that don’t make annual progress towards that goal. And if they fail to reach that goal, strip any accreditation and tax benefits they might have.

if it works for climate change it can work for college, right? Both suffer from the same hockey stick graph disease, same solution should work.

Edited by lokisnow

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http://nymag.com/selectall/2018/04/cruzers-are-fans-of-school-shooter-nikolas-cruz.html

Again why educators of every sort are and need to be anxious:

 

Quote

 

. . .  investigators, desperately trying to vacuum up the totality of school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s presence online, found themselves face-to-face with literally hundreds of his avatars — some grinning with giant ears at right angles, others of a menacing presence with guns and body armor. “I have to tell you, it was just unreal going through these websites,” one law-enforcement official close to the investigation told me. “Seeing all the screenshots of Cruz with people claiming to be him — like they wanted to be him, like they were proud of him — it was …” he searched for the word … “freaky.”

While we’ve been marveling at how Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students have used social media to push for change in our gun laws, a little-noticed subculture called “Cruzers” or the “Niko Community” has grown up alongside them. They have created hundreds of blogs, private servers, and chat rooms where kids can get together and talk about their latest obsession: 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. A quick search of Tumblr or the voice app Discord reveals Cruz-inspired GIFs, photo collages of his face with animated hearts, and discussion groups that dissect the latest details of the investigation (with a decidedly Cruz-ian spin).

 

 

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Posted (edited)

On 4/2/2018 at 2:03 PM, The Wedge said:

That's a leap on your part. I did foster ambitions of staying the academia, but after a semester of grad school, I realized that debts I had accumulated, and was still accumulating, would crush me.  So I used the liberal arts skills and my social network to find work that started me on the track to not living in debt.

I realized that within a year or two I could jump back into graduate courses, but I liked what I learned and the stability of a salaried job. Even as I started as an hourly contract worker and made the leap to salaried employee at my company, I lived an grad student life in cheap apartment and lots of ramen noodles in order to pour as much of my money into paying off loans that had a fairly high interest rate at the time.

I'll grant you that today's debt loads are more insane than 20 years ago.

Point being: A liberal arts degree did not stop me from getting a salaried job. It took time, tears, and a lot of support from friends who were living the same kind of life at the time. I can be done, but everyone's path is different.

It sounds like you were one of  the lucky ones . Lots of college graduates  are going to be spending a good portion  of their working lives paying down those debts.  

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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On 4/6/2018 at 1:48 PM, Starkess said:

Aww, I was summoned! I feel so flattered. :wub: Of course I'm way late and the conversation has moved on, and information theory is way outside my area of expertise. :)

Shame... it was worth a try. :) And I'm sure you're just being modest. ;)

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On 4/8/2018 at 9:54 AM, GAROVORKIN said:

It sounds like you were one of  the lucky ones . Lots of college graduates  are going to be spending a good portion  of their working lives paying down those debts.  

And a lot of people who didn't graduate and didnt even get the degree.  14 years after dropping out I still owe about $20k.

 

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