University Of The Absurd

Recently I sat down with a young woman who shared with me the experience of her first year at Thurgood Marshall College, one of the six colleges of the University of California at San Diego. She explained to me that regardless of her major field of study and in order to graduate she was required to take certain “general education” courses, the centerpiece of which is a three-quarter, 16-unit creation called “Dimensions of Culture.” What she had to tell me is a warning to both parents and students.

The Dimensions of Culture program (DOC) is an introductory three-quarter social science sequence that is required of all first year students at Thurgood Marshall College, UCSD. Successful completion of the DOC sequence satisfies the University of California writing requirement. The course is a study in the social construction of individual identity and it surveys a range of social differences and stratifications that shape the nature of human attachment to self, work, community, and a sense of nation. Central to the course objective is the question of how scholars move from knowledge to action. UCSD Course Description

Edgar B. Anderson: So let’s talk about Dimensions of Culture. That’s vague. What’s that mean?

Student: I don’t know. Each quarter, the first quarter is called Diversity, the second quarter is called Justice, and the third quarter is called Imagination. So Diversity is we studied everything about minorities – like women, homosexuals, and then Asians, blacks, Latinos.

Q. So what’s left out – white males?

A. Yeah, pretty much if you’re a white male you’re bad, that’s kind of the joke among all the students.

Q. Women are not even a minority, they’re a majority.

A. But it’s more about the workforce.

Q. Power.

A. Yeah, that’s kind of how they presented it. We didn’t really focus on women that much. It was mainly how Asians have been oppressed in history and how Latinos continue to be oppressed and how blacks continue to be oppressed, all of that.

Q. Is there any mention of how successful Asians are in the culture?

A. They say that it’s a stereotype because whites have labeled Asians as smart in order to put down black people.

Q. And how about Latin Americans now?

A. That we also put them down…

Q. So this is your Diversity class.

A. Yeah, that was Diversity.

Q. Justice.

A. I liked that quarter best because all it was about were Supreme Court cases like affirmative action and Brown v. Board… My teaching assistant, who you have in discussions twice a week, was crazy. I remember one day she was talking about how there should be affirmative action in terms of who becomes a Fortune 500 CEO and that they should require that a certain percent of all CEOs in Fortune 500 companies be women. I said I disagree, “Who’s to say that a woman is going to be a better CEO than a man? Let’s be honest, you know, a lot of women don’t become CEOs because most women choose to not work as much ’cause you have no life if you’re a CEO to raise a family or anything.” But she said, “How can you be a woman and think that? That’s totally wrong. That’s what’s wrong with women in our society because we need affirmative action to get ahead.” She was unbelievable.

When we talked about investment bankers and people who worked in finance… she said, “Well, I hate investment bankers anyway, I hate them, I hate their whole attitude.” And she went on and on how they’re terrible people…

Q. So Imagination. What is that?

A. I really don’t know. I had no idea what was going on in that class. And even the TA said she had no idea what it was about…

Q. But did you have reading lists?

A. Yeah, I have the book. You’d spend a week on Vonnegut or similar writing, or the next week it’d be about graffiti, and another week it’d be immigration, and another week it’d be Vietnam. It wasn’t tied together at all, so we never ended up with anything.

But I remember for graffiti the professor said how pretty much we don’t understand that it’s an art form, and it’s just a misunderstanding why people don’t like graffiti and why police try to cover it up. She said that people are just trying to express themselves, and she never went into how it was vandalism or anything like that.
When we talked about the entertainment industry and the show The L-Word, she said that having straight actresses portray lesbians was the same as white people painting themselves black. And so I don’t think that anyone agreed with her on that.

Q. In these classes were there a lot of student challenges?

A. No, the only student challenges were when she was talking about The L-Word, and that was the only time when people like really disagreed with her, and she was just so adamant about it.

Q. So through Diversity, Justice, and Imagination you found generally students simply took notes?

A. Um-huh. Well, [the school] is majority Asian, and half of the class, especially in Diversity, was like, “Poor Asians, we’re mean to them.” So, you know, they had no reason to complain.


Q. Did they talk about blacks and their problems? Is it all blamed on whites?

A. It was all just, you know, people are racist toward them…

Q. Did they talk about the fact that blacks have a 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate-

A. No. Okay, very few black people go to UC Diego, and so they’re trying to get more African-Americans to come, and we read this article saying, “Let’s be honest here, UC San Diego has no sports, it’s pretty much all science, and there are just a lot of blacks that go to school to do sports or are not into biology.” And, oh my gosh, that was terrible, and they’re like, “I can’t believe this was written. You can’t say that blacks only do sports.”

Q. Wait a minute, where did that statement come from, that most blacks-

A. In our reader someone had written the article saying that it’s not that they’re not getting in, but it’s that they don’t want to come here.

Q. And the reaction was from whom-

A. The lecturer and the TA-

Q. Found it outrageous to say that.

A. Yeah, because the reason that they’re not coming here is because our public schools and high schools aren’t providing any opportunities for them so that they don’t apply to college.

Q. Is there ever any mention that some groups of students for whatever reasons are studying harder?

A. No… But I just felt like it must have been really awkward to be black in this class especially when they were talking about why do no blacks go to UCSD. And they’d almost [ask] “Why do you go here, and why do no other blacks go here?” It was really awkward.

And talking about hip-hop and rap, [they’d say] it’s weird how white people listen to it. The one black guy I knew in my class said, “I don’t think it’s a big deal if white people listen to black rap. I don’t understand why we’re getting so upset about it… I don’t care, I don’t feel offended.” But the white TA insisted, “A lot of black people feel offended, and [white people] think they know what it’s like to be black even though they don’t, and they like pretend to be black, and it’s really offensive…”

Q. This is part of the classroom discussion?

A. Yeah, and then we like listened to rap music and analyzed if it was good or not.


A. Everyone hated the class, and they know it, and even at the end of the year they gave out these pins that said, “I survived DOC.” And the lecturers [asked] “Aren’t you so glad it’s done?”

And all my white friends were just so disgusted because all it’d be is, “Let’s go learn how we’re bad again,” that’s all it was…

And I think I am just so sick of analyzing race relations, and I really feel like our country would be a less racist place if people didn’t continue to focus on it…

Q. How did Asian students you know feel about this class?

A. I don’t really know… I mean, they all thought it was dumb, but I don’t know if they disagreed with what they were saying…

And my Mexican friends, I remember when we were studying for the final, and one of the sections is on immigration, they joked, “Can we just write, ‘We emigrated here from Mexico.’? We’ll probably get an A if we only write that.” They were all joking that they should just write, “I crossed the border with my family,” and, you know, it was a joke, “Oh, wow! You immigrated here! A+.”

I was just so fed up with it. And when they talked about immigration they never differentiated between illegal and legal immigration… I made a comment that it was unfair that people can sneak in from the south, and yet if you’re coming from Russia or Norway you have to wait years to legally immigrate, and the response was that our foreign policy hasn’t affected those countries so we’re not forcing them to come over here…

Q. What about the idea that this is stolen land?

A. Well, she [the lecturer] said people don’t understand that the Mexicans used to have California and so we shouldn’t stop them from immigrating here… She was pretty much advocating for a completely open border and just gave no idea of the problems that would cause at all.


A. I guess what annoyed me most about this class is that they said that it was, you know, everyone can have their opinion, you’re really entrusted in like learning, but if you said anything against what they thought, they were mean. And I remember on my paper I wrote about the Supreme Court case that dealt with Seattle [racial quotas] in which I said that it’s unconstitutional, which is what the Supreme Court decided, I literally spent an hour arguing with my TA before I turned it in because she said, “I think you’re wrong.”

Q. And you wrote that it was unconstitutional to do what?

A. The Seattle case was about having quotas for different races going to high school. They presented it as only white people were upset about it and never talked about how minorities were just as upset … but so yeah, I spent an hour, and she finally was like, “Okay, we’ll agree to disagree. I don’t agree with what you’re saying, I think it is constitutional.” So I turned in the paper, I get an A, and she writes on my paper, “Just so you know, I still think you’re wrong.” It was supposed to be a persuasive essay or argumentative, and I wanted to say, “Aren’t you supposed to be grading on how I’m arguing, not on my opinions?” It was ridiculous. I didn’t learn to write at all in that class. You had to write pretty much what they wanted, or you had to go and fight for an hour. And I’m sure she just knew that she couldn’t give me a B-, or else I’d have gone and complained. So I was just disgusted by it and that she was just so rude.

Q. And what are the qualifications of these teachers? Are these professors or are these-

A. No, these are teaching assistants, but they teach the discussions, as the professor does the lectures, and then they have teaching assistants do the discussions, and the teaching assistants grade.

Q. Was there any student opportunity to feedback, respond in the lectures, or you just listened and took notes?

A. You could raise your hand, but very few people ever did. It was a huge lecture hall.

Q. Oh, I see, a big auditorium.

A. Yeah, so I mean I never personally talked to any of my professors.


[A normal yearly course load at the University of California consists of 36 to 48 units. The required Dimensions of Culture program consumed 16 units, about 40% of the student’s freshman year course work. You can read more about Dimensions of Culture here.]


22 thoughts on “University Of The Absurd

  1. This article completely misrepresents DOC. Next time, try interviewing a student that knows what he or she is talking about.

  2. Aside from the naivet? or intellectual dishonesty of Dr. Wasson implication that there is any chance at all implication that there is any chance that knowledge and achievement will ever be the sole criteria for securing a post in the academy, she certainly would have benefitted from taking a course in African American history if she thinks that a law such as she describes has even the slightest chance of being effective.

  3. I am sorry that I got the part about the school being mostly right wrong.
    I stick to my general statements regarding eduction. College is a time of self study it is fundamentally different than high school. Even at the community college level my better professors start out with the assumption that the the assigned text has been read, homework has been completed notes have been prepared and questions have been prepared to ask the teacher. There simply isn’t enough class room time for the teacher to be the primary source of information from the students.
    I did have one professor who taught in manner that didn’t require the book. I left the class thinking why did I sped 150 dollars on that book and why did I have was my time wasted.
    When a student walks into a college class they should be expecting a few comments on what the latest research has revealed, some help in understanding how to study the material, and explanation of difficult points not be spoon fed anything.
    For those of you who don’t think that you need to understand other cultures remember that the United States is a country that is a provider of services both here and and on the international market.
    You think that Indian worker responding to your tech inquiries speaks with a Texan accent when she is speaking english with her friends? The reality is that service economies are about customer service. Companies want their products to be bought by people, people who are increasingly less likely to be white or American. If you have lived all your life in a little white, or black or Asian neighborhood and never had to come into contact with people who are from a different culture you are not going to be used to the process required to deal in a multicultural society.
    You may think that companies don’t give a damn about multiculturalism but you are would be very very wrong. It used to be than graduating with anthropology degree meant spending months out in the bush talking to some small tribe somewhere. Now it much more likely to be mean working for some fortune 500 company finding out why people don’t like mp3 players in the poo shade of brown.
    You might also ask yourself the author only asked about negative aspects of African American culture and only positive aspects of Asian culture. He himself is presenting a very specific and pretty simplistic view of culture.
    An interesting question might have been since record companies make the vast majority of their money on Rap music from sales of products to white teenagers and advertising aimed at them, how likely is it that rap music represents black culture?
    I wish I had more time to follow through now, but you know the three hours.
    One last thought though. While American education is generally quite poor American universities are by almost every measure considered superior to their foreign counterparts. However because students graduate with such ruinous debts they are quickly loosing the ability to compete in global marketplace.
    If an employer can chose between a student whose education is largely funded by tax payers and therefore can accept a relatively low starting salary or one who has huge debts and therefor must be making a much larger salary within the first six months of his or her employment which do you think they will choose?
    The real tragedy of this course is not that propaganda pretending to be education, but it a high school class pretending to be a collage class. American students receive such poor secondary education that they do in their freshman year what everyone else did two years ago in secondary school.
    We simply can’t afford to pay college prices for high school instruction and if we are going to compete in world market without government subsidies present in most other first world nations students are going to have to a lot of luxuries. First students support of farm teams for the NFL and NBA will have to go. But also get ready for less partying, bigger lecture halls and the wonders of on line learning.
    Think about some of your posts. Are you supporting academic diversity or really just your own political agenda. Another question for those who don’t think they need to hear about other lifestyles in America. Where you surprised by Reverend Wrights sermons? If so, don’t you find that a little disturbing. If there is a whole group of people right down the street who are getting more and more pissed don’t you want to deal with it before it deals with you?
    join the revolution at

  4. Mr. Anderson’s article is proof of what most serious academics alredy know, but are loath to express for fear of retribution by zealous diversiphiles among their ranks: The contemporary ivory tower has become a theatre of the absurd, and reason has taken a permanent sabbatical.
    The white-guilt rhetoric of the UC professors and TA’s described in Mr. Anderson’s article is no less poisonous than the rhetoric of Obama’s spiritual advisor, the Reverend Wright. At least the latter does not charge his audience high fees (tuition) to listen to his sermons, and dissent is unlikely to have the lingering consequences for the future that the lowering of a course grade undoubtedly has.
    The answer to returning the academic pulpit to a place of reason and sanity is to prevent the hiring of biased ideologues in the first place. Americans can do so this November by supporting Ward Connerly’s state ballot initiatives which aim at race neutrality in public employment, including public education.
    Finally, no candidate for a university post should ever be asked to prove his “commitment to diversity.” Knowledge and achievement in one’s discipline must be the sole criteria for securing a post in the academy.
    The time for change is long overdue. May the voting public speak loudly and clearly at the ballot box.
    Dr. Sylvia Wasson

  5. I currently attend UCSD but as a John Muir College student. Our requirements for GEs is far different than Marshall’s and there is no way that I will ever come across a similar class to that mentioned above as a requirement. It’s pretty sad how some people have judged the rest of the school based upon one student’s opinion and the possible failure of a quarter’s course.
    I was just reading this article and it seems the bias comes across really clear. The sense I get is that hearing about these topics and “how you’re wrong” has really got to this student. First of all, the TA’s teach a discussion and all it is is really to further develop the subject and supplement the learning. I cannot say for this class, but for the classes I have taken so far, it is to the discretion of the TA of how they want to proceed with the discussion which means that the TA this student had could just be her bad luck. In my political science classes where discussion is key, I have never had a TA who voiced his or her opinion so “rudely” as described by the student. TAs are given a topic to cover in which they try to get students to participate and when people don’t participate they will say something, in order to still get participation. They might say a leading question that is extreme and controversial to get the students to respond since it’s easier.
    “Q. How did Asian students you know feel about this class?
    A. I don’t really know… I mean, they all thought it was dumb, but I don’t know if they disagreed with what they were saying…”
    What we can infer: This student can’t comment on how Asians “she knows” feels which means she doesn’t have Asian friends in this college. Given the conditions of the school is majority Asian and her class is close to 50% Asian that is pretty pathetic. Another thing though, this student didn’t “know” of how the Asian students felt meaning the Asian students probably didn’t voice out what they felt in discussion which is why I think the TA made such an effort to say whack crazy things.
    Another thing about this article is that this student is clearly white, and her perspective is clear.
    “A. They say that it’s a stereotype because whites have labeled Asians as smart in order to put down black people.
    Q. And how about Latin Americans now?
    A. That we also put them down…”
    “But I remember for graffiti the professor said how pretty much we don’t understand that it’s an art form”
    “half of the class, especially in Diversity, was like, “Poor Asians, we’re mean to them.” So, you know, they had no reason to complain.

    I make the point about how’s she’s white, which no has addressed, because in these and other instances she chooses not to refer herself as an sole individual but as a part of the “white” group. Just notice all the uses of “we”. It might be a failure of the teaching or it could just the underlying feelings of this girl, but take a look in how she and her classmates use “Poor Asians, we’re mean to them”. Replace Asians with another group in the appropriate context and you’ll see how this girl comes across. No one or no group needs the pity.
    Aside from her previous comment, it seems like she can’t swallow what other people think. So it’s no wonder this article comes across as almost defaming to UCSD. This student feels like she’s attacked and not allowed to express her opinion which is not the case. She feels so righteous about herself that she has to complain and argue about her essay before it’s even turned in. Hello? She got a freaking A on her essay. If that TA really had a problem with what she thought then she would’ve lowered that grade by a lot. Yet, that student still argues, “Aren’t you supposed to be grading on how I’m arguing, not on my opinions?” It’s pretty clear what the TA graded her on. It’s also pretty clear that this student’s course evaluation is strongly biased by how she thinks the world revolves around her.
    In conclusion, classes at UCSD are not always taught by the same professors or TAs. It actually changes quarter to quarter and with it is change in the curriculum and material. The concepts and main objectives are still there, but the method and procedure can vary. Sometimes, curriculum will also change so that this student, who is commenting about her experience from at least a year ago, do not apply anymore. And now, let’s not all forget about how this is all just one person’s view. If this was so pervasive and prevalent and bad as depicted, then I’m sure some people would not teach anymore and curriculum would’ve changed.

  6. Dr. D.,
    Re: Your comments to Mr. Hotchkiss.
    As a retired engineering professor, you labor under the misapprehension that the modern American university actually believes that there is something called truth which should be transmitted to the students entrusted to its care. Well, actually there are some that do accept this mission, but they seem increasingly rare from everything I hear.
    As one trained in the sciences at the undergraduate level, I share your “prejudice” about there being a reality which can be accurately described and transmitted within the limits of current but ever expanding knowledge. But you and I both know that a large segment of present-day academia believes in a deconstructionist philosophy that defines “truth” as any idea which has sufficient political and cultural currency to move minds in the direction that a movement sees as desirable. Diversity as an unalloyed cultural gopd is one such example of current “truth.”
    I guess biologists, chemists, and particularly engineers cannot afford to revel in such balderdash. These build or describe things which must work in the real world, and not the fantasy planet that many current professors inhabit.

  7. Classes like this do nothing but create a permanent distaste for such discussions in the students forced to suffer through them. They also create a permanent conviction that anyone involved in ethnic studies is an incorrigible bonehead.
    Turning to a minor point, I find it amazing that anyone would argue that Mexico has a any right to California at all. What is the argument? “I stole it from the Indians, you stole it from me, and I want it back?” There were only 11,000 Mexicans in California at the time the U.S. annexed it, but more than 100,000 Indians. (Reference: Perkins, Bradfor, Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, Vol. I, The Creation of a Republican Empire, 1776-1865 [Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 171])

  8. I’ve got two kids with 99th percentile test scores and large college trust funds. We’ll start making college decisions in 2010.
    I really hate it when I have to scratch a top school off the acceptable list. Duke’s gone, of course. Columbia fell off with their freshman hate-whitey indoctrination sessions. Yale is a wobbler (Taliban man). Dartmouth is gone, their PC trustee battles aren’t acceptable. I’m a UCI alum, and with the Jihadist presence on campus they won’t go there. Last time I went to a library at UCI to do some research a guy was in the quad screaming “America must die!!! Death to Israel! Death to Jews!” No one batted an eye.
    It’s real simple. An education at a top school is about $200k. I’m not going to give any school that much money to have my kids taught this nonsense.

  9. From the interview:
    Well, [the school] is majority Asian
    From Mr Hotchkiss’s comment defending this indoctrination program:
    [T]he student mentions that the majority of students at the university are white. Therefore it is appropriate for professors to provide viewpoints that may be outside the experiences of the majority of students.
    In his determination to emit the party line without regard to other considerations, he could be one of the TAs she’s talking about. When you’re riding high on pre-fab narrative, who cares about silly old facts?
    And… what sort of person comes to college in 2008 with no experience or understanding of other races? I mean, apart from one that’s spun himself an ideological cocoon?

  10. In addition to the three Dimensions of Culture courses, students must take two humanities courses in ethnic studies and Third World cultures, according to the Thurgood Marshall College info. “Western Civ” is not required in any form. That seems like a lot of time studying minority cultures, especially given the high percentage of students who are trying to complete demanding science and technology majors that leave them little time for electives.
    The student didn’t say that a majority of UC-San Diego students are white. In fact, whites are a minority, along with Hispanics and blacks. Asian-Americans are the majority population.
    In California, where most UC-San Diego grads will work, the average workplace contains people of various ethnicities and backgrounds. They tend to work together well by emphasizing their common goal — cure cancer! design new software! — rather than celebrating or agonizing about their differences.

  11. My comments are primarily on Mr. Hotchkiss’ comments. I really have a hard time understanding why Mr. Hotchkiss is a university student.
    He seems to be entirely satisfied with being taught by a TA with only slightly more academic credentials than he himself already has. He can get this at a community college for a lot less money, and often get some one who speaks better English to boot.
    Three hours of preparation every hour of in class time is not a likely requirement. I am a retired engineering professor, and I know how very hard it has been for generations to try to get two hours of preparation for each hour of class time. I doubt that this generation is giving 50% more preparation, even though it may be ever so urgently needed.
    The American college system is different from the European tutorial system, and class attendance is a basic component of the American system. For this reason, a good lecture, given by a competent teacher, is fundamental to the process. Teaching Assistants only rarely fulfill this requirement. As Mr. Hotchkiss says, in some countries it is quite rare for students to attend lectures, but that is not the American system, and we are talking about an American university here.
    Perhaps his most interesting idea is this one, “So any bias in the class room lectures is easily solved by self study.” In this case, why is Mr. Hotchkiss in the university at all? It can all be learned at home, and at considerably less cost and more convenience (and less environmental consequence as well, just to excite the Left). No, a student has a right to expect to get a good and proper education from what he hears in class. The reading is in addition to what he hears in class, not in place of it.
    Are students there simply to hear a variety of ideas, claims and counter claims, or are they there to hear ideas that have real value? Are they there to hear ideas that have been tested through time and found to be useful? Just to hear a bunch of noise from a variety of sources is hardly education.
    Finally we get to his closing point, Thus it is important that students be exposed to points of view that they are not going to see in later life.” Why??
    This exposes the dangers of the student who thinks he already knows how to evaluate what he needs to know. This is the same problem with student evaluations of faculty. It is foolhardy to have some sophomore tell a highly learned professor that they really don’t know their subject, but it happens all the time. Faculty make mistakes, as is evidenced here by this stupid course sequence, but students are not the ones to make the corrections.

  12. I attended Revelle in the 1970s, the first college of UCSD to open. At that time there were also Muir and 3rd college. Third college was advertised that it’s purpose was to break the ghetto cycle. Communications and Urban Renewal were the two biggest majors at this college, now renamed Thurgood Marshall. Revelle was so science oriented, that they only had BAs given … to prove that you had a well rounded education. All students had to satisfy very rigid lower division requirements. The requirements today are similar. Five quarters of science, 4 of math (calculus and statistics) 6 quarters of humanities, 3 of social science, 2 yrs of college level foreign language or passing proficiency in that language, computer programming and probably several others as well. This was required of ALL students, regardless of major. Each college has it’s own requirements. These are on the internet and are readily available to parents and perspective students. My son currently attends Muir, the 2nd college, which also has rigorous but far more flexible requirements than Revelle does. I remember my surprise when I got my diploma. It merely said University of California San Diego. No mention of which college and, even in the 1970s, there was a tremendous difference in the rigor between the colleges.

  13. Apparently the students are fed this crap instead of reading from the world’s great literature.
    They are being shortchanged
    We Californians are going to end up with an ?lite class that is mostly Asian and an underclass that is mostly Mexican.

  14. Thirdly the student mentions that the majority of students at the university are white.
    ” Um-huh. Well, [the school] is majority Asian, and half of the class, especially in Diversity, was like, “Poor Asians, we’re mean to them.” So, you know, they had no reason to complain.”
    I am unable to reconcile your statement with the text. Please elucidate.

  15. Robert, Your argument defending this idiocy fails on several fronts: (1) I currently attend a prestigious university (think Vince Lomabrdi and G. Gordon Liddy) and have not had a single teaching assistant for any course, either lower core or upper major specific. Perhaps your example is done where the faculty has established this as a tradition, but it does not excuse laziness. Teachers teach. Good teachers
    (2) Your assumption is that African-Americans, Latinos, Gays, women… (on and on and on) have dissimilar thinking processes that students need to be exposed to. This is a type of racist (homophobic, misogynist…) mindset that presupposes ethnicity/orientation/gender… as a determinant of cognitive capacity.
    (3) The vast majority of students will enter the work force lacking fundamental knowledge and skills by this plan. Employers want employees who can think both independently and exhibit initiative. Whether they understand the the feminist perspective or any number of post-modern nuggets matters zippo in the big picture. Exposure to the “themes of struggle and social justice” in Rigoberta Menchu and Maya Angelou will not pay the rent.
    (4) You’re an imbecile.

  16. Political indoctrination of students has to stop. If parents had any idea of what is happening on our campuses and how money is wasted on political correctness there would be firestorm. This is as bad as Wade Churchill the faux indian and his teaching of Marxism in class. Maybe its time for social science to be dropped from all college level curriculmns, long ago they have reached their apogee in the Peter Principal and are now teaching violent revolution and getting paid for it; the Social ‘Science’ departments have become propagandists and are dangerous.

  17. College professors (outside of the hard sciences) are, increasingly, not the intellectual descendents of the scholars of the past, but the intellectual descendents of Establishment clergymen. Their focus is not on the discovery of truth, but rather the transmission of received opinion and the inculculation of beliefs about moral values.

  18. Regarding Mr. Hotchkiss:
    The quality of an education is not about WHO does the teaching (TA or professor or lay educator) and not necessarily about how much effort the student may bring to the process.
    It seems to me to be a significant problem when a university (or all universities) takes it upon itself to “correct” a supposed deficiency in the social awareness of its students.
    Nobody can have survived the K-12 experience in the past several decades and have likewise failed to receive a “lifetime dosage” of race/gender/ethnicity/sexual-preference “right thinking”.
    To that extent, such studies are a sad waste of time as the student evidences through her comments.
    Finally, the assertion that “the vast majority of a student’s time” will be spent “working for companies … almost universally conservative” seems not only simplistic and judgmental but also a condition that ought not be viewed by an academic institution as deserving of “remediation”.

  19. Robert,
    I have to disagree that “any bias in the class room lectures is easily solved by self study.” At the undergraduate level, especially for freshmen, self study does not involve much independent research. The time outside the classroom is spent reading provided texts and discussing the subject with fellow students. So the ideas of the professor and TAs will dominate the experience of most students, especially if the educators seem more committed to indoctrination than to fostering diverse points of view, as seems to be the case here.

  20. I would just like to make a couple of observations about this article.
    Firstly the use of teacher assistants is widespread in academia. Often times the better the institution you are in the less you see the professors, largely because the professors are doing research.
    For example I am currently attending City College in San Diego and I rarely if ever see a TA. In fact only one of my professors has had a permanent TA.
    But when I took a course from Stephen Ambrose at the University of New Orleans about cold war presidents I never saw him, not even once. I interacted solely with the TA.
    Secondly University courses are based around self study. You should spend three hours outside class for every hour you spend in class. It is a peculiarity of the University of California system that the school’s funding is based on student attendance and therefore students are obliged to attend classes.
    In many countries it is quite rare for students to attend lectures and there is a tradition of buying notes from poorer students who pay for their studies by selling notes. Many notable graduates of prestigious universities never attended even one lecture. If memory serves me Stephen Hawking attended one or maybe two classes during his entire undergraduate study.
    So any bias in the class room lectures is easily solved by self study.
    Thirdly the student mentions that the majority of students at the university are white. Therefore it is appropriate for professors to provide viewpoints that may be outside the experiences of the majority of students.
    Fourthly the vast majority of a students time is going to be spent at in working for companies whose cultures are almost universally conservative. Thus it is important that students be exposed to points of view that they are not going to see in later life.

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