For some time, I have made a habit of asking students their major (and minor) immediately after they ask me a silly question. This is necessary because I teach two basic studies courses per semester – both populated by students from across the spectrum of academic disciplines. I have found (consistently) that nearly all inane questions and comments come from students in just a handful of academic majors.
In the past, I’ve gotten myself in hot water for suggesting that the African American Center, LGBTQIA Center, Women’s Center, and El Centro Hispano be shut down in order to ease our current state budget crisis. But, today, I propose that we go further by eliminating all academic majors and minors ending with the word “studies.”
This is not meant to be prejudicial – although, having little else to do, the Arrogant American Centers will try to make it so. Let it be known that I propose eliminating more than just Arrogant American and Hyphenated American Studies. I also want to do away with Communication Studies, Environmental Studies, Liberal Studies, Women’s Studies, and Gay and Lesbian Studies. And I want the cuts to be implemented across our sixteen-campus system.
The data I plan to use to support my proposal is not scientific. If it were, the proponents of the various “studies” programs would not understand it. So I rely principally on an unscientifically gathered collection of stupid questions I have recently heard from students in the Fill-in-the-Blank Studies era of higher education. These student comments demonstrate that their “studies” professors are truly making a difference in their lives and in the dominant “society”: *At a local grill, the waitress, a UNCW “studies” major, asked "Would you like a sweet tea or a beer?" to which I responded "The latter." She then asked, "Which one is that?" I responded by asking her "Well, why don't you just guess? You have a fifty-fifty shot at getting it right." She responded by saying "I'm not in the mood to think."
*Just two days before an exam I gave my students a review session. I told them they could ask any question as long as they did not ask me what to “focus on.” I explained that asking what to “focus on” was the same as asking “What is going to be on the test?”
First question: “What should we focus on in chapter three?”
When I refused to answer, the response was “There’s just so much to read. Where is our study guide?” (For the record, study guides are most often found in classes ending with the word “studies.” That is why “studies” students so often demand them. It’s an addiction).
*Another student wrote to tell me she was going to be missing the next class. Her question was: