Colleges to avoid, Part I

Posted: Oct 12, 2005 12:05 AM

Over the last few months (or has it been years?), many readers have asked me to recommend some colleges and universities where I would actually send my children. I hope those readers will be patient. I’m still looking.

Since it isn’t easy to find a college where I would send my kids, I thought I would approach the problem from the opposite angle. So, today, I begin a series of reviews of colleges and universities where I would definitely not send my children. I hope you enjoy the list more than the administrators at the colleges I choose. That shouldn’t be difficult.

Recently, a student at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont informed me that his school was planning to put on a formal dance until a liberal student decided that he or she (or perhaps “it”) didn't like the theme "Black and White." Of course, most normal people understand that, in this particular context, “black and white” means that it is an event requiring formal attire. Of course, that might be heterosexist in the minds of gay students who want to wear pink tuxedos or dresses depending upon their actual or perceived gender at the time of the dance.

But, of course, at Champlain College when just one student says the dance theme has something to do with inherent racism, there can be no dance for any student. I call this the tyranny of the minority. Some just call it unmitigated idiocy.

But, of course, the fact that just one student at a college is a blithering pansy is not sufficient to completely rule out a particular institution of higher learning. That extreme measure can only be taken when the administration legitimizes the feelings of the pansy to the detriment of the emotionally stable members of the rest of the university community. So, the following email explains why Champlain College has made our list of schools that cannot be taken seriously:

From: Kennedy, Mary Kay
Sent: Fri 9/30/2005 11:19 AM
To: BROADCAST; All Students
Subject: Decision on the dance

Good morning, all:

Thank you to all of you who have e-mailed or stopped by to discuss the postponement of last night's dance.  One of our institutional goals is to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for all students, faculty, and staff.  In following up on concerns expressed regarding security coverage for the dance, we also had concerns expressed about the Black and White theme.  Although the theme was chosen with the best intentions, there was the possibility there might be unintended consequences that could be offensive or hurtful.

Our campus goal is to create an environment that is fun and welcoming to all students, faculty, and staff at all times.  To that end, we decided to reschedule the dance for next week with a new theme and appropriate security coverage.

The dialogue that is taking place on campus, in offices, in meetings and through e-mail is extremely thoughtful and important both for this situation as well as helping us to move forward as an institution to improve planning, processes, and decision making.  Please continue to share your thoughts and ideas with us.

Mary Kay Kennedy
Vice President for Student Services
Champlain College
Telephone:  802-860-2703
Fax:  802-860-2764

The following week the dance was held and, of course, the “Black and White” theme was dropped to appease the offended student.

If I were in Mary Kay Kennedy’s position, I would have written the following email to the student:

Dear offended student:

I am writing to inform you of your suspension from Champlain College. Before you return next semester, you will be asked to attend six weeks of First Amendment sensitivity training. You will also be asked to write the text of the First Amendment 1000 times or, instead, write the phrase “I understand that I have no constitutional right to absolute comfort” 1000 times. Choose the option that makes you feel most comfortable. Finally, you will be dropped in the middle of the Vermont woods during the month of December for one week. You will have to survive only on what you kill. You may bring whatever weapons you think (or feel) are necessary to make that happen. This will teach you self-sufficiency. If any of this is a problem, you are free to transfer to U.C. Berkeley, Brown, Princeton, or San Francisco State University. Sincerely,

Vice President for Student Services
Mike S. Adams

Next week, there is even more fun to be had at a public university in one of our southern “red states.” I hope you enjoy it. Ya’ll come back, now.