Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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Backlash Against Generation Daycare
I like the idea of a global trigger warning. During freshman week all incoming students should be given a sticker like the one below that animates Columbia Journalism/Sociology Professor Todd Gitlin’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled: You Are Here to Be Disturbed:
Gitlin begins by asking, “Are we living through a plague of hypersensitivity?”
I can’t tell you how silly all this talk of microagressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings and the like sounds out in the real world. If employees in my business complained about a customer microaggression, I’d probably fire them on the spot, and tell them to leave the premises lest they risk a macroaggression. Such things might be taken seriously within the confines of the Dartmouth Bubble, but they come across as ridiculous in a society where customers can walk out the door at a moment’s notice and businesses have to fight hard every day to survive.
Harvard’s Harry Lewis hypothesized about the origins of student helplessness in his book Excellence Without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future?:
Whatever the explanation, let’s hope that members of the faculty continue to tell kids to just grow up. Such frankness will serve as an important counterbalance to the armies of administrators who want nothing more than to coddle the little darlings as if they were still in the nursery.
A good example of the latter can be found in a recent NYT piece entitled: Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers, which notes:
Nearly one in six college students has been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety within the last 12 months, according to the annual national survey by the American College Health Association.
Of course, you are anxious, young apprentices. You are at a demanding institution of higher learning where you are being stretched by challenging ideas and a heavy workload. The appropriate response to such anxiety is to gird your loins and study as hard as you possibly can. Such an effort will toughen you up for the days further out in the future when you will face real pressure — when you have to raise children, pay your mortgage, meet your quarterly numbers, get through boot camp, and maybe risk your life defending your country. I think that it is fair to assume that our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are not allowed to take a break from a firefight to ask for counselling when they feel anxious. Think about that scenario, dear students, the next time you are terrified that you might get a B+ instead of an A-.
Addendum: The contrast between different parts of the College is always a source of amusement. Do you think that QB Dalyn Williams ‘16 is feeling anxiety below at the unwanted attention he is receiving from several 250 lb. Yale linemen?
Does this Ledyard Canoe Club kayaker want to call a Dean to ask for a safe space?
Addendum: George Will’s recent column in the Washington Post goes further in deriding the infantilization of college students; he observes that free speech and the open exchange of ideas are being limited by an overwrought concern for students’ delicate psyches.
Addendum: A longtime reader writes in:
You ask the question if the QB or kayaker are feeling “anxiety,” and the answer is: of course, they are. But why is that wrong? Fear is a fabulous motivator, as is anger. Those are the emotions, though, that have become much less acceptable since, well, daycare.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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