Meredith College Student Newspaper /
Feb. 15, 2012, edition 1 /
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collected by Danielle Smith
I don’t need to see 10,000 pic
tures of you with your onyx.
You and your boyfriend are in a
slump; we get it, move on.
Screw sisterhood! Lil, back off
my man! Love, your Big.
Since when did a “crosswalk”
become “speed up so you don’t
have to stop for the people wait
ing on the side of the road”?
Why do I have to study to be a
Even though we attend a wom
en’s college, you still need to
wear shorts to class. I don’t need
to see your butt cheeks hanging
I feel like if you have a PHD
there shouldn’t be more than
fifteen grammar mistakes in
I didn’t even attend the event,
but I just had to get the t-shirt.
I don’t need to hear what’s going
on in your bedroom at night.
Just because you’re bitter and
jaded doesn’t mean vve all need
to hate Valentine’s Day.
Damn... that last Whines and
Gripes was about me.
It’s called the living room, not
the smush room.
I almpst cried falling asleep to
the music video tribute to Wliit-
ney Houston. RIP Whitney.
Stop seeking validation of your
existence by how many likes you
receive on your Facebook status.
This is so cute, but it is not
Is it just me, or do pearls look
shitty on State sorority girls?
How many Meredith “MCG”
twitter accounts does it take to
talk about our problems?
Welcome to College
I recently came across a link to an
opinion piece written by a Meredith
student for the John William Pope
Center website. I had hoped to read a
piece that was well-composed and in
telligently written, but instead I ‘found
what essentially boils down to an im
mature blog post.
I first want to make it clear that I am
not personally attacking this student,
but rather I am attempting to define
what it means to be a college student
- and a Meredith student at that - and
how one should frame opinions con
cerning larger institutions. I welcome
comments to this response; in fact, a
dialogue on these ideas would be much
appreciated (and needed) on this cam
Though I applaud this student for
seeking out extra-curricular experienc
es, especially in a field of her interest,
I must address several flaws in the way
she presented her thoughts. (Perhaps
you should go read her piece, which
can be found under Commentaries,
Real Education - this will make more
sense if you do.) The student details
her path to attending Meredith by
comparing the college to another more
“prominent and prestigious univer
sity.” Her perhaps more open-minded
friend “dragged” her to the Meredith
table at her high school College Day,
and the author “took pity” on the
Admissions representative. Let’s stop
here for a moment. It is the hallmark of
a woman with class and intelligence to
think before she writes and to consider
the implications of her words. Did this
student consider that her language may
cause readers to think of our college
as some backward, lowly girl’s school?
How might prospective students react
to Meredith after reading just this
paragraph? Lesson Number One: Con
sider the impact of your words.
She goes on to note that her inten
tions of never cpming to a women’s
college were changed after she inter
acted with several students on campus.
However, here she slips up again: “The
part that really caught my attention
was that.. . most of the girls just go
to class in just t-shirts or pajamas.”
This statement implies that the major
ity of Meredith students do not care
about looking the part of intelligent,
on-point, put-together students. This
false generalization of Meredith stu
dents is little more than an uninformed
observation of some of her classmates.
Many students work hard to maintain
a reputation of academic seriousness,
intellectual curiosity, and profession
alism, and these qualities factor into
the way they dress. This generaliza
tion says to those unaffiliated with
Meredith College that our students
are on the whole lazy, pajama-clad
“girls” who do not take an interest
in dress as it relates to perception.
Lesson Number Two: Don’t general
ize about your peers; some of us do,
indeed, dress well.
The author goes on to attack her
so-called “liberal professors.” She
states that she heard from “several
college friends that most of the pro
fessors were liberal” and she expect
ed to have her “conservative views
challenged.” Major stopping point
again: her comments represent a
fundamental misunderstanding of
academic freedom and the nature
of college. The comments also point
toward an unhealthy close-minded-
ness that is not one of the hallmarks
of the women Meredith hopes to
attract and produce. It is important
to note that coming into an educa
tional situation (like college) is best
done with a willingness to learn and
— who would have guessed — have
your views challenged. College is
not intended to coddle students. It
is not to reinforce whatever views
you had as a high school kid. Com
ing to college with the notion that
(generalized again) most profes
sors are liberal means that you
are entering with a defensive at
titude, which makes you less likely
to clearly hear (and understand)
what is said. This leads to semantic
misunderstandings. In her article,
she accuses her “pro-choice” eth
ics professor of excluding her from
speaking her opinion on abortion.
“College is not
It is not to
ever views you
had as a
high school kid.
Academic freedom is a defining at
tribute of the American higher edu
cational system. Note these excerpts
from the Statement of Academic
Freedom and Tenure of the American
Association of University Professors:
“Academic freedom in its teaching
aspect is fundamental for the protec
tion of the rights of the teacher in
teaching and of the student to free
dom in learning” and “Teachers are
entitled to freedom in the classroom
in discussing their subject, but they
should be careful not to introduce
into their teaching controversial
matter which has no relation to their
subject.” Meredith College’s own
Faculty Handbook notes, “The aca
demic setting is distinct in the work
place, and the College will maintain
and encourage academic freedom.”
The professor in question is just as
entitled to his opinion as the student
is, and that is a protected freedom.
Whether or not her professor stated
his opinion, he would not have told
her not to speak. He might have told
her that the particular issue of abor
tion was one they would not argue
in class because of whatever ethical
framework they were studying. This
student obviously took offense and
“turned a semantic issue into a moral
one” as a professor has commented.
Here is where students must realize
that some issues cannot be argued
in class for various reasons. Those
students who are not open to under
standing the framework of discussion
will find the classroom an inhospi
table climate. What students should
realize is that they are entitled to
their opinions, but they do not have
the right to turn a moral disagree
ment into an infringement of a
professor’s own academic freedom by
turning an uncomfortable situation
into an attack on her own opinions.
If this professor is guilty of an3dhing,
it is of inducing the student to think.
Lesson Number Three: Meredith Col
lege seeks to challenge and inspire
its students. That means that stu
dents will be pushed and prodded by
their professors (who are entitled to
academic freedom). This is college;
welcome to it.
I want to close by emphasizing that
college is intended to be a learning
experience. It is supposed to be a
place where students can learn to
play in the world of collegial discus
sion by being challenged and in turn
challenging ideas and people and by
being open to new interpretations
and frameworks. I hope to see stu
dent writing in the future that re
flects this sensibility and proves that
Meredith students are competent
and thoughtful students.
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