The Fear of Education

  1. In the article “Willful Ignorance on Campus” by Lee McIntrye, he discusses the uprising issue of offensive speech and if students should be protected from it. A few colleges have had incidents where a person’s right to free speech has been challenged. At Yale University, a student tried to force a professor to apologize for a supposedly offensive e-mail written by his wife. Also, at Williams College a speaker was disinvited to give a speech, even when the name of the speaker series was ironically called ‘Uncomfortable Learning’. McIntrye argues that students on campus have become a form “willful ignorance, which is when we know that there are other ideas out there, but we refuse to consider them” (McIntrye). McIntrye believes that willful ignorance should not be happening for the reason that “certainty is dangerous, especially on a college campus, where ideas are supposed to be questioned” (McIntrye). In other words, McIntrye believes that college is the best atmosphere to have everyone’s ideas challenged. This allows us to listen to other people; we can either agree or disagree with someone, but sharing why we think that way is important to other people and our own development. Do you agree with McIntrye? Is it beneficial for students to be uncomfortable in their learning environment? If students become accustomed to “willful ignorance” in college, will this hinder their ability to solve issues and disputes later in their life? If so, how are we able to help this situation?


  1. In the article “A Plague of Hyper Sensitivity” by Todd Gitlin discusses the debate that people want protection or a warning from visual or verbal disturbances. Gitlin ties the idea of uncomfortable learning with the rising numbers of rapes, sexual assaults, and murders and then goes on to say “discomfort is the crucible of learning” (Gitlin). In other words, he says that these brutalities happen in real life, and often times on college campuses. College should be preparing us for the real world, not protecting us from it. Most people can agree that rapes, sexual assaults, murders, etc. are disturbing to hear, but doesn’t that mean we should learn about them so we are more aware and able to protect ourselves better? Later in his article, he discusses that people are becoming more cautious when they speak. “We’d rather say, ‘I’m uncomfortable with what you say’ than ‘I disagree with you’” (Gitlin). People are almost afraid to really share their opinions and ideas. Does being conscious when speaking and debating hinder our learning and understanding? In Fredrik DeBoer’s article, “Watch What You Say”, he discusses that professors especially have become fearful of losing their job as a result of challenging their students and making classes “uncomfortable” for the purpose of learning and discussing. He argues there is a “pervasive culture of fear at Universities” (Deboer). Students are scared of being uncomfortable, disturbed, and challenged; professors have a fear of losing their jobs to students who are fearful. If professors don’t teach uncomfortable issues, will students be deprived? And if professors are too scared to teach certain lessons, will we be accustomed to always having a comfortable mind? Is that a bad thing?

Big Words:

Bipartisan- of, relating to, or involving members of two parties

Silo- isolate (one system, process, department, etc) from others

Fervor- intense and passionate feeling



Are the Millennials really to blame?


Our Generation has a reputation from some people of preceding generations as being lazy. Or as Thomas L. Friendman likes to describe us – the Quiet Americans, who quietly pursue our idealism at home and abroad. Throughout Friendman’s article, he argues that our generation is not being proactive to the serious issues that will greatly affect our lives’ as we grow older, and we will be in a huge predicament if we continue to do nothing. However, is our generation really able to make a difference in solving these issues? He goes on to argue if we are politically active in these issues, we are only active online. If we can make a difference, should we use technology to our advantage to help the issues at hand? Or should we make a change face-to-face, as Friendman encourages us to?

In many of these issues that our country is facing, the damage has already been done from preceding generations. Cameron Russell argues that we have already inherited this world on the brink of collapse. In Russell’s article, he argues that global warming, which may be one of our generation’s biggest problems, needs to be assessed very soon or it will be too late. Global warming is an issue for our government today. Older generations have “enjoyed the lowest energy costs in the world and failed to consider the costs of carbon emissions that made risks to the environment and the economy” (Pomeroy, Hanake). These damages that they have caused will most likely not come into effect, or atleast to its extreme, during the current government official’s lifetime. However, the damages will greatly affect us during our lifetime. Do our candidates and government officials sincerely care about an issue if it will not be affecting their lives?

Also, as a result of the older generations, us millenials “are poorer, more indebted, and less employed than generations before” (Pomeroy, Hanake). This is caused from The Great Recession. Older generations decided to make short-term adjustments, which resulted in making bigger issues in the long-run for our generation. Ross Pomeroy and William Hanke argue our current legislators are the most unproductive and are re-elected more often than not. Yet, they bash us for not making a difference. Are the older generations hypocrites by telling us to make a change when they are the ones with the power to do so? How can our generation make the current legislators focus on the issues that will affect us?

Big Words:

  1. Epitomized- condensed, summarized, abridged
  2. Insurmountable- cannot be overcome or passed over
  3. Calamity- a grievous disaster, an event or circumstance causing loss or misery