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

 

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Why is our Generation so Insecure and Afraid?

  1. In Todd Gitlin’s article, You are here to be Disturbed, he claims that students nowadays going to universities are scared of issues going on in the world and at their future campus before even arriving or having anything happen to them. He believes that society today is becoming to “thin skinned” and are letting issues get to us before anything even happens. One of the examples he uses is about college students, particularly females, and their fear of sexual assault. He asks his readers, “Is sexual assault on campus more common than ever, requiring new levels of preventive intervention? Or is the fear of rape, surely realistic up to a point, inordinate?” (Gitlin). Following this statement he also shows data stating that in our generation, anxiety is the number one reason students are meeting with counselors and that about half of the students end up seeking counseling help at least once while attending college. Giltin claims that studies have been shown to stating that anxiety issues in college students nowadays aren’t just about whole world issues, such as rape, or race issues, but instead are about more personal issues, like work and debt. Do you believe that this increase of anxiety in students is a big issue? Were you surprised to see the huge increase in data from previous generations to ours now? What do you think should be done to try to help students to not feel as anxious or stressed?

 

  1. In Lee McIntyre’s article, Willful ignorance on campus, he discusses how students on today’s campuses are less willing to listen to new opinions, and instead just focus on their own. He states, “Willful ignorance is when we know that there are other ideas out there, but we refuse to consider them. We believe in our own positions so strongly that no amount of evidence can persuade us to change it, such as when vaccine deniers continue to insist that the shot for measles, mumps, and rubella causes autism, despite a mountain of scientific studies that have discredited that view.” (McIntyre). In today’s society many people only have a one track mind of thinking about an issue, and think it’s only my way and no other way. What do you think about some of the points he made in his article? Do you see more people exhibiting willful ignorance around our campus? Do you think we should try to change this or do you think that having and sticking with your views without outside influences trying to change your mind is a good thing?

 

Education: Ignorant Inside and Out

  1. In an article of The Chronicle, author Todd Gitlin discusses an idea surrounding colleges in that students attend to learn, and in doing so may be suspect to discomfort. Gitlin explores the sensitive topics that typically surround college curriculum, including sexual assault, racism, and mental health, to name a few. Mental health, in this sense, seems to have risen, which is not only seen in the raise of students visiting college counseling departments, but in the opinions of the students themselves. To provide a possible explanation for these findings, Gitlin quotes clinical psychologist John Ehrenreich saying “that [young people] exhibit ‘greater narcissism, unrealistically high self-appraisal, and an increased focus on immediate gratification and on external goals such as money, image, and status.’” Ehrenreich follows this by explaining that distress is not at the faults of the young people, but that they have been generated this way and are used to being above average as a norm. This idea makes it easy to understand why young adults nowadays have trouble adjusting in uncomfortable situations. With all this in mind, the article concludes that the generation that is notorious for thin skin may have many reasons surrounding it. Does this mean it is an insult for young adults to be uncomfortable with sensitive topics, and if so, why? Is there a line to be drawn at what is considered “uncomfortable” and should exclusion from certain discusses only apply to those who are believed to be victims?
  2. In Lee McIntyre’s article “Willful Ignorance on Campus”, McIntyre introduces some ideas behind the debate of sensitivity on college campuses, exemplifying controversial topics such as global warming and offensive Halloween customs. This article focuses mainly on the idea of denialism, where McIntyre operationally defines willful ignorance as, “when we know that there are other ideas out there, but we refuse to consider them.” McIntyre also discusses the concept that people may become so defensive in their ideas that they almost “demonize” the ideas of others. Regardless of the views of each side, all individuals utilize confirmation bias, in that they will search and believe whatever evidence seems to support their beliefs. How important do you believe these behaviors are when taking in information, both in and outside of school? Have you ever caught yourself engaging in confirmation bias, or other types of ignorance in order to reaffirm your beliefs?
  3. Author Fredrik deBoer’s article “Watch What You Say” looks at sensitivity from a different perspective, one which pertains more to older adults, rather than young, new college students. In this article, deBoer discusses the taboo around voicing opinions on the internet, in a day and age where employers can easily find personal information. This issue is not focused only on students, but on faculty too, as deBoer points out by using the example of a teacher getting fired for posting on twitter before they had even begun the job. deBoer then brings in the more recently common trend of protests in college life, and the role faculty play alongside these students, in that no matter the cause or opinion, “they will ultimately be part of the institution, and serve the needs of the institution, rather than the needs of the students.” Do you believe employers, especially at universities, have right to look up, and ultimately hold against, public information about their employees, regardless to the relevance to the job? Do you believe faculty at the University of Delaware are engaged in the well-beings of their students, or simply do their job as set by the university?

 

Constitutive: Having the power of constituting, establishing, or giving formal, definite, or organized existence to something; constructive.

Demonized: Made into or represented as a demon; (now) esp. portrayed as wicked and threatening, esp. in an inaccurate or misrepresentative way.

Ephemeral: That is in existence, power, favour, popularity, etc. for a short time only; short-lived; transitory.

Is Education Curbed by Fear and Ignorance?

1.) In his recent article entitled “Willful Ignorance on Campus,” Lee McIntyre stresses the importance of being uncomfortable in a campus classroom to rid our generation of its overpowering “willful ignorance.” By this, he means that students should have their beliefs challenged by the professors and by other students so that they do not leave college believing that the only relevant side to the argument is their own. McIntyre asserts that “An education that shields students from discomfort turns colleges into country clubs that give credentials.” He is stressing the importance of challenging a students’ ideals. If a student does not have any opposition to his or her beliefs, but instead only receives praise or support, he or she will go into the work world and not be able to take into account the feelings and beliefs of other people, making them arrogant and closed-minded. Do you agree with McIntyre that being uncomfortable is a vital part of a college education? Or do you have a different view on things? Why or why not?

2.) Todd Gitlin questions the “hypersensitivity” of our generation in his article “You Are Here to be Disturbed.” He talks about bleaks topics such as rape, depression, and anxiety. Gitlin introduces and opposes the idea of “trigger warnings,” or advisement of upcoming information or visuals that call for the discretion of the viewer. He states that, “The proper way to begin understanding [the world] is to accept the unwritten contract of university education: I am here to be disturbed.” The author believes that things such as “trigger warnings” and censoring hinder the course of learning, as they shield the students from the true colors of the world. What is your stance on “trigger warnings?” Do you think that we should eliminate them in a college setting, to expose students to all of the tragedies of the world? Are there certain situations in which they should be used and others in which they can be omitted?

3.) Author Fredrik deBoer talks about fear as something that suppresses academic freedom in colleges in his article entitled “Watch What You Say.” Being a university employee himself, deBoer is frustrated with the mixed messages being put out by our society for professors and other university works alike. He states, “this advice to carefully watch one’s words comes at precisely the same time that more and more people, both within and outside academe, are calling for more public engagement by professors.” He is discontented because he believes that it is the job of the professor to speak freely, in hopes of teaching students about the real world. He believes that learning has become sheltered because professors are scared to say what they really want to say, but also scared because they feel like they must put in their own input in order to really teach. In this day, do you think that we are encouraging professors to be more public about their opinions or more quiet? Which do you think is better for the college setting?

Taking a Stance

  1. Matthew Renda’s article for The Atlantic, in combination with “After the Fall” and the article by Angus Johnston, bought to light the importance protests play in helping young adults express their disapproval. Renda retells a story that took place at the University of California at Santa Cruz, a historically liberal school set in a historically conservative town, where undergraduate students had formed a blockade on a major highway in protest of tuition increases and financial crisis. The students’ intent was to draw attention, and that they did, as the students had “[shut] down traffic for three hours…spurring response from 85 uniformed personnel and a helicopter” (Renda). The protest sparked support from outside the community, along with emphasizing the power of inconvenience when seeking attention. Since the protest, the university has undergone question in regard to the unfair treatment of these protestors. How efficient is protesting in these situations? Do you believe the outcomes really does more good than harm?
  2. Patrick Harker’s article addresses a topic that seems extremely vital to our lives as of recent; the “ever-rising cost” of tuition at the University of Delaware. Harker explains that though the university’s fees are currently at their lowest, the costs still remain somewhat unbearable. The article examines the flaws in the school’s curriculum, asserting that the manner in which the students select their classes, utilize resources both in and outside the classroom, and conduct the work within their major are askew due to a system which is “teacher-centric” (Harker). From my own perspective, I have been begun to understand the drastic differences that not only schools, but state governments have taken in regard of financial aid in the last 30 years or so. My father, a first-generation American coming from very little money, received a free-ride to Manhattan College in the late 1970’s by simply taking state-conducted test (with no relation to the SATs). To my knowledge, the state has made many budget cuts, and the test are no longer as generous. With this is mind, do you believe universities fairly organize their financial processes? Do you believe you have been “ripped-off” by the university, in any sense of the word?
  3. In an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Angus Johnston reports on not only the importance of protests in advocating for better conditions in general, but to give voice specifically to marginalized groups at universities. Johnston discusses the roles college administrations have had over the years, in which the power of the students has dwindled over time. The author brings up a more recent issue within protests; the universities reaction. Johnston states that students “occupying campus buildings were subjected to mas arrest, serious disciplinary charges, and some physical violence”, not to mention the additional protests regarding Black Lives Matter, sexual violence on campus, feminist movements, and more. In my opinion, the author summarizes these colligate issues my very simply stating that “universities as institutions have failed to adapt to demographic changes in their student populations” (Johnston). Do you believe this is so? Have universities unsuccessfully taken into account the opinions and involvement of their students as both pupils and people?

Intolerable: That cannot be tolerated, borne, or put up with; unendurable, unbearable, insupportable, insufferable

Proposition: Something proposed for discussion or solution; a problem, a riddle; a parable

Provocations: The action of provoking or inciting; incitement, impulse; instigation; (also) an instance of this; an incentive, a stimulus

Can Generation Q, or the Millennials, really change the future?

  1. In Friedman’s article, “Generation Q”, he calls, our generation the “Quiet Americans” because we are, “quietly pursing our idealism at home and abroad” (Friedman). He then says, “But Generation Q may be too quiet, too online, for its own good, and for the country’s own good” (Friedman). How do you feel about this statement? Do you believe that our generation should be nicknamed Generation Q, because we’ve been “too quiet” trying to deal with some of the issues in the world?
  2. Friedman also leads to the point that he believes we could be the solution to a lot of the problems we face in the world today, like the ones he listed, climate change, Social Security, and deficit. He says that in order to do this, “They have to get organized in a way that will force politicians to pay attention rather than just patronize them.” “Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way — by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers.” (Friedman). Cameron Russel makes the argument in her article, saying that instead of our generation trying to get the attention of the politicians, it should be Friedman’s. “Perhaps you don’t hear our screams because we gave up long ago on a having a government that listens to citizens, or on the ability of that government to take on big business by kicking it out of the bed. Friedman should be shouting at his own generation.” (Russel).Do you think if our generation decides to speak up it will actually make any difference, or will these politicians still try to roll right over us, since we are already known as too young and too quiet? Whose opinion would you agree with more, Russel’s or Friedman’s?
  3.  In Cameron Russel’s article, ” Your Generation of Hypocrisy Begat my Apathetic one”, she seems to disagree with the views brought up in Friedman’s article. She says, “These articles (15 thousand Google hits on “Gen Y apathetic”) usually miss the essential characteristics of our generation because the writers can’t seem to imagine the world from our perspective.” (Russell). Does how “privileged and advanced” our generation is said to be really impact older generations from seeing how we perceive the world and it’s issues today?
  4. Friedman says that our generation is “too online” and that none of our problems can be fixed this way. However Russel argues about how beneficial being online can actually be. “Meanwhile, let us figure out how we can use these tools that enable mass distribution and organization of ideas. It’s likely that these will be the tools we need.” (Russel). Do you agree that being in an online world now may actually be a tool we may be able to use later, or do you think we should take a more physical approach?

 

Big Words:

  1. hegemony: political, economic, or military predominance or leadership, esp. by one member of a confederacy or unionizer other states
  2. accrued: accumulated or increased by growth; (esp. of interest, leave) built up over time
  3. subsidy: a tax levied on imports and exports, the income from which was granted by parliament to the sovereign to meet particular needs; a sum of money raised by this tax

The Blame Game: “Generation Q” vs. Older Generations

1.) At the end of his article entitled “Generation Q,” Thomas Friedman states that courage is “what activism looks like” and that “there is no substitute” (Friedman). He believes that there is no other way to fight the problems facing our generation without speaking up. He believes, “America needs a jolt of the idealism, activism and outrage (it must be in there) of Generation Q” (Friedman). Do you believe that Generation Q can provide this “jolt” of outrage being the quiet, technologically advanced generation we are? Or do you think we must put down our computers and use our voices instead?

2.) The authors of the first two articles, Friedman and Russell, seem to be playing a sort-of “blame game,” trying to figure out whose generation created the problems that our world today faces. Friedman states, “Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn’t change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms,” taking a jab at the emphasis our generation puts on technology. (Friedman) Russell combats this blatantly stating, “Friedman should be shouting at his own generation” (Russell). Do you think that, instead of blaming different generations, we should try to figure out a solution together? How could we work together to do this?

3.) Ross Pomeroy and William Handke, in their article called “The Most Entitled Generation Isn’t Millennials,” express similar views to the ones displayed by Cameron Russell. They too, believe that it is not our generation that is responsible for the world’s problems, but that we do have the daunting task of fixing them. However, they state “When we do begin to regularly share our opinions in the voting booth, not just on Twitter, you can be assured that we’ll act to keep this country great” (Pomeroy and Handke). How do you think the authors of this article would feel about Thomas Friedman and his views? Would they agree that our generation is too technologically-focused? Or do you think they would agree more with Cameron Russell and his view that technology is furthering progress?

4.) Friedman believes that “Generation Q may be too quiet, too online” (Friedman). Russell states that “There is a deafening roar in cyberspace,” advocating for generation Q. Finally, Pomeroy and Handke blame America’s problems on the economy, not the younger generation. Which of these authors would you most agree with and why? Is there anything you would add to their arguments?

1.) Subsidy: A tax levied on imports and exports, the income from which was granted by parliament to the sovereign to meet particular needs; a sum of money raised by this tax

2.) Hegemony: Political, economic, or military predominance or leadership

3.) Cohort: a group of persons having a common statistical characteristic, esp. that of being born in the same year