But might intellectual goals alone constitute too narrow a vision, too humble an ambition, too timid an aspiration for a university that has always dreamed for better?
One of the greatest contradictions at the heart of the modern elite university is its general refusal to explicitly prepare its students for eventual professional careers — even as it almost by definition attracts the students most qualified for, and dedicated to pursuing, eventual professional careers.
With our gaze fixated on the spectacular explosions and scintillating gossip emitted by what somehow managed to be simultaneously the least competitive and most bitter electoral campaign in recent memory, I think we may be overlooking a more important but less visible story: the story of the deep malaise that has gradually infiltrated politics on this campus.
Is this a good argument? Do mixed-race individuals have an ethical obligation to identify as members of one race, rather than many or none? And is there a special obligation in the case of mixed-race African-Americans, given this country’s long history of racial discrimination?
Here on campus, with the hotly contested issue of divestment so often taking center stage, it’s easy to forget that there are other options out there — options that all sides in this debate should feel safe supporting. Even better, they’re options that can have a concrete and measurable impact on real people, right now.