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?
There is now a new despotism, equally dangerous. It is a tyranny of the individual over himself — as damaging to social utility as it is to personal intellectual growth.
You’ve probably also heard that KONY 2012’s parent organization, Invisible Children, and IC’s head filmmaker, Jason Russell, have received a great deal of criticism since the release of their viral video on March 5th.
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.
In my last column, I predicted that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would again become one of the hot-button campus political issues of the year. I just didn’t think it would happen quite so soon.