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Fix College: The Real Problem is the Student

Disclaimer: All opinions in this post are those of the author, and in no way represent the opinions of Butler University.

In my last article, I examined two sides of the debate caused by this article. Those are the two sides, each of which may have some reason for being unhappy in how they were treated and how they were represented in an online publication. Here I will walk you though my personal opinion on the issue.

It’s unreasonable to ask someone to cast off who they are, whether it be your gender, race, nationality, or sexual orientation. These are the lens through which we experience the world, and are an intrinsic part of our being.

However, claiming that “I don’t think I could ever write from a black woman’s point of view because I’ve never been a black woman” is an eloquent way of saying that all people are incapable of attempting to empathize with each other. Creative Writing majors such as myself are never told “You have to write from your point of view in regards to race, gender, nationality, and sexual orientation.” Writing from the perspective of another person is naturally more difficult, but is possible with research, reflection, and an effort in understanding others.

The most disturbing part of the article is the student’s reaction to the class. Today, the journalism industry is going through incredible hardship in adapting to a new landscape of digital publishing and failing newspapers. This is an industry in need of adaptable, creative individuals. This student, in facing a challenging situation in class, decided to quit rather than stick with it and try and understand it. I only wonder what will happen when he joins the workforce in such a tumultuous time. Perhaps he would benefit from a few more classes in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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  54. John Templeton says:

    I sent the below the the Admissions office in the form on an email on December 4 and resent it December 5. Butler refused to answer my email(s). This should tell you everything you need to know about applying to Butler: you WILL see your FERPA rights tossed aside and the Office of Admissions WILL use official resources, like this website, to attack you.

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am an undergrad considering Butler’s M.A. in History program. I recently read on your Office of Admission’s official website a condemnation of a student for publishing, in an online format and publication not associated or affiliated with Butler, a criticism of a course in your undergrad program.

    http://www.butler.edu/admission/student-perspectives/blogs/andrew/2012/12/fix-college-the-real-problem-is-the-student/

    This was not a comment made in a student newspaper or in a publication unaffiliated with Butler that happened to be distributed on campus; this was and is a statement on website controlled and operated by Butler itself directly.

    1) If I apply to and am accepted by Butler, will Butler attack me through its official publications/websites if I express opinions that are critical of Butler?

    2) Is Butler required to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)? If so, how then can the above attack be reconciled?

    It is my understanding the deadline for applications for the M.A. in History is within the next few days. Please respond by the close of business December 5 so that I can make arrangements or find alternatives.

    Sincerely,

    John Templeton

  55. Anonymous says:

    What Lovelace is talking about is dispassionate intellectual inquiry in to what actually is or is not, no matter what we’d prefer (you know, the truth… which doesn’t change, no matter which race, class and/or gender one is)… and not making an argument via ad hominem attack upon authors of opinions you don’t like that, clearly, you’ve learned there and for your mentors you’ll happily do on a “university” website (although said mentors will enjoy your effort, especially your taking responsibility without mentioning them anywhere, they won’t remember you after their next breath– you’ve been used, enjoy).

  56. John Templeton says:

    So it is now the official position of Butler University, through its Office of Admissions, to target students who exercise their free speech rights in a public forum non-associated with the university? Have you never heard of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) which prohibits colleges, both public and private, from doing this? Since this is being done on the University Administration’s own website (not a student newspaper where, for example, Butler could claim little or no control and thus less liability) has anyone from your general counsel’s office talked to you about the repercussions?

  57. [...] Penned by fellow student Andrew Erlandson, and published on the university admissions office, two articles on the university’s official website take aim at Lovelace for blowing the situation “out of proportion” and for failing to be “adaptable.” [...]

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