Students at Oberlin College Want Activism for Education

Well, has it come to this or am I reading something from The Onion?  I did verify its truth.  If you look here (http://theweek.com/speedreads/626361/oberlin-students-want-abolish-midterms-grades-below-c, it seems that at least 1,300 students at Oberlin College are demanding that no grade below a C be given and that mid-term examination be eliminated.  Why?  So the students will have more time for activism.  Of course it is radical liberal activism, but that is a side note.  Let’s just forget all grades and all examinations and make college one big activist training school, with all the 1% amenities of course (since these privileged but juvenile students couldn’t live without anything less).  Please forgive the sarcasm, but this is laughable it is so silly.  But this question is not laughable:  Will the Oberlin administration give in to those demands?  At any rate, read the article and either laugh like me or cry (which I may do later).

15 thoughts on “Students at Oberlin College Want Activism for Education”

  1. This post is a little misleading. Students are asking for this term to not have grades below c and instead of midterms do something else for the grade like an interview due to how much protests have distracted from studies.

    Don’t you agree that college is about more than classes? Having students get seriously involved in an issue of police brutality, I think, is a good thing. It starts to expose them to the world instead of being trapped in a bubble.

  2. Well, I was going to let this comment go, but I have to answer. The post is relaying exactly what the students are demanding (some 1,300 of them). College includes more than just classes, but does not include less. Classes, with assessments and grades, are an essential way to make students accountable and to incentivize their study. What students do on their own time is fine, but it should not cause colleges to defer to them.

    Also, I believe you assumed what you have yet to prove–“issue of police brutality.” We can’t assess that as fact except in each individual situation and then only in light of the court system’s decisions. Methinks the students at Oberlin have adopted the mantra of “police brutality” as a general ideology.

    1. Are you questioning the existence of ANY form or example of police brutality?

      Does it exist at all as a problem, yes or no?

    2. I was taking it on a case by case basis to discuss Tamir Rice. A boy shot dead within seconds of arrival of police by a man who had been fired from his previous department, which had become a hot button issue of protest at Oberlin.

      Thank you for making assumptions.

      1. @ anonymous
        I am confident you don’t think that these Oberlin protests can bring back young Mr. Rice. What do you think these protests will accomplish? Do you think that they will lead to less deaths of young African-Americans, or more?

    3. No one is denying that certain cases of police brutality exists, but that is not the point here. The point here regards priorities. If the students at Oberlin want to get involved in protests, then, as Dr. Clauson said, they should do it on their own time. Their desire to get involved is commendable, but they ARE students and as such they DO have certain academic requirements to meet. It is not the college’s duty to cater to their perceived extra or non-curricular needs. If they feel it is a burden because their academic workload “forces” them to scale back participation in activism then how are they going to function when they get out into the world? When they leave college and get presumably get jobs are they going to say to their future boss “hey I want to go protest/etc. so I need reduced hours but please keep my salary the same”? I am pretty sure I know what their boss will tell them.

      But let’s cut to the chase. What these students are asking for is for is nothing less than for the college to give them passing grades without them having to do the work to earn them. Why they want this, or whether the subject of their activism is worthy or not, is really irrelevant to the discussion. If they think they have better things to do with their time that earn their grades, then they shouldn’t have chosen to become students there in the first place.

      1. These students are asking for passing grades for this semester without earning them. The scope is very important in this discussion.

        I think it’s commendable what they’re doing and I’d like to actually reward them for it. But I do flip flop on this :) activism comes with a cost. It’s an important lesson to see a small amount of that cost in terms of failing grades so they will be prepared for the jail time they will probably face at some point for standing up for justice.

      2. “I think it’s commendable what they’re doing and I’d like to actually reward them for it… …activism comes with a cost. It’s an important lesson to see a small amount of that cost in terms of failing grades so they will be prepared for the jail time they will probably face at some point for standing up for justice.”

        Um? What exactly do you mean by this? Why should they be prepared for facing jail time? If they are into something that results in jail time then, sorry, but that is NOT commendable and should not be rewarded. One can stand up for justice without breaking the law or risking jail time. When someone breaks the law or does something to risk jail to make a point, regardless of the motive or the justness of the cause, I believe they are then making it more about themselves, not about whatever the issue is they are protesting,etc.

        If they want to spend time as activists, that is their choice. But it was also their choice to attend college where they knew they would have to study and take exams to get passing grades. Choices have consequences and all this boils down to is a refusal by these students to accept the legitimate consequences of the way they choose to prioritize their time.

  3. Jeff Haymond said, “@ anonymous
    I am confident you don’t think that these Oberlin protests can bring back young Mr. Rice. What do you think these protests will accomplish? Do you think that they will lead to less deaths of young African-Americans, or more?”

    Jeff Haymond, if he were writing in, say, 1965:
    “I am confident you don’t think that these Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama protests can bring back young Mr. Till. What do you think these protests will accomplish? Do you think that they will lead to less deaths of young African-Americans, or more?”

    Why must so many conservatives oppose those who use peaceful means in the cause of civil rights? So many did fifty years ago, and so many do today.

    1. “Why must so many conservatives oppose those who use peaceful means in the cause of civil rights? So many did fifty years ago, and so many do today.”

      Um? Most conservatives don’t oppose peaceful, law-abiding, means to advance civil rights. I see nothing in Haymond’s comments to suggest he was saying anything of the sort. If you would pay attention to the specific context and not rush to seize upon something you think you can twist into yet another biased assault on Republicans or conservatives you might realize that. Of course, since I can’t read your mind, if by chance that was not your motive, apologies in advance.

      The specific context is solely concerned with Oberlin protesters and Dr. Haymond was specific in identifying “Oberlin protests”.

      As far as the question of what do protests accomplish, I could ask why protesters like those from Oberlin, rush to protest incidents like this but yet are silent on the rampant Chicago violence and gang culture killing way more African-Americans in the present day than the occasional irresponsible (and even intentional) police killing does. Why aren’t these protesters going to the big cities and working to change the way African-Americans treat African-Americans?

      Not trying to minimize the issue of Mr. Rice, just making an observation.

      1. Because Oberlin is just about 20 miles away from where Tamir Rice was shot. There are people protesting the violence in Chicago, spike Lee just did a movie trying to bring light to the issue (in a somewhat funny way, drawing from an ancient Greek play)

        Your argument is a common one. But even if someone only cared about police violence and not gang violence, police officers are supposed to be held to a higher standard.

        I’ll go ahead and answer Haymond’s question here.

        I believe these protests can lead to justice, I believe they can lead to police forces taking racism and racial sensitivity more seriously. I believe they can lead to less deaths not more. By the way, in my opinion the primary issue isn’t racism, it’s police brutality and lack of accountability.

  4. I said ““Why must so many conservatives oppose those who use peaceful means in the cause of civil rights? So many did fifty years ago, and so many do today.”

    And then you replied,
    “Um? Most conservatives don’t oppose peaceful, law-abiding, means to advance civil rights.”

    Do you know the difference between “many” and “most”? Did they not teach you that at Cedarville?

    If you don’t read what someone says before firing off an emotional response, how do you possibly expect me to take you seriously?

    You don’t have to answer that. We already know. :-)

    1. Jeff,

      Yes. The word “many” does not denote the exact same thing as “most” in the strict dictionary sense. But I think we both know what I was trying to say. You apparently just want to play semantic games, as usual, because you seem to WANT to elicit “emotional responses” that you can use as an excuse for put offs and, perhaps, to permit you to manufacture yet another jab at Cedarville. So how do you possibly expect me, and perhaps others, to take you seriously when everything you say always seems to be part of your ongoing “axe to grind” campaign against conservatives, Republicans, or Cedarville?

      You don’t have to answer that. We already know. :)

      Anonymous,

      The point of Oberlin’s proximity to where Rice was shot is, of course, a valid one. And yes, police officers should be held to higher standards. I readily concur with those points.

      However, I fear we have, again, jumped the track from the original discussion. And, of course, I bear my fair share of the blame for getting off, or allowing myself to be pulled, onto these rabbit trails.

      The specific topic under discussion here is NOT whether conservatives approve or oppose protests or whether police brutality exists but whether Oberlin students should be absolved from academic standards so they have more time for non-academic activities.

      And on that topic I have clearly stated my positions. If they have free time and want to protest, I say go for it. But if they want extra free time at the expense of their academic responsibilities, then they need to accept the consequences. Oberlin should not relax its academic standards for them for these reasons:

      1. When they go out and presumably begin a career, it will be unfair to their future employer if they can present credentials they did not fully earn.
      2. Whether they realize it or not, if would be unfair to the students themselves since they would not be receiving the full benefits of their money.
      3. It would be unfair to those students who DO choose to do the academic work since many could view their Oberlin education as less than it is if the college awards other students for work they haven’t done.

      Maybe I am over exaggerating, I don’t know. Maybe there is a good response for each of these, but that is simply how I see it.

  5. I accurately point out that you strawmanned me, and instead of apologizing, you reply instead “You apparently just want to play semantic games, as usual, because you seem to WANT to elicit “emotional responses” that you can use as an excuse for put offs and, perhaps, to permit you to manufacture yet another jab at Cedarville.”

    Non sequitor.

    I did not intend to generate an emotional response from you, but you gave it to me anyway.

    I guess I should say thanks, but that is not even what I wanted.

    1. I neither strawmanned you or gave an emotionally motivated response. My motivation was to contradict your assertion about conservatives which I believed to be wrong. Emotion was involved only as much as it is involved in any Human decision to respond to any comment.

      You asked the question “why must so many conservatives oppose…?”. The logical inference of that question, by the specific context in which the term “so many” was used, is that you think a large number of conservatives, in the present day, oppose peaceful means in the cause of civil rights. As it also came in a reaction to a question asked by Dr. Haymond the implication was also that you believed that Dr. Haymond “opposed peaceful means in the cause of civil rights”.

      I responded to that statement with: “Most conservatives don’t oppose peaceful, law-abiding, means to advance civil rights” and that I saw “nothing in Haymond’s comments to suggest he was saying anything of the sort.” It was a relevant disagreement with your opinion that indirectly (since “most” does not equal “all” and since I did not simply say “conservatives don’t oppose”) conceded that there are some conservatives who do oppose it. But my intention was to say that conservatives as a general rule do not, whereas your usage of “so many”, while not necessarily denoting a majority, implied, whether you intended it or not, that you held the opinion that such sentiment was far more widespread among conservatives than a small minority.

      Also, since I saw nothing in Dr. Haymond’s statement to suggest he opposed peacefully advocating for civil rights, and I saw no justifiable reason for you to make your comments, I am sure you can understand why I might then conclude that your decision to make the statement you did, and to word it the way you did, was made for the reasons I previously mentioned. And in making and stating that conclusion, I specifically said I apologized for it in advance if it was incorrect.

      Since you chose not to address that and instead opted to disparage my intelligence (and Cedarville, since your comment implied CU had not taught me something you felt they should have) and gave an excuse why you should not take me seriously, I am sure you can understand why that would only reinforce my conclusion, accurate or not, regarding your motives.

      Now, all that being said, how ’bout we go back to the beginning and I will rephrase my initial response.

      You said:
      “Why must so many conservatives oppose those who use peaceful means in the cause of civil rights? So many did fifty years ago, and so many do today.”

      I say:
      You are wrong. While I am sure there are some conservatives that might oppose peaceful means, the clear majority of them do not. Dr. Haymond was certainly not saying it and I question your motives for bringing this up in the first place. I know you dislike many things conservatives stand for but there was no reason for a disparaging remark such as this.

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