Pushing Back

From Britishland comes this excellent news:

The University of Buckingham will become the first UK university to launch a ‘drug-free’ policy, where students will have to sign a contract promising not to take drugs on campus.
The move has been introduced in the wake of findings by The Sunday Times that reveal a 42% rise in the number of those being disciplined for drug use compared to 2015, among 116 universities.
Writing in the same paper, Sir Anthony Seldon, the University’s vice-chancellor, said that if students persisted in taking drugs, they would be expelled.

I await the same news from an American university, but I won’t hold my breath.

As an aside:  back when I was looking at studying at an overseas university, U of Buckingham caught my eye because of their excellent academic standards and reliance on a truly “classical” education. Now I wish I had gone there… and let’s be honest: could one expect anything less from a university which Margaret Thatcher helped found?

That “Human” Touch

Apparently some colleges can’t even get it right when it comes to acceptance letters:

Applicants to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health were the latest anxiety-ridden group of young people to fall victim to an admissions glitch, when, in February 2017, the school accidentally sent offers of admission to 277 students then said the notices were sent in error about an hour later. But those students are just the latest in a string of others who have suffered the same fate. Schools ranging from Carnegie Mellon to Tulane have sent admissions notices in error. In 2009, the University of California-San Diego accidentally told 28,000 students they were admitted to the school, when in fact they were rejected.

Of course, the response from these blundering fools is of the “My bad!” shrugs, along with the inexcusable excuses:

The errors are likely the result of the most mundane of office problems: IT challenges.
“For some places you’re taking relatively young professionals, you’re putting them in roles where they don’t have an enormous amount of experience with business process,” Farrell said. “The other piece is that sometimes the systems on campus, the enterprise management systems, can be very complex and not terribly user-friendly.”

I’m sorry, but we as a society are way past the “Oh, the computer got it wrong” bullshit. I’m not a litigious kind of person, but this looks like a classic case of a huge class-action “pain and suffering” payout. Without some kind of financial penalty, the universities (all of whom include courses on “Computer Science” in their curricula) have absolutely no incentive to fix this situation. So the “complex, unfriendly enterprise management systems” won’t get fixed, nor will the “inexperienced young professionals” get fired; and prospective (fee-paying) students will continue to get shafted. (My suggestion:  every time a person gets a false acceptance letter, that student should be entitled to a full-boat, all-expenses-paid four-year scholarship at the offending college. That, I think, would get someone’s attention.)

All in all, however, this sorry experience will also provide school-leavers with an excellent foretaste of corporate indifference and inefficiency, an experience that should stand them in good stead in their future careers. When their lives can be fucked up by a “mail-merge” mistake, young people will see at firsthand just how unimportant they are to Global MegaCorp Inc. If that doesn’t melt the “snowflake” mentality, nothing will.

The College Conundrum

Via Instapundit comes this NY Post article, which opens thus:

When parents and teachers urge kids to go to college, they visualize the success stories: kids who graduate on time with marketable degrees. If every student fit this profile, college would be an outstanding personal investment. Unfortunately, most students don’t fit this profile, and their returns are mediocre or worse. Indeed, plenty would be better off skipping college in favor of full-time employment.

…and then goes on to list the five worst things about college in the U.S.

I will never forget my homeschooled kids’ first impression of their college classmates after the first week of classes.

Daughter:  “OMG! They are so stupid! They have no idea what they’re doing or why they’re there!” Pause. “Most of them are gonna fail, big time.”
Son&Heir:  “When you said that most people shouldn’t go to college at all but go out and get jobs straight out of high school, I thought you were just being an elitist. But you’re right. At best, most of them should be in trade schools or something.”

As for the five worst things about college (as enumerated in the article), I can’t argue with any of them — although I would add “spring break” to the list. The worst, in my opinion, is the degree of conformity — not just to the societal “everyone has to go to college” meme, but mostly to the conformity of thought being imposed on the hapless students by their professors and by their peers.

I have to confess that I was not exposed to this pressure when I was on campus just about a decade ago. With but a few exceptions, my professors were always receptive to my sometimes-contrary opinions when I expressed them in class (perhaps because I was, in many cases, older than they were). And I never associated with other students to any degree, so I can’t talk about peer pressure. (I did, however, manage to open a few eyes among the chilluns with my forthright opinions.)

And my original thesis has been, if anything, reinforced by events, as witnessed by the appalling unemployment rates among recent graduates. Most people shouldn’t go to college. Even with the dumbing-down of curricula, emphasis on “soft” Humanities courses and the loosening of academic standards overall, most kids are still failing whenever the courses are just slightly more difficult than high-school level, or require even a small combination of intellect and hard work. The plethora of “-Studies” courses, taught on marginal subject matter and delivered by tutors only marginally more intelligent / capable than their students, have simply amplified the degree to which colleges are failing in their mission.

And the kids, along with society, are paying the price. The Post article has it exactly right in its conclusion:

What’s the alternative [to the current situation]? Simple: Dry up the funding. Since we don’t get much per tax dollar, we should cut taxpayer support. This would have obvious drawbacks if college were a fine-tuned system for turning unskilled youths into skilled adults. In the real world, however, cutting spending doesn’t just save taxpayer money; it also puts a brake on credential inflation. Waiter, cashier and cook are already common jobs for college graduates. As long as we keep churning out more college graduates, this problem is only going to get worse. Instead, we need to admit that far too many kids go to college. Cutting government subsidies is the quickest way to make them reconsider.

Amen to that.

Just A Minute, Sparky

From our mole in Scandinavia comes this little gem:

Seriously? You mean just laughing at this bullshit would send me to jail?

…and:

And who is this priceless little feministical?

So all that study in the hard sciences, and young Ashleigh is analyzing the  implications of gender differential in flatulence?

Send me to jail now, Judge Sotomayor. Because I’m never going to quit making fun of these spoiled First-World fuckups and their loony little “philosophy”, ever.

Turning Men Into Women

…and I don’t mean by surgery, either. Following on the heels of the aforementioned Girlyman TV Show comes this pile of bullshit, appearing no doubt on a campus near you:

The program bills itself as a class where men “learn how social constructs of masculinity harm them and the people around them, and work to construct healthier masculinities.” Or, as Hicks puts it, “It was eight weeks of guys discussing how they can address their actions with better self-awareness and less toxicity.
“We spoke of emotional labor, consent, violence, communication, empathy, and vulnerability,” he adds, noting that the last subject, in particular, was a struggle for him: “[I was] trained and conditioned to be tough growing up.”

Listen, Sunshine: you know why men are conditioned to be tough growing up? Because someone has to be. Otherwise, we might as well all be women — which is no doubt your whole purpose.

And by the way: masculinity is as much as “social construct” as is motherhood, you fucking charlatan.

Read the whole disgusting piece to experience the full horror, but if projectile vomiting occurs, followed by an uncontrollable urge to do something really stupid (like driving off into the distance at 120mph on a Kawasaki), don’t blame me.

FFS, what a revolting concept. Some more (oh, why not? I shouldn’t be the only one to suffer):

For the past 25 years, Mankowski has taught a course titled Psychology of Men and Masculinities, which, he says, “deconstruct[s] how masculinity is socialized as a performative mask rather than a biological imperative.” He argues that the concept of “toxic masculinity” has four main components: suppression of anything stereotypically feminine; suppression of emotions related to vulnerability, like fear, sadness, or helplessness; male domination over women and other men; and aggression.

Pro tip: anytime some tool uses the word “deconstruct” or “deconstruction” he’s a fucking Marxist. Because that’s what Commies do: it’s the desired result of “critical theory”, which doesn’t criticize, it destroys. Don’t even get me started on the term “performative mask”, as though masculinity can just be taken off at the end of a performance.

It’s not a mask, asshole; it’s the core of our being.

I need to get to Scotland, and soon, so I can engage in some Critical Killing Therapy, whereby I deconstruct a fucking female* deer’s heart into shreds with a 6.5x55mm hollowpoint bullet. Yeah, that’s doubtless a manifestation of “toxic masculinity” for pricks like Mankowski; the problem is that it’s normally dormant, but can easily be awakened by psychobabble like this bullshit.


*That’s not overt hostility towards the fairer sex, by the way: the cull is for does (i.e. Bambi’s mom), because that’s how you control the deer overpopulation problem (yes, it is a problem) in Scotland. Fucking things breed like inner-city welfare mothers. Here’s Mr. Free Market displaying some toxic masculinity after one successful day’s culling, a few years back:

I know what y’all are thinking, and it had better be “Mmmmm… venison burgers!”

Poor Teachers

Teaching has always been one of those professions which is driven by passion or idealism — the desire to teach the young about a subject the teacher thinks is worthwhile for them to know — and as with all professions that can call on people with such idealism, the pay sucks. It’s just as true for professions like acting, advertising, music and the like: you’ve got a market which just begs to exploit its workers, hence the appearance of institutions like the Screen Actors Guild and teachers’ unions which negotiate things like pay scales and working hours.

The people who sit at the bottom end of the totem pole are the part-timers: the people who don’t work enough to qualify for industry benefits, or who are kept outside the part of the hierarchy which does. Part-time creative types (as explored here) employed by ad agencies are little more than hired guns, used for a particular project and then fired when the thing ends.

What happened in tertiary education was that the academe created one way to protect its long-serving or more meritorious teachers: tenure, or the reward for a person who could continue to work at their subject (with research and/or teaching) with a certain degree of job security. It’s the dictionary definition of a guild, by the way.

I remember talking to several of my erstwhile professors when I was still a student and thinking about life after graduation, and while all of them encouraged me to go further with post-grad study (a couple still pester me to do so, incidentally), they were also all very circumspect in telling me that my job prospects would be good (because of my scholarship), but my actual employment was likely to be shaky. Even with a PhD., the best I could hope for was adjunct-professorship, which did not excite me for obvious reasons. (Then Life intervened and I had to quit any thoughts of doing that anyway.)

So this article (via Insty) evoked from me a wry smile, because it epitomizes for me not the plight of the adjunct professor who’s been forced to become a call-girl, but just emblematic of the teaching profession in general.

There is nothing she would rather do than teach. But after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.
She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch, several years ago, when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction. “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad.”

Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness.

I used to know two women, one a schoolteacher, the other a theater actress, who had to resort to this activity because they just couldn’t make ends meet on their pittance of a salary. And I’ve talked before about how I feel about prostitution — or rather, the change in my attitude towards it over time. And ironically, female adjuncts have it easier because the prostitution market favors women over men. Men deliver pizzas, women sell their bodies.

Glenn thinks that this phenomenon means that the Ivy League should be abolished. I differ somewhat in that I fail to see why academics should be treated differently from any other profession — in other words, if adjunct professors as a group are being ill-treated by their employers, they should form a union just as movie actors did back in the 1930s. There’s nothing sacred about the academe, after all: it’s a profession like any other; and its purported lofty idealism doesn’t make it any more special — especially when the institution treats its lower-tier workers so badly that they have to fuck strangers for money just to make ends meet.

So they’ve started to talk about unionizing, with a predictable response from the academe, which has ironically proven itself to be little different from the Gilded Age robber barons they would normally excoriate. In other words, the education establishment is no different from any other commercial institution, which kind of undermines the whole “sacred mission of educating” nonsense they’ve been spouting for decades.

And if they’re going to behave like corporations, perhaps — no, not perhaps — we should start treating them like one. On current performance, therefore, their results are pathetic: high dropout rates, ill-educated graduates, no ROI on university degrees, over-reliance on government funding, overpaid senior executives and authoritarian management. And let’s not forget our original thesis: junior staff needing to resort to prostitution to supplement their inadequate wages.

John D. Rockefeller would have fired the lot, if they’d run one of his companies in this way.