It is no secret, that many colleges and universities go to great lengths to attract students, and get their institution noticed. The Campbell University Adrian Wiggins School of Law, for example, purchased a “conference bike” which seats up to 7 adults this past fall. Law students, it seems, feel anxious; and conducting meetings while getting exercise outdoors may help. If I were enrolled at a law school that cost $68,000 per year, and boasted a 20 percent rate of unemployment 9 months after graduation (as does the Wiggins School of Law located in North Carolina); I believe it would take more than a super-sized tricyle to reduce my stress levels. I would do something drastic, like not enrolling in that law school in the first place!
But unfortunately, the waste in higher education doesn’t end with trikes that aren’t for tots, or even lazy rivers at the student rec center. (Not to be outdone by the University of Alabama, Louisiana State has a waterpark, complete with a lazy river spelling “LSU”.) The waste extends even to course offerings. This month, the University of Kansas announced a new course to be offered fall semester 2019 titled “Angry White Male Studies.” The course purports in part to “examine recent manifestations of male anger.” The pre-requisite is a course entitled “Women, Gender, and Sexuality.” Perhaps students would be better off by taking a logic course? This sort of course sows division and promotes the idea that women and minorities in the freest, most prosperous society in history are somehow victims. If I were a white male student at the University of Kansas, I imagine I would feel angry at this suggestion.
In fairness to the University of Kansas, they are far from putting wacky course offerings on the map. Rollins College in Florida offers a course titled “Zombies, Serial Killers, and Madmen.” The purpose of a course on zombies, said professor of philosophy Eric Smaw is to study “consciousness, freedom, and responsibility.” As anyone who has ever watched The Walking Dead, knows, the mindless, flesh-eating monsters do not have the capacity for conscious thought—thus raising issues of “unevolved or reptilian brains,” said Smaw in an interview with NPR. But at least a course on zombies isn’t a direct putdown to a sizable segment of the student body. Unless of course you self-identify as a zombie…
Now, I don’t consider the study of angry white males or zombies a particularly expert field. And it is my belief that humanities courses studying such nonsense at colleges receiving federal monies is unnecessary and a waste of money. Perhaps, zombies are not the only ones among whose critical thinking skills seem to be on sabbatical.