Colleges have always been epicenters of political discourse. At one time they were considered bastions of free speech where young adults had the opportunity, sometimes for the first time in their lives, to speak their minds without fear of reprimand. Slowly though colleges, like almost every other institution for learning, became adult daycares. Instead of treating students as adults they were more and more treated as older high school students. This treatment of students has become worse over time and now even prestigious colleges like Harvard are trying to control who students can and cannot associate with:
A faculty committee has recommended that the College forbid students from joining all “fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations”—including co-ed groups—with the goal of phasing out the organizations entirely by May 2022.
In a 22-page report released Wednesday morning, the committee proposed that the policy—which would replace existing penalties for members of the social groups that are set to go into place in the fall—apply to students entering in the fall of 2018.
“All currently enrolled students including those who will matriculate this fall will be exempt from the new policy for the entirety of their time at Harvard,” according to the report. “This will lead to a transition period, whereby USGSOs would be phased out by May 2022.”
The committee suggested that Harvard model its new social group policy very closely on those enforced by Williams College and Bowdoin College, both of which forbid students form participating in social clubs during their time as undergraduates.
I will start this rant off by first pointing out that Harvard is a private institution and therefore can set whatever policies it damn well pleases. After all, this post isn’t aimed so much at criticizing the colleges themselves but the students who attend them.
The fact that students continue shackling themselves with debt for the “privilege” of having their lives micromanaged into adulthood baffles me. Sure, having a degree from Harvard looks damn good on a resume but there are other options out there. You can, for example, still get very good jobs from attending much cheaper universities. Hell, you can get a job that pays well by attending a technical school. Better yet, you can flex your entrepreneurial muscle and become your own boss without ever having to give a dime to an adult daycare.
Harvard is proposing to control who students can and cannot associate with. The proper response to such strong-arming is for students to practice their right of voluntary association to disassociate with Harvard. Harvard is a private institution and therefore governed heavily by market forces. If enough students decided to go elsewhere, it would cut into Harvard’s profits. That would eventually force it to decide to either start treating its adult students like adults or to slowly decay into a penniless institution whose staff is left having to reminisce about the good old days when they could afford to pay high-quality teachers instead of cut-rate rejects who were fired from every other institution.
Colleges don’t have to be daycares. It’s within the students’ power to change it.