Sunday, February 25, 2007

CCI Commentary

The Chronicle messageboard posts a comment from someone who claims to be a Duke student who has read portions of the Campus Culture Initiative report. As the report has not been widely circulated, it is possible that the poster is actually one of the student members of the CCI.

I reproduce the comment in its entirety, with grammatical and spelling errors unchanged, since it provides a revealing glimpse into the mindset of CCI supporters:
i cannot believe some of these comments, they are ridiculous. THe committee was half made up of students and alumni and the other half were professors/administration. This isnt an attack on life at duke. In case people are totally oblivous, half the student at duke come here for the academic climate, and half for the partying/athletic climate. You are all forgetting that the primary purpose of an academic instituion is to promote intellectual growth, and yes, this can happen through athletics and fraternities/sororities. BUt it hasnt happened through fraternities/sororities. The originial purpose of these groups is to build a community centered on service, brother/sisterhood and intellectuality. BUt most of them (not all) have become a place of jsut partying, getting drunk off your ass, interacting with people only like yourself, not interacting with different people. and our residential system cannot be more sexist/racist. more than 80% of the living groups on campus are white male. where are the black frats/sorors? where are the sororities? CCI's point is that social life at duke centers on fraternities and their parties. They are the ones that have the space to throw parties, so they contorl the scene. This is unfair for all the other groups (non-whites, women, other sexual orientations) that dont have spaces. SO do you really think freshman come here and just all want to fit into this culture dominated by fraternities? no, they are forced to accept it because there are no alternatives. The fact is that half the student here are not happy. And that isnt good. CCI is jsut trying to make a more inclusive environment, wehere everyone, not jsut the half that parties and are in frats feel comfortable. I cant believe the comment made by a parent. They are deriding the CCI for makding a class about race/sex/gender mandatory for students. How racist and sexist is that parent? So you want your kid to jsut take classes about people like him and not take classes with pple of other races/sexes. So you want him to live in a bubble. Thats great, dont interact with other people. Dont try to understand other pple. Then he will turn out like you, a racist and sexist. and you all are deriding the professors. Just because professors deride the culture centered on drinking, you get angry at them. But you ignore the professor that emails fraternities and asks them to take his class becuase he likes frat guys. He gives them better grades (im not the one making this up, members of fraternities said this). HOw hypocritical are y'all? Its ok for him to do that? but its not ok to bring up the blant bad parts of our society centered on drinking. You all talk as if we all came here for this supposed atmosphere of atheltics and fraternities. BUT that is totally wrong. Duke woudlnt be "ranked" as high if it werent for the other half ot the student who actually care about intellecual pursuites (and yes, we do drink and party, but we do it responsibly, and dont ostracize people of difference). OK, why not separate duke in half. If the half with athletic teams and fraternities were "ranked", it woudlnet even make the top 50. You people make me sick becuase all we want is for everyone to get along. All you are doing is driving wedges between people. The cci just wants everyone to feel inclusive. And you make your comments before it even comes out. You make it off of a chronicl article. And yes, im making my momments now because i know some of the information in the report.


Anonymous said...

I've been along for the Hoax ride from the beginning and nothing would surprise me; and yet, methinks, this has to be a setup.


sic semper tyrannis

KC Johnson said...

Yes, it's possible it's a set-up.

That said, the commenter knows some facts that aren't exactly common knowledge (the composition of the CCI, for instance), and the sentiments are certainly ones we have heard from CCI defenders.

As for the spelling errors: I've posted a few times on the Chron messageboards: they don't have a spellcheck function, so unless you doublecheck your comments, spelling errors will go as is.

Anonymous said...

Heres a favorite, brilliant comment..

I cant believe the comment made by a parent. They are deriding the CCI for makding a class about race/sex/gender mandatory for students. How racist and sexist is that parent? So you want your kid to jsut take classes about people like him . .. Then he will turn out like you, a racist and sexist... and you all are deriding the professors.

How dare that parent, indeed! Who do they think they are; someone who is free to associate and can think for themselves? So what if theyre paying the bills for everything! Theyre just a bunch of bigots , so go shove it!

(By the way, I doubt this is a setup. Sounds like a typical Angry Studies student, to me)

Jim said...

I heard the voice of Garth from Wayne's World when I read that.

"Ok so, go and do your athletics then, because, like, athletics suck. Schaa. And I'll go, like, pretend to read a book when I'm really watching Kim Curtis. Schwing. Calling Professor Lincoln. Professor Babraham Lincoln. Way."

Anonymous said...

Spelling is one thing, but grammar and syntax?

Anonymous said...

nope. No set up. That's a for-real Duke student. The grammar, spelling, and deranged thinking are a dead give away.

Especially the deranged thinking. Dead give-away.

No set-up. The post's completely authentic, for real, and it originated with a Duke student.

My wife and I are both Duke alums. We dreamed that our daughter, now a 16 yo Jr at Oregon Episcopal in Portlan, would go to Duke.

Then the Nifong - Group of 88 scandal broke.

A year later, Duke is out of the question. I would never allow it, Janice would never allow it, and Katy think's the place is disgusting. First time the 3 of us have ever agreed on anything.

Thanks for bringing our family together, Wahneema.

[notice that I took the time to look her name up and spell it correctly. That used to be important at Duke]

Anonymous said...

"intellecual pursuites" was my favorite.

That aside, the argument is for 'institutionalized equal opportunity to socialize'. More to the point, if the caricature of frat life is removed, then everyone will have an equal opportunity for social success.

That is the liberal doctrine - average down to the 'lowest level' to achieve equality.

What this young person needs is samba lessons and probably a new shampoo. -- Wouldn't hurt the 88 either.


Anonymous said...

This seems like a troll nonetheless. I certainly don't give random Chronicle commenters any special consideration.

Anyway, in my experience, there was a "house" for everyone who wanted to be in one, not just fraternities, but selective housing, Central Campus apts, etc. Despite G88 claims to the contrary, some of us even tried to expand our horizons beyond normal comfort barriers on our own volition. I was a Christian in a Jewish-chartered fraternity, for what that's worth. Regardless, I never saw anything remotely like half the population unhappy with their living arrangements. A dual combination of a free market "economy" and the proverb "Birds of a feather flock together" will generally yield good housing fits.

Gary Packwood said...

The thoughts are real for many students I fear.

For me this is the reason Angry Studies professors and staff should spend much of their time working with the larger community...especially working on issues of safe and affordable housing and transportation along with health care for the poor. Helping to erase those barriers that exclude poor/disenfranchised people from the American dream and help write those grants to bring needed services for people in the larger community who are suffering.

Turning their rather large academic guns on young Duke students is just unconscionable. They dump emotional super glue on the age old campus debates about athletes/non-athletes, Greeks/non-Greeks and on and on. The kids don't know how to defend their position against the rain of rapid talk from these people.

I am please that Duke and the Gates Foundation is launching the service learning and volunteer project at Duke. Now perhaps, the Angry Studies professors and staff can go beat up on the whole world rather than just young people who deserve a chance to be happy.

If I was teaching this young person I would pen a note at the bottom of this little treatise and recommend consuming five or six long neck Buds after writing his or her thoughts...not before.

Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

Well if it is not a setup, then we all should remember where the term sophomoric came from.

BTW, the 2nd definition are says:

2. suggestive of or resembling the traditional sophomore; intellectually pretentious, overconfident, conceited, etc., but immature

I of course added the bold to the above most apt part of the definition.

Anonymous said...

As a grad student who has worked as a teaching assistant in large (200+ students) second-level classes, in one of the largest undergrad departments at Duke, I can say honestly that this diatribe is fairly indicative of the level of thinking and overall communication skill of the Duke undergrads. Despite the high ranking of Duke, the intellectual sophistication of the average undergrad at Duke is about the same as the university where I got my undergraduate degree, which is ranked well below Duke.

Not hating, just telling the truth. Many of the errors seem deliberate. For example "just" is spelled "jsut" several times. The first two letters of words are capitalized regularly...

Perhaps the author doesn't want to be confined by the oppressive rules of language as defined by priviliged white males.

Greg said...

This letter is not legitimate. Unless the student was writing during a drunken stupor, it has all the marks of a sixth grader in a mediorce public school; not a student admitted to Duke. The test scores and grades required to get into Duke alone would disqualify this letter as coming from a Duke student.

dhd said...

Another comment on that Chronicle messageboard (KC's "comment" link),posted by "alum" at 1:34 PM,
expresses what I've been thinking for some time:

"When did professors start becoming so interested in the student culture on campus. Duke would be better off hiring more academics who advance their fields of study and teach students in their classes proficiency in these fields and stop hiring as professors people interested in social engineering in campus. There are non-academic staff in place at Duke to help students in the campus culture area."

The active members of the Group of 88 seem to have excessive time on their hands. Most students and professors are very busy people and do not have the time to engage in argument with these bloviating social engineers. Consequently, their voices become louder and louder. Sadly, Brodhead gave them even more voice by his quick formation of the CCI committee. These irresponsible and self-serving professors should not be allowed to frame the debate, but a weak administration is allowing that. The fall of Larry Summers at Harvard has put fear in the hearts of administrators and emboldened special interest groups.

What a sad spectacle it will be to see students and alums having to defend sports and the right not to be indoctrinated by diversity courses.

I don't think much of the CCI will go into effect, but the Group of 88 types will make hay out of the opportunity to dialogue and make Duke look bad to those that don't know it well. And every student with an ax to grind will rally around them, furthering the false stereotyping of Duke students.

Anonymous said...

See 12:15, you give too much credit. The letter writer is lazy. That's why the grammar and spelling are beyond sophomoric. This individual, if indeed a Duke student, CAN write clearly and with proper grammar and spelling. They have simply chosen not to put the time and effort into the task. Much like this person has not put the time or effort into critically thinking about their position, nor rectifying the laughably contradictory comments in their opus errata, nor researching the fabulously blunt "measures" of student dissatisfaction and academic integrity.

Lazy. Not inept. A far worse intellectual sin. Being merely uneducated would allow for ignorance. This writer knows better and still publicly humiliates him or her self.

Anonymous said...

Dear disgruntled Grad Student and former teaching assistant at 12:15 AM, are you too dumping on Duke students? Poor kids. Not only are they immoral and racist, they're stupid too. You do have your work cut out for you, improving the communications skills of so many intellectually unsophisticated Dookies. Are you planning on becoming a professor after you receive your degree? You've got the right attitude.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson, I do believe that this post was a set-up. While some of the information presented is not exactly common knowledge, as you say, the errors are just laid on too thick. It is, in my estimation, a parody. Not much more.

I look forward to reading your posts, Professor Johnson. Take care.

Anonymous said...

"more than 80% of the living groups on campus are white male. where are the black frats/sorors? where are the sororities? CCI's point is that social life at duke centers on fraternities and their parties. They are the ones that have the space to throw parties, so they contorl the scene. This is unfair for all the other groups (non-whites, women, other sexual orientations) that dont have spaces."

Is there some rule that excludes other than white males from these frats/soros? Is there some reason blacks can't form their own frats/soros? I believe we just had a snippet of news about one involved recent rape? And, does this student not realize that the lack of soro living space is protection for all those women against all those violent white male rapists on campus?

This appears to me to be a black student disinfranchised because he or she doesn't have his or her own group. Falling back on the usual exclusion argument when it is solely a matter of his or her choice.

All the more revealing is that after the diatribe about "drinking" associated with the "white males," the commentor finally admits that he ALSO drinks and parties.

If this is a Duke student, I'd say that he/she is a Silly Studies major and black, venting in the language he/she has been programmed to speak.

And, the typos/misspellings are not unusual. I have a few words that I consistently hit the two caps on or turn around. However, I respect those who might read my words enough to check them before posting. If I were claiming to be a Duke student, I'd be all the more careful. This one casts a very poor reflection on his/her school.


TC said...

Kiddlets as well as adultletts shuld not drink and drive.

They also should not be typing in forms that will become publik either!


Anonymous said...

If nothing else, this article demonstrates the problem of increasing use of Instant Messaging. Long, rambling, abbreviated and, at times, incoherent thought...

In this particular case this problem is compounded as the student appears to be a product of the newly anointed race/gender/class warfare department.

This soul IS a product of the environment and validates the administrations vision in the race to the bottom. Mediocrity is excellence in a world of moral relativism, right?

Anonymous said...

I have just read numerous college guidebooks...several times. An oft repeated theme is a complaint from students about the entrenched balkanization of students on almost every single campus--regardless of the presence of Greek life. I have no real issue with a college trying to address this problem. I agree that college today is supposed allow for a real intermingling and sharing of different backgrounds and perspectives. My issue is with the character of the professors who behave the way the G88 has over the past eleven months. They have completely ceded their authority on matters of diversity with the various vicious attacks on the "other" they seem to despise, namely the white male athlete, the exaltation of the poor oppressed accuser, regardless of her integrity or that of her claims, and the strenuous efforts to heighten the public condemnation (and in effect enable the railroading) of their own students to whom they had an ethical obligation to be fair and unapologetically were not. The current CCI proposal should be scrapped and the issues readdressed at another time by professors more fastidious with ethics and interested in facts.


Steven Horwitz said...

This is almost assuredly a student. I've seen this thing with my own students - they simply do not think about their audience when they post anything on the web. To many of them, there's no difference between an email to a friend and the Chronicle's comment board, nor do they even consider the "publicness" of their words. As the earlier commenter said - lazy, not inept.

And given the student's supposed defense of the "intellectual pursuites," it's all the more sad.

I'd bet $100 that if confronted with those comments, the student would say "well yeah, I could have written them better, but this wasn't a paper, it was an 'email'." THAT is the really sad thing here, aside from, of course, the moral certainty that mimmicks that of the G88.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to point out, as a former athlete who was a member of the multicultural dorm as well as the member of a "soror", there is available living space and options for anyone who wants it. But to force it is absolutely ridiculous. As for the sororities, every few years there is a questionaire that goes around asking if the sisters want their own living space. The answer is always a resounding "NO", the most commonly cited reason when I was there being that it limited the opportunity for interaction with non-Greeks. Interesting that this writer wants to now force housing on a group who refused it in order to maintain diversity.

Anonymous said...

I ran the commentary through the Grammar and Spelling tool on my Word program. The readability statistics revealed 616 words, 46 sentences, 1 paragraph and 33 spelling and grammatical errors.
It also showed a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of 7.8.
This post received an astounding 10.7 score on the Flesch-Kincaid scale.

Anonymous said...

8:56 "This post received an astounding 10.7 score on the Flesch-Kincaid scale."

When you say "this post" at 10.7 did you mean your post? If so and with all due respect to both your effort and point, what would the post score if "Flesch-Kincaid" scale were not mentioned once, or at all?

Anonymous said...

Is it a surprise to anyone that the Greek systems are insulated? Certainly that is true at many an institution, and there are kernels of truth in some of the remarks about some Greek members. However, that does not seem to me an excuse or justification to politicize the campus or ridicule the wrongfully accused.

Anonymous said...

O.K. now I know for sure they have lowered the standards for admittance at Duke. A college student should know how to spell "because" and learn how to use capital letters at the beginning of sentences. The rambling of an apparantly black freshman or sophmore at Duke, one that the angry studies electives has programed to the group think.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that this student is most certainly a member of CCI. There is simply too much regurgitation of the Group of 88 nonsense we have been spoon fed for the past 10 months.There also appears to be a significant personal investment in the CCI recommendations. I would also agree with another poster that this student is likely a diversity admit who feels disenfranchised. (From the example of his/her writing, he/she will fit right in at Democratic Underground when he/she graduates!)
I am reminded of the comment made by a NY columnist after Richard Nixon was elected president: How could Nixon have won? None of my friends voted for him!
This person listens only to those who parrot what he believes to be true. Any dissenting voice is met with (hands over ears) " la la la la la".

Anonymous said...

I'm with those who would not label this a plant because of the spelling and grammar. This is the typical format of student instant messages and internet posts. It's not necessarily inability, and doesn't even have to be laziness. It seems that some of these kids think that correct grammar and spelling on the internet is like a business suit and wing tips at a beach party - inappropriate - bad manners.

Anonymous said...

When you say "this post" at 10.7 did you mean your post? If so and with all due respect to both your effort and point, what would the post score if "Flesch-Kincaid" scale were not mentioned once, or at all?

9:39 AM

Yes, a 10.7 for my post. A 10.4 grade level was given without mentioning Flesch-Kincaid once.

Anonymous said...

There seem to be three separate issues at hand: (1) Whether the Greek Systems are insulated, self indulgent, and self segregated (2) whether that is something that should be attempted to be addressed and (3) whether the CCI's politically correct recommendations are of any value in the second inquiry.

It seems that the first proposition is generally true. Even at colleges and universities with minority fraternies, those fraternies are just as insulated and self-segregated as the rest. The second proposition is assumed to be true by those like the 88 and the CI whose academic existence rests upon gender/class/race issues. I'm not certain that the university should interfere with such things. The third proposition, of course, is the one at issue here and whether the specific CCI recommendations are of any value whatsoever. They aren't.

GF said...

Fleisch-Kincaid grade level is a measurement of the complexity of the text, not the educational level of the writer.

Most newspaper articles don't go above 8th-grade reading level, yet I doubt that newspapers are staffed entirely by high-school dropouts.


Anonymous said...

If half of the students at Duke are unhappy, they should leave. There are certainly many who would love to take their places, according to the number of applications for admission Duke has had this year. As for the Duke alums who would never send their children to Duke: their children probably aren't academically qualified anyway. Only 10% of alum children who apply are admitted each year. It is such a face saver with your fellow parents to say that you would never send your child there rather than admit they don't have a chance at getting in. Let's see, 10 AP's, 1590 on her SAT, Salutatorian, yep, that's what it took for my child!!

Anonymous said...

6:38 Congratulations on your daughter's acceptance, she's earned the seat. Is she taking, or are you paying, for her to take any of the race/gender/class warfare courses offered by the Gang of 88 and those that abet them? In which school did she apply entry?

Her record also begs the question regarding the less qualifieds who are getting in at the expense of others who may have credentials slightly lower than your daughter.


Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 12:15 AM

So you are a teaching assistant at Duke!

I had forgotten why we refused to use teaching assistants during my faculty days.

Thanks for the reminder.