College admission scandal
Rod Dreher’s readers on the college admission scandal:
Even here, at a university where there’s pretty limited incentive to cheat or to coast — few people choose mechanical engineering when that is their game — there are certainly problems. A dirty secret about graduate school for STEM folks is that the largely international student body is abused horribly by the professors, who know that their students, being non-citizens on visas, have made great sacrifices to come here, and have little in the way of connections or community assets or cultural knowledge to fight maltreatment and abuse. I REGULARLY hear about international students who are made to work long hours without any pay in the labs, and who do tons of research work for the 5, 6, 7 years they are here, which their professors just take and put their own names on. Since thesis master’s students and PHD students are at the mercy of their professors in terms of whether they get a degree at all (they have to pass their defense, and if the committee chair fails them, that’s that) and we are talking years of investment of time, these students put up with huge amounts of abuse and mistreatment. The faculty do whatever they want — after all, they have tenure, they are siloed in their fields, they are in Tech which is The Future and The Driver of Our Economy and which is providing Solutions! God, so much of the “tech” at my school is just messaging app development and learning how to gamify computer applications to keep teens hooked and “big data” research in order to sell people more stuff they don’t need and get them to take on more debt… I especially feel for the Iranian students I work with, who have made ENORMOUS sacrifices to be here, and who are, almost without exception, some of the most thoughtful, diligent, courteous, and intelligent people I know… and the faculty treat them like garbage. My general sense is that if you look at anything the culture is constantly telling you is Sacred or a completely Unalloyed Good (education, tech degrees, student visas, Diversity, etc.) the very purpose of the constant barrage of Sacredness is to keep people from looking too closely at what is actually going on. “Around the Sacred there is a ring of willful and communally-enforced blindness.”
There is important stuff that is done at universities, somewhere buried deep beneath all the decadence. But that stuff is so important, you could completely level the universities and it would spring up again, of its own accord, and probably in a much healthier form. (Just don’t touch the libraries, or the labs.) The net benefit of just destroying all the universities would be so immense.
It’s amazing that as someone who values knowledge over virtually everything else, and who has spent most of his life up to this point getting degrees from elite universities, I hate them this much.