The World According to Tiff Sniff

Meandering ponderings and wonderings on the state of things.


Can I change my degree to be from another school?

Ann Coulter has been invited to speak, as a Distinguished Lecturer, at my alma mater, Harding University.

Before I get into this, I feel the need to state, unequivocally, that I had a wonderful and building time at Harding, and that I do not regret my decision to attend the school one iota. But the fact is that the school has changed pretty drastically in the five years since I left. Or maybe, more accurately, it has moved farther down the path it was on when I was there, to a place that makes me uncomfortable. And by "the school", I speak specifically of the administration and influential donors and alums, not the faculty or staff or students. So.

After reading these posts:
Mike Cope
Greg Kendall-Ball
James Wiser (check this one out especially for a great list of Coulter quotes, complete with citations.)

I feel the need to post something about this. Right now, I'm mostly just too mad, disappointed, and frustrated to really discuss the issue without being offensive, so I'll try to sum up my thoughts in bullet-points:

*The fact that Harding has openly and willingly embraced one political ideology over another severely undermines its effectiveness as an institution of higher learning. After all, a liberal arts college is supposed to expand your world view, introduce you to new concepts and societies, and help you learn the skills you need to process through new experiences. It is not to be an official spokespiece for one way of thinking. That is what our political parties are for.

*I'm not opposed to Coulter's appearance as a volatile speaker, or as one who holds one particular view over another. What breaks my heart is that it feels like a gauntlet is being thrown down. Like Harding's administration is openly saying, "This is who we are going to be now, and we just want to clear up any doubts in the minds of you who might think we'd allow a balanced perspective." It would bother me just as much if they invited someone as vitriolic from the left-wing. The point is, that by choosing her over the many, many other right-wing speakers who are not as hateful, they are leaving no doubt as to what they think about the "right" way to think. They would hate to know how many "liberals" have walked that campus.

*It also feels like a play for attention.

*Although I was a top student, a member of the history and political science honor societies, president of the pre-law club, and even an American Studies Scholar (the institution within the school that puts this series on), I have absolutely no influence with the administration. Because I don't make enough money to donate millions every year.

*Even if I did have the money to threaten to send it elsewhere, I wouldn't feel entirely comfortable doing that because there are so many amazing professors (especially in my old department) who work hard in their classes to encourage their students to think. Not to just accept the status quo, but to look at why things are the way they are, and evaluate whether they should stay the same or not. People like Mark Elrod, Larry Long, Kevin and Lori Klein, Jan Fortner, and Pat Garner taught me the skills I need to decide for myself. Since money seems to be the only influence Harding respects, I don't know how I would express disappointment to the administration without at the same time affecting the faculty I love so dearly. (This is all assuming I would have the means to donate $10 million or so a year.) (Or is it $20 million if you're a woman?)

There is a lot more running around in my head, but I'm still processing through it all. There has to be a way to get the administration's attention without resorting to name-calling or condemnation. Well, actually, I don't know. They do seem to like Ann Coulter and her tactics....

2 Responses to “Can I change my degree to be from another school?”

  1. # Blogger Malibu Librarian

    Good thoughts.

    Write Dr. Burks. I sent an email this morning to president@harding.edu; the text of my letter is in the comments section of my blog.

    If we don't voice our concerns directly to the university administration now, I fear we'll have no credibility to whine in the future. :)  

  2. # Blogger Kat Coble

    I get where you're coming from. I went to Taylor, which suffers from a similar problem, but in the other direction.

    Perhaps they just invited her because she's popular with that age group and easy on the eyes? I do know that she's very vocal about her Christianity, and that may have something to do with it as well.

    I just wish if she were going to be so vocal about her faith that she'd not be so vitriolic. It's not the wisest of countermeasures, in my opinion.  

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