Community comment: Core curriculum

Jake Tapley

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to a letter written to the Courier & Press about the changing University Core Curriculum at USI. The letter stated that the new list of “required courses” at USI include “nothing but ‘social justice,’ ‘global warming,’ ‘sustainable community,’ etc. classes” and said that the classes were being pushed by liberals and the “United Nations Agenda 21.” The letter also states that students will be “required to attend these classes for indoctrination” and suggests that students take classes about the U.S. Constitution and read the “Federalist Papers.” For the full letter, go to the community comments on the Courier & Press website.

It has come to my attention that the university is changing the core program for students starting in 2014 and that there have been questions raised about the “liberal” courses that students are required to choose from. I would like to raise a few more questions. Since I still advise the occasional student, I want to make sure I have my information correct.

First, I’d appreciate it if you would consider publishing a list of the “conservative” and “liberal” core classes being offered at USI. I wouldn’t want a student misled when he/she is looking for an interesting class and all they have to go on is a course title like this Engineering class: “Principles of Problem Solving.” (I say, WHOSE principles? Ann Coulter’s? Ayn Rand’s? Michael Savage’s? Or are they sneaking in some Marx? – Karl or Groucho – doesn’t matter which, as both had moustaches.)

I also believe it would be very useful if you published a list of the “conservative” and “liberal” math, physics, accounting, business, American history, European history, Spanish, German, Japanese, French and Archeology classes. And we all need to know which of the engineering, biology, chemistry, physical education, comparative religion, statistics, English, research studies and library science are “liberal” and which are “conservative” classes.

While you are at it, I propose you lobby the Faculty Senate to put an asterisk next to every class that is “liberal” and “conservative.” Perhaps one asterisk for the “conservative” classes and two for the “liberals,” for obvious reasons – after all, “liberals” will always take at least two of anything.

Second, as you are conducting your research, I think it is only fair that we also publish the political leanings of ALL the faculty, staff and students at USI. We need to know their voting records; whom they voted for; are they part of a trend? Do they claim publicly that they go one way but secretly they are switch hitters? Making this information public will further your mission to inform your readers and make the college experience one that can be as insular as is possible.

Third, as a means to help parents and students identify those most like themselves and therefore help them completely avoid the messy interaction that comes with talking to people who think differently, we need to require a dress code at USI. I would like to propose pink shirts and color-coordinated pants suits for all “conservatives” with Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump ties for formal occasions, such as attending luncheons, meetings or revivals. (Red is already taken as it is one of the school colors, and we don’t want to further confuse those students who might be unable to discern the difference). And for “liberals,” we should require dark blue shirts with red Che Guevara arm bands (but only those produced by American Apparel or Frederick’s of Hollywood) and color-coordinated, Levi-quality jeans with frayed bottoms.

By requiring a dress code, we can avoid that embarrassing time, you know, when you enter a new classroom on the first day of class and you don’t know anyone and can’t figure out if you should stay or leave. The new dress code will make it possible for every student to take classes where the majority of colors are theirs.

Last, I would like you to appeal to Dr. Bennett to make the sidewalks on campus segregated. That is to say, students taking “conservative” classes shouldn’t have to walk on the walks that “liberals” walk upon, nor should they have to rub shoulders with them in elevators. A retrofitting of the university buildings is probably the safest way to go if we don’t wish for people to expand their horizons, learn different ways of thinking and develop independence.

By Lenny Dowhie
Retired Professor of Art, Emeritus, USI