Monday, October 9, 2017

Remarks of Professor James Engell at the October 3 FAS meeting

[These remarks were delivered from handwritten notes, not a full script. Furthermore, the Parliamentarian, literally one minute prior to the meeting being called to order, urged great brevity on the speaker personally, so some of the notes were condensed and several paragraphs crossed out, which then required ex tempore transitions. This is the best reconstruction of what was said.]
It’s good we are discussing this vexed topic today. The Clark-Khurana Committee would not exist were it not for Prof. Lewis’s motion made last December [2016], when I spoke of the statutory power of discipline resting with the Faculty.
The Clark-Khurana Committee presents a narrative both explicit and implied. Explicitly, there exist problems with some of these organizations and some new action is required. Yes. There is also an underlying narrative. It goes something like this. “Most, or many”—the Report cannot make up its mind on that score and it names no names—of these organizations are not only exclusionary in the sense of not admitting every student who wishes to join, they are places where misogyny, racism, and class prejudice are fostered and practiced. From the Report: “While the larger issue of selective membership on campus is worth further discussion, our committee’s charge was to address those groups whose members and leadership are committed to practicing discrimination against their fellow students on such bases as gender, race, and class.” Acts demeaning to women have occurred at at least a few of these clubs. The kind of racial slur mentioned in the Report is abhorrent. Some of these clubs have dues not purely nominal.
However, the Report estimates that up to one-quarter of undergraduates belong to these organizations, and more women than men. Given that first-year students don’t often belong, that pushes up the fraction to closer to one-third of students in sophomore through senior years. The Report implies that these students are undermining the educational mission of the College.
Are one-third of our students in sophomore through senior year going to private spaces to practice misogyny, racism, and class prejudice? Is that why these organizations exist and attract many students? These are the students we accept and teach and whom we graduate. The College does not require students to live in the Houses, but more than 98% of them, including more than 98% of those who join these organizations, live in the Houses and participate fully in House life. The nature of some of these organizations is evolving and for some of them quite quickly. It would be unfortunate to take a sudden and absolute action regarding these organizations.
I would ask colleagues to consider what the Report implies about these organizations, and to consider that the story of the students in these organizations is more complex and often far more benign than what the Report does imply.
James Engell, Gurney Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature 

1 comment:

  1. Good-day, I'm Josef Lewis. A reputable, legitimate & accredited lender. We give out loan of all kinds in a very fast and easy way, Personal Loan, Car Loan, Home Loan, Student Loan, Business Loan, Inventor loan, Debt Consolidation. etc

    Get approved for a business or personal loans today and get funds within same week of application. These personal loans can be approved regardless of your credit and there are lots of happy customers to back up this claim. But you won’t only get the personal loan you need; you will get the cheapest one. This is our promise: We guarantee The lowest rate for all loans with free collateral benefits.

    We strive to leave a positive lasting impression by exceeding the expectations of my customers in everything I do. Our goal is to treat you with dignity and respect while providing the highest quality service in a timely manner. No social security Number required and no credit check required, 100% Guaranteed. Kindly respond immediately using the details below if interested in a loan and be free of scams..

    Call/Text +1(603) 786-7565 thanks