The Week reports that more than 1,300 “students at Oberlin College are asking the school to put academics on the back burner so they can better turn their attention to activism.”
Particularly offensive to students are midterms essays (they’d prefer a conversation with their professor, they say) and grades below a C.
Now, one might think that the students are just looking for a respectable excuse to avoid doing the work they’ve signed up (and paid tuition) for. And that might be the ulterior motive for some. But the college’s history suggests that most should be taken at their word.
In a way, that would be more troubling. The reasons why emerge in this in-depth story in the current issue of The New Yorker, on which the The Week’s report relies.
For one thing, there’s historical precedent at Oberlin for what the students want. The college modified its grading standards in 1970 to accommodate Vietnam War activism following the Kent State shootings.The college has a long history of progressive activism, and takes it so seriously that activism can trump the usual measures of academic success. In the last several years, political passions have been inflamed enough to create a new sense of urgency. So, to many students, it seems unfair not to make accommodations that have been made before.
This article continues at [Intellectual Takeout] Students: Midterms, Low Grades Infringe on Our Activism