April 14, 2011 Volume CXXIX Issue 11

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The Boy Who Lived Somehow

This article is being written after a CEP that was perhaps the largest waste of time in a long history of time wasted attending useless CEPs. The idea of the system in place is presumably to provide students with lectures and experiences that contribute to understanding, development, and a sense of culture.

There is absolutely nothing culturally enlightening about listening to a very well-paid businessman, albeit with poor public speaking habits, meander through a disconnected speech on how to one day make more money. The worst part was not that his delivery was dull, but rather that there was likely not a single individual in the chapel unaware of the dangers of being an idiot on the internet or that cussing in job interviews is generally frowned upon. Another hour wasted.

There was nothing beneficial about the CEP, and yet, with poor timing, a student could potentially sit through over forty such events as is required to graduate. Not that anyone really takes seriously the complaints of the Back Page, but the CEP/NEXUS program needs to be taken more seriously by those who organize it if students are expected to pretend as though they are not doing homework or texting through entire events.

King Lear had a fool to tell him when he was being a D-Bag. The thing about the fool is that he gets to speak the truth in jest while others would be chopped in half for saying the same things. That being understood, a few things concerning Georgetown College and business are perhaps appropriate to voice. Plainly and simply, a college should not be run as a business. Though the College needs money and needs to make money, it should not be done in the same manner as with a large company.

The effects of the mistreatment of our College as a business operation are plentiful and apparent. Consider the First Tee Scholar Program. As anyone familiar with golf will allow, the First Tee Scholars are certainly not collectively the best golf players around. Though the mission of the program is geared towards character development, it just feels odd for it to be that a program connected to the PGA could feature people who are, relatively speaking, not that good at golf. The program is arbitrary and nice, but it is the product of a business decision. The purpose of the program is ultimately part of elaborate and ongoing efforts to create a façade of prestige at Georgetown.

Another business decision is also, quite obviously, the new Rucker Village that is currently under construction. The College can no longer publicly act as though its housing facilities are anywhere close to acceptable for a private institution of higher learning. So, the new housing units will stylishly prove that Georgetown does actually care about its students’ living conditions. But nothing seems correct about the College building nice new dorms in the interest of future students before first taking care of current students. One of the first articles written by this Editor concerned the abysmal state of affairs concerning student housing. Nothing has changed for Knight Hall or South Campus. The business decision is to find donors, make the College more attractive (allegedly) and build the nice, new Rucker Village. The right decision is to find donors, make the College more attractive and take care of the students who are here now.

The problem with the College, which is a nice way of saying the President, Trustees or whoever is actually in charge of the ways in which money is spent, is that there is too much focus on the future. There is always the next big project, plans for new dorms, new programs, new this, new that, new future. Because the focus is always on the next big thing that will attract the next big donor or make the next big headline, the needs of students who are here paying to go to Georgetown now are treated as secondary.

The solution to the problem is simple to verbalize but difficult to practically put into motion. The College as it stands, though not exclusively, may be generally characterized as too concerned with business and not enough with being a college. It is the kind of place where a speech on business practice and making money is considered an event worthy of CEP designation. The solution is to reorient the values and logic driving College operations from business to what is appropriate for an academic institution of higher learning. What this would look like is difficult to imagine, but it would certainly entail the voices of current students being requested and heard far more than they are today.

The big plan for the future should include raising the standard for student living across campus, rather than something like the once illconceived plan for a colossal dorm left over from the World Equestrian Games. It does not take much in the way of intelligence to understand that money should go to things like handicapped accessibility or environmental sustainability first and foremost, before being poured into projects ever aiming toward acquiring more money, however directly or indirectly. Blah, blah. Complain. Jest. No one is listening anyway.

disclaimer: the contents of the back page are not necessarily true

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