April 7, 2011 Volume CXXIX Issue 10

I bid you a pragmatic farewell,
fair citizens

Staff Writer

In my last article I discussed pragmatism, giving it two different contexts: political and philosophical. I argued that political pragmatism is both inevitable and lamentable, and that we should embrace a philosophical pragmatism, allowing our political leaders the room to admit mistakes and openly engage the process of refining their views and positions. Something that I did not explicitly state, but implied, was that the extent to which we embrace philosophical pragmatism in our politics will be accompanied by a correlative shift away from political pragmatism and the deception of the common citizen. In that article I talked about politicians themselves, treating only implicitly with what engaging philosophical pragmatism meant for citizens themselves. Rather than engage the criticism I noted at the end of that last piece, I am going to speak shortly on what we, as citizens, can do to move forward into the philosophically pragmatic (heretofore, just “pragmatic”) community.

In a recent 2012 presidential campaign video, someone made the statement that “politics is how we govern ourselves…at the grassroots level it’s individuals talking to other individuals, and making a difference.” I do not name the candidate being supported by the video, and I consider this to be part of my point. The lady speaking in the video supports a particular candidate, and the intent is to convince us, the viewers and voters, that politics, when engaged in the way she sees it to operate on the grassroots level, will be fulfilled by the election of a (not local, but federal) particular candidate. While there are a number of terms that should be examined and assumptions that need to be qualified, the important point from the quote that I will lift out of its context as an argument for a particular candidate, is that the idea of people talking with other people in order to make a difference, is a crucial idea, with potential that may be unlocked by the application of pragmatism among individual citizens.

In applying pragmatism to the quote, I propose a revision: “politics…is individuals, having experiences with other individuals, refining their interpretation of politics as part of experience, admitting missteps and mistakes, moving forward for the betterment of their community.” The pragmatic interpretation, please note, is independent of a party or candidate. Rather, citizens must demand that the parties and candidates conform to the pragmatic standard, and this happens understanding oneself as part of both a local and national (perhaps global) community where bettering humankind’s condition (necessitating good stewardship for the environment in which we live) through progressive refining of our interpretation of experience as reality is the aim toward which politics, philosophy, science, etc., are all directed. This means being active, engaging contemplation, conversation and action together, interpreting each experience with a mind to the future, to engaging reality more closely and more accurately. It means thinking about and taking part in politics, but consciously and conscientiously, looking at the past and present in order to move into the future.

There are a number of things I have claimed that deserve questioning and unpacking, a project that I do not have space for, unfortunately. But as always, I welcome any questions, critiques, or conversation: Box 385, tadams1@georgetowncollege.edu.

Student suggests sports CEPs

Contributing Writer

Of all the requirements at Georgetown College, one of the most bothersome is undoubtedly the CEP requirement. I literally cannot count how many times I’ve heard students complain about the number of CEPs or “NEXUS” events we are required to have. Questions from my peers have been ringing in my ears lately. Why are we required to have so many? Why can’t the college be more flexible when it comes to giving credit? Why can’t we expand our choices for NEXUS credit? These are questions I’m sure we would all love to be answered.

Georgetown requires each student to have 48 NEXUS credits before graduation. Basically, it is the same story we’ve heard since day one from our advisors on this campus; we should have 12 credits every year, preferably six each semester. Shouldn’t it be easy to get six NEXUS credits every semester? The answer probably isn’t the same for every student, but it cannot be denied that getting six credits every single semester isn’t the easiest thing for some of us to do. Some students are athletes, some are Greek, some have jobs, some student-teach and some students are all of the above and more. So, why not expand our options when it comes to what could be considered NEXUS credit? After all, the more options we have, the more likely it is we will get all 48.

One suggestion for possible NEXUS credits is adding some athletic events. “I can’t understand why athletic events are not accepted for NEXUS credit. If athletic events on campus were considered worthy of credit, it would encourage so many students to support their peers, but it would also enrich our own lives. We could actually learn and witness other sports,” said Michelle Dresselhaus. It is my bet that less than half the students on this campus know what the term “slapper” means in softball. How many students on this campus are aware of the rules in a tennis match? How many students know what the libero’s role is on the volleyball court? All of these things could be easily explained and even witnessed at athletic events. Students could actually learn about the passions and pastimes other students have.

Katie Mann said, “It seems like there are many CEPs that are focused on the arts and music. Nothing against art and music, but why not have CEPs to focus on athletics too? It would seem fair this way.” By giving students the opportunity to earn credit at athletic events, not only would more students feel more encouraged to go, but they might like what they see at athletic events. Ultimately, we could start seeing more of a turnout at games, matches and meets. Perhaps students could be given a list of sporting events at the beginning of the semester that would be considered credit if attended. There is no doubt in my mind that it is important to culturally enrich our lives and see past our own world in Georgetown. However, why should we keep pushing for more enrichment from sources outside of our campus when there is more here ready to be explored?

Student offers suggestion for finances

News Editor

I typically keep my opinions to myself and only write news stories, but after the article I wrote last week about changes for the 2011-2012 school year, I knew I had to voice my opinion. Yes, it is true that tuition is going up. It is also true that housing is going to cost more, especially for those wanting to live on East Campus or in Rucker Village. While these increases are not loved by many students (or whoever is footing the bill), they are in line with similar private institutions. There are the facts, for all of you who didn’t take the time to read last week’s front page (I don’t blame you; it was long and there wasn’t a picture).

Some negative nancies have already begun complaining that the approximately $2000 increase is ridiculous because we will be paying more but getting nothing more, except a new residence hall, a benefit for 84 students. This tuition increase is thought to generate $2,000,000 in new revenue for the college, $1,300,000 of which will be rolled back into financial aid awards (see Garvel Kindrick for details) and the other $700,000 will be placed into the general operating budget.

I think at least part of this money should go instead to our faculty and staff. The faculty and staff at Georgetown College are an excellent group of men and women who are passionate about this school and about helping us to succeed while in college and beyond. They take the time to meet with us outside of class, they are readily available on their cell phone or email whenever we need them and they genuinely care about us. Georgetown has some of the most loyal and dedicated employees; from those who clean up after us each day to those who take the time to help us beyond what is required of them. The spirit of selflessness and passion for students is what makes our faculty and staff great, and they should be rewarded for that. I think that the extra $2,000 I am being charged should go somewhere where it will be appreciated and is deserved —to our faculty and staff. Even if this is only wishful thinking, the student body should still take the time to thank the faculty and staff that we come into contact for the impact they are making on us and for the commitment they have to Georgetown College.

I am proud to call myself a Tiger because I know I am at an institution that values those who work hard and care about their community. To all my professors and all the faculty and staff: thank you.


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