Healthy criticism resumesBy JONATHAN BALMER Back-Page Editor
Our college provides a gentle refuge for squirrels. One squirrel is missing its tail but by Darwin’s beard, it survived! Thank your lucky genes Lamarck was wrong and that tail-less trait won’t find its way to a new generation. If you enjoy cute squirrel antics, put some peanut butter on the bottom of this newspaper and lay it down on the ground, a squirrel may pick it up and start nibbling on it (which is amusing because as he lifts it up it will appear as if the squirrel is reading the newspaper). If someone does this, takes a picture of it and sends it into the Back-page (box #408), I will award them a dollar.
By comparison, squirrels at the University of Kentucky’s enjoy no such luxury. Because the world is a giant conspiracy to coerce me into partaking in a social life, I escaped Georgetown College Saturday, secluding myself at UK’s Young library. I observed UK has sextillion-metric-tons of “Bros” all wearing hats backwards and casually conversing about ways they “hit and quit” young women whilst listening to Jack Johnson albums. These bros deplored campus critters. UK squirrels, an abused breed, ran with terror whenever one of these young “gentlemen” appeared within a 3-meter radius.
Though Georgetown treats squirrels more benevolently than UK, we can improve. Campuses with no squirrel population also show a 0 percent rate of unethical treatment of squirrels. If we wish to achieve the lowest rate of squirrel mistreatment, we must, simply, kill all of our squirrels (as good ethics demands).
Is this really what you want to read about? What I mentioned does not represent positive traits of our campus or real issues. Much like hearing that my “humorous” writing is anything but, often legitimate criticisms hurt (though you could put it more constructively, man!). The real good in our campus comes in the form of the caring faculty— many of whom spend countless hours taking a genuine interest in our academics and lives. We may have to deal with the inanity of Georgetown offering a class for our major only “even springs” at the same time as another class we need, but at least we have professors who are available to meet with us. I have a friend attending Western Kentucky University. WKU may have nine sections of a particular class but, because of hasty advising from a detached adviser, she toiled a full semester in a course she did not need. The real problems we face are less likely to involve the education we receive and more likely financial mismanagement.
For example: how many of those in the student body realize that, for the second year in a row, our college failed the Department of Education’s financial responsibility test for private institutions? The Chronicle of Higher Education states: “The department [of Education] develops a composite score on a scale of 3.0 to minus 1.0, based on financial ratios that measure factors such as net worth, operating losses and the relationship of assets to liabilities. Institutions with scores of 1.5 to 3 pass.” This year Georgetown scored a 1.3 (of the institutions on the “Low-financial Responsibility” list, tied for second-worst in Kentucky). The rest of the private institutions in Kentucky are Brescia, Kentucky Wesleyan, Lexington Theological and Pikeville College. Last year, we performed even less admirably with a score of 0.5. Admittedly, “this economy” (do you hate this phrase yet?) is pretty terrible. Still, other colleges, like Transylvania or Centre (curse you Centre!) escaped our fate. What happened?
We do not like talking about problems so directly. An exception would seem to be the posters outside the cafeteria asking “What do you Hate/ Love about Christians?” While each poster has some legitimate comments, often the comments miss the point. The “LOVE” poster has a tendency to fall into self-congratulation and talk not about modern Christians but about the ideal love of Christ. To be fair, Jesus is awesome, but that was not the question. How are Christians actually lovable today? Likewise, the “HATE” side presents some legitimate complaints but falls into prooftexting blatant enough to shame even a fundamentalist—mining for “ugly” verses, devoid of any theological knowledge or context, to defame modern Christians. In each case, people tend to avoid the real issues at hand—why? The real problems listed hurt more than the contrived ones and the real positives shine brighter than the ones we sugarcoat but we persistently avoid them. The same applies to our college.
More real/perceived problems:
-We are a liberal arts college without a proper auditorium.
-We are a liberal arts college with (let’s face it) bizarre outdoor art (sorry, I looked at the brochure. I still don’t get it).
-We are a liberal arts college which is not even that liberal.
At least we’re working to fix that last one. For progressives this only means progress. For conservatives this means losing our identity and steadily changing to a slightly left leaning campus intolerant of conservative thought. For realists this means the student body, and prospective students, receive mixed messages from a college in flux from being mostly-white and slightly conservative to mostlywhite and slightly liberal.
The hard truth: A Christian College cannot make everyone comfortable all of the time. Hotels make everyone comfortable. That is why they provide a Gideon’s Bible on the night-stand and pay-per-view porn on the television. Our college may provide a safe environment for free expression but it cannot treat every action or moral ideology equally. When our school fools itself into believing it may, it ceases to stand as a Christian College and transforms itself into a really bad, expensive, hotel. Interpret this as you please.
St. Paul is no Harvey Dent. When he spoke of becoming “all things to all people” (1 Cor. 9:19-23) he did not imply Christians should immitate the super-villain Two-Face.
Disclaimer: The contents of The Back Page are not necessarily true and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Georgetonian
or Georgetown College. P.S. I love mini-giraffes: Google “mini-giraffes”. Tell me they are real. I want to believe. -J. Balmer