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Reed College Students Protest Western Civ Program as ‘Eurocentric’

Reed College Students Protest Western Civ Program as ‘Eurocentric’

“I’m sorry, this is a classroom space and this is not appropriate.”

Reed College might as well be a sister school to Evergreen State College. They’re both in the liberal northwest and they both lean to the far left.

Last year, this happened: Reed College Students Stage Walkout in Solidarity With Black Lives Matter

This year, a student group called “Reedies Against Racism” decided that a Western Civ program called Hum 110, which is required for all Freshmen, is too Eurocentric. The group has been staging a silent protest of the program since last year but apparently got tired of being quiet.

Colleen Flaherty reports at Inside Higher Ed:

Occupation of Hum 110

Three times a week, at 9 a.m., all of Reed’s 300-plus freshmen shuffle into a lecture hall for what’s known on campus as Hum 110. Starting with the Epic of Gilgamesh and ending with the Bible and Apuleius’ The Golden Ass, the required literary and historical survey of the ancient world is supposed to lay the foundation for students’ future studies in the humanities. Freshmen also get a taste of different teaching styles and disciplinary perspectives, as classes are taught by two dozen faculty members across fields. Those lectures are supplemented by smaller breakout sessions, called conferences.

Hum 110 — like virtually everything at Reed — is rigorous. But alumni who took the course as far back as 1943, when it was conceived, tend to recall it as one of their most worthwhile. Things changed last fall, though, when Reed, like so many other institutions, faced student demands that it be more inclusive of people of color.

Cut to Aug. 28, the first Hum 110 lecture of this year. Reedies Against Racism had announced in a widely circulated email that they planned to continue their protest this year. They also asked faculty members involved in the program for class time to introduce themselves — a departure from the agreement about not interrupting teaching time. Hum 110 program leaders denied the request and, according to Reed, polled one another on what they wanted to do if the protesters attempted to disrupt the first lecture. They decided they’d cancel the class if need be.

“I’m sorry, this is a classroom space and this is not appropriate,” Elizabeth Drumm, Hum 110 program chair and the John and Elizabeth Yeon Professor of Spanish and Humanities, told a small group of protesters when they attempted to talk during class. Members of Reedies Against Racism continued, saying they had created a supplementary syllabus. The professors at the front of the room got up and left.

This short video shows the moment when the faculty walked out:

Two days later, the protesters returned and things got much worse. More from Flaherty:

Two days later, Hum 110 students met again, and again the protesters attempted to introduce themselves — this time minutes before 9 a.m., technically outside class time. They talked about their objections to the class and were interrupted by faculty members who disagreed with their characterization. A group of freshmen also got involved, complaining that their lecture had been taken over, and the conversation became a shouting match. The scene echoed many that have played out on college campuses within the past few years surrounding inclusion. But for many present it was unsettlingly un-Reed-like: a violation of the campus norm of passionate and rigorous but civil debate.

This second video is from Powerline, where Steven Hayward adds this:

Will the administration have the stuffing to suspend or expel some of these brats? A backlash from other students seems to be building, according to a report on the matter in The Economist:

Yet at Reed College this term there are also signs of a counter-revolution. A professor of Muslim studies refused to lecture in front of protesters and taught his class of 150 students outside, under a tree. Some freshmen have shouted down protesters. One (black) student told them: “This is a classroom. This is not the place. Right now we are trying to learn. We are freshmen students.” The rest of his speech was drowned out by applause.

This is cued to start at the seven minute mark:

Why are these students paying $67,000 per year to attend Reed College when they’re clearly smarter than all of their professors? It makes no sense.

Featured image via YouTube.


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Well, yeah.

Western Civilization as a subject is sorta perforce “Eurocentric”. Kinda goes with the course, so to speak.

I’ll bet African Civilization courses are pretty Afrocentric. And yada, yada, yada.

And they can all be totally legitimate fields of study.

But which civilization gained ascendancy? And which does dominate the entire planet at present?

So, just maybe, there is virtue in them thar Europeans…and their culture. (Not to say there is nothing to acknowledge and learn from in the negative.)

    DaveGinOly in reply to Ragspierre. | September 14, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Even if they had a coherent argument exposing the evils of “Western” civilization, understanding its roots is essential to understanding today’s world. Yeah, yeah, it’s all evil, but how do they expect to unravel it if they don’t become acquainted with how Eurocentric forces gained ascendancy?

Decades ago, at Stanford as a stem student, my year-long mandatory freshman History of Western Civilization course was the most rewarding and enlightening course I took in 4 years, both for the substance and the for the necessary expansion of the ability to think. Same for my non-stem wife.
Now that course, to the extent it still exists, is optional, which is ridiculous.
For this and many other reasons my wife and I, both alumni, give not a penny to Stanford.

Go to you tube and view the late Eugen Weber’s series on Western Civ from 1989.. Great series.

Science has flourished best in Western Civ…

I have no problem with studies of all cultures. The reconstruction of the past by SJW leaves out reality. Somehow, they seem to believe that all is wonderful until Eurocentrics showed up…

    Henry Hawkins in reply to alaskabob. | September 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Yup, science flourished in the west, but only after the requirement that scientific findings must support and agree with Catholic church teachings, since the church dominated western governments and monarchies for so long, had been lifted. Prior to that – the Dark Ages. After that – the Enlightenment.

    You can see the same process among eastern governments/monarchies as well, though many of them remained culturally isolated from the west. The Muslim controlled countries? Yeah, not so much. To this day a Muslim scientist can find himself thrown off a building or stoned to death for endorsing scientific findings with which the mullahs do not agree.

      alaskabob in reply to Henry Hawkins. | September 14, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      Not quite as grim for science though… The Church did agree (internally) with Galileo but wanted time to transition. Galileo said no and wound up with house arrest… note arrest not death.

      The Dark Ages as not as dark as many think.

      Islam only looks great because of the conquered peoples had the arts and sciences… devout Muslim leaders burned libraries and dismissed science.

        tom swift in reply to alaskabob. | September 14, 2017 at 4:34 pm

        The Pope was annoyed because he thought that Galileo had reneged on a deal—that he could write about the Copernican heliocentric theory as much as he wished, just so long as he didn’t insist that it was The Truth. And to be fair, Galileo did try to annoy the Pope with his Dialog Concerning the Two World Systems. Incidentally, after he published Sidereus Nuncius in 1610, the Jesuit astronomers at the Vatican were yuge Galileo fans … which probably didn’t cheer the Pope much.

        “Dark Ages” means mainly that we have few contemporary written records. The central and northern European climate is not as good for the preservation of papyrus, paper, or even vellum as is that of the Mediterranean or North Africa. Of course the bulk of what we do have are records written for and by the Church.

      thalesofmiletus in reply to Henry Hawkins. | September 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Science flourishes because after the Restoration of the English crown, King Charles II was such a science geek that he made science and the patronage thereof high status by fiat. That is the momentum that carries the scientific culture in the Anglosphere.

      As for science in the middle ages, see The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages by Edward Grant. Dispels a lot of myths out there regarding that time period.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to thalesofmiletus. | September 14, 2017 at 4:35 pm

        The middle ages were not the dark ages. Galileo was one guy, an anecdote on Church vs. science, not representative of the norm.

          alaskabob in reply to Henry Hawkins. | September 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm

          Dark Ages …. circa ?
          Middle Ages … circa?

          Ah… both are considered 500 to around 1300…

          Washington Post …”True, the Middle Ages contained violence, repression and terror. But those years also saw the creation of artistic marvels, the birth of the university, breakthroughs in the natural sciences and literature that still moves the soul. “

          daniel_ream in reply to Henry Hawkins. | September 15, 2017 at 1:22 am

          No historian uses the term “Dark Ages” any more, precisely because of the moral semantics the term has acquired. There are the Early Middle Ages, generally considered post Roman Empire to the 10th century, the High Middle Ages from the 11th to the 13th, and the Late Middle Ages from the 13th to the Renaissance in the 16th century.

          Your characterization of the church vs. science is a popular myth and not representative of the scholarship or archaeology of the period.

a student group called “Reedies Against Racism” decided that a Western Civ program called Hum 110, which is required for all Freshmen, is too Eurocentric.

I wonder if they’re agitating because courses in Western civilization are Eurocentric (which would be pretty ridiculous—there’s no way to teach a course in W Civ which isn’t Eurocentric) or if they’re peeved that such courses are requirements (which isn’t particularly ridiculous, it’s just shortsighted).

    alaskabob in reply to tom swift. | September 14, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    I go with they think that without the Western Civ influence on their “native lands” they would be all princes or princesses of the Aztec or Zulu Empires. No… sorry… most likely serf, slave or sacrifice. (The “evil” missionaries to the Pacific ended endless cycles of tribal murder.)

Words that will stop the protesters in their tracks.

Leave, or you’re expelled. No refunds.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to georgfelis. | September 14, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Yea, kind of hard to explain to the parents why they just blew about 67K that they aren’t getting back.

    daniel_ream in reply to georgfelis. | September 15, 2017 at 1:29 am

    I’m wondering if a little psyops wouldn’t be useful here. Simply inform the entire class that any lecture that’s interrupted by these snowflakes will be cancelled immediately, but exams and assignments will still be set and graded without consideration for the number of classes cancelled.

    Once the midterm marks come back in these precious little dears will be found tarred and feathered in the middle of the quad.

      healthguyfsu in reply to daniel_ream. | September 16, 2017 at 12:14 am

      Sounds great on a message board, not so much in practice. You’ll get crucified in academic circles for pinning your responsibilities to maintain order on a freshman class instead of doing your job.

      The answer is to do your job, but even that is not simple when jellyfish administrators won’t do theirs. I hate our society, particularly the various cancers of the academic circles.

OSU had it right.

This is simple to handle. Have a dean walk in with a couple of police and tell the toddlers….I mean protesters that if they don’t leave they will be arrested and expelled with scholarships cancelled and no refunds available.

It should be no great loss since they obviously aren’t old enough to be in college anyway.

I was going to watch a football game last Sunday, but it was too pigskincentric.

At the risk of sounding elitist, why would any university want all their students to study cultures that lead nowhere and accomplished little of anything? Since we are a western culture that was built upon western civilization over the last 2,000 years, then doesn’t that make the subject relevant? After all it does allow us to understand where we came from. How does forcing students to study some unknown culture that accomplished nothing further their education to any significant extent? This entire effort is an exercise in lunacy and false equivocation.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Cleetus. | September 16, 2017 at 12:16 am

    You just tried to include SJWs in the “we”, ergo you invoked a melting point analogy, ergo microaggression…like I said above, academic circles have become cancerous.

Unless colleges and universities start booting these people out, it will simply continue to escalate until the protestors start burning the classrooms with students and teachers trapped inside. Said one masked protestor, “It was the right thing to do.”

They are mistakes by the admissions office. They are trying to turn Reed, an institution with an established and interesting history, into Evergreen.

Please stop them, by using police if necessary. Do more than you announce i.e don’t telegraph all the punches. They need to lose their ability to disrupt Reed, and if they can calibrate things exactly, they will resist and linger.

For most of these idiots, they are western civilization, like it or not.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to tmiker. | September 16, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Yea they really hate it and get pissed when you point out that if they pulled something like this in the cultures they admire they would either be killed or jailed, possibly both and the same could happen to their family.