Category Archive 'Melting Snowflakes'

06 Mar 2019

Harvard Checks “Climate” — Snowflakes Mustn’t Melt!

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Oh, me! Oh, my! Can Harvard students possibly bear up and survive in a climate in which their own House Master/Faculty Dean (and Law Professor) proposes to represent a cad like Harvey Weinstein accused of numberless cases of crude advances, sexual harrassment, and generally being a masher?

Harvard Crimson asks that important question, and apparently is asking it on behalf of the management of Harvard itself. Presumably in the case of unfavorable responses, Harvard’s Administration will lay in a copious supply of smelling salts, fainting couches, and gallon jugs of Lydia Pinkham’s. There will doubtless as well be long queues of desperate Harvard students lining up for counseling.

“Doctor, how could he? How could he represent that… that beast?”

Harvard College’s institutional research office sent an anonymous, online survey to Winthrop House residents Tuesday as part of a review process aimed at addressing students’ concerns about Faculty Dean Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr.’s decision to represent Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as he faces charges of sexual assault.

The survey asks students a series of questions about whether they feel welcome in the House. It also asks them to score Winthrop on a five-point scale based on whether they believe the House is “hostile” or “friendly,” “contentious” or “collegial,” and “sexist” or “non-sexist,” among other metrics.

Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced that former Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67 would lead a “climate review” in an email to Winthrop residents on Feb. 25. Khurana wrote that the College decided to launch the review after hearing concerns surrounding support structures for students in the House following Sullivan’s decision to defend Weinstein.

Harvard College Institutional Research wrote in its Tuesday email that in trying to examine the “climate” of Winthrop, the survey will use Pennsylvania State University professor Sue Rankin’s definition of climate: “the current attitudes, behaviors and standards of faculty, staff, administrators and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities and potential.”

In response to Sullivan’s decision to join Weinstein’s defense team, some students started protests and wrote open letters calling for his removal as faculty dean.

The survey sent Tuesday begins with a question about students’ level of satisfaction with the House’s climate. It continues by asking students to indicate their level of agreement — from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree” — with a series of statements evaluating their experiences in the House.
Some of the statements read “I feel I belong in Winthrop House” and “Winthrop House has a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Another question asks students to rank the House on 12 different characteristics including disrespectful or respectful, elitist or non-elitist, homophobic or non-homophobic, and racist or non-racist.

The survey closes with two demographic questions and a space for additional comments.
The College will use the results gathered from Winthrop affiliates to guide any further action, Khurana wrote in his original email.

RTWT

I try to imagine the Yale Daily News, back in 1966, inquiring if we “felt welcome” in our Yale freshman dorms or residential colleges, and I have to hold on to the arms of my chair not to fall out of it laughing.

Can you imagine not feeling welcome in one of the poshest, most luxurious undergraduate colleges in the country and the world?

I am reminded of the comedy film, in which the upper class mother points out to her unhappy adolescent daughter: “You know, you will never again, in the rest of your life, be this rich or this thin!”

A friend of mine used to remark ruefully that life after Yale amounted to constant struggle to try to live as well as you did as a Yale undergraduate.

04 Sep 2018

Yale Humor Magazine Retracts Issue After Snowflake Staff Proceeds to Melt

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You cannot imagine the Harvard Lampoon or the Yale Record, back in the brave old days of yore, retracting an issue because the featured humor was too raunchy or in questionable taste. Hey! we were in college.

But things are different today. Today’s students are precious, sensitive snowflakes, all woke and everything. They get triggered by references to women being rawed on basement mattresses in fraternity houses. Tasteless humor, today, is Streng verboten! meine Herren. Streng verboten!

The Yale Daily News’ own Ellsworth Toohey reports gravely:

[T]his weekend, the Rumpus crossed a line. Editors were forced to retract the publication’s annual first-year issue on Saturday in response to backlash from staff members who took offense at jokes about sexual assault that had made it into the issue.

“The black out/hooking up w freshmen jokes are really not funny,” one staffer wrote in an internal Rumpus group chat on Saturday morning, as writers and editors distributed hundreds of issues across campus. …

The staffers were reacting to an editor’s note, or “Rump’s View,” that made light of sexual assault, and to a square on the publication’s traditional “Hookup Bingo” page that included the option “Freshman’s first blackout (FREE).”

“We here at Rumpus are happy for you and would also like to congratulate you on losing your virginity,” read the editor’s note, which was addressed to the class of 2022. “Now, before you think, ‘Shit, does Rumpus know I blacked and let a senior on the baseball team raw me on that foul mattress in the Sig Nu basement?’ the answer is yes, but we’ll unpack that later.”

On Saturday morning, Rumpus reporters and editors went into damage control mode, scrambling across campus to remove copies of the new issue from residential college dining halls.

In a statement posted on the Rumpus’ Facebook page on Saturday afternoon, Kaylor and Kristina Cuello ’20, the other editor-in-chief, apologized for publishing “unacceptable content” and said the new issues were pulled from dining hall shelves immediately after a staffer raised concerns about the material.

“As editors-in-chief, we are deeply sorry that we allowed this content to be published,” the statement said. “Its presence in the issue was a major editorial oversight entirely on the part of the editors-in-chief, who were the only ones to have access to the final version of the issue.”

Twelve students have quit the publication since Saturday’s incident, according to Kaylor and Cuello. Nearly half the staffers who left were not actively involved in the publication, the editors said. Kaylor and Cuello said they plan to stay on as editors-in-chief.

RTWT


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