New College is a real disciplineBy Sean Stalley | 11/13/2011 11:00pm
While reading The Crimson White last Wednesday, I came upon an article by a student named Ross Owens titled, “Occupy movements pointless.” As I am one for the freedom of speech, and love to hear both sides of an argument, I thought that maybe I would gain some insight into the anti-Occupy Wall Street thinking.
What I was greeted with was blatant elitism and prejudice. Mr. Owens has shown his ability to place a singular stereotype on a broad range of people, which he manages to not only do to the OWS movement but by also placing the fine academic institution that is New College in the category of “not real discipline[s].” I myself am majoring in New College, with my depth study being linguistics.
The blatant ignorance shown by Ross Owens demonstrates that New College is believed to be, pardon the cliché, an underwater basket weaving major. This is a slap to the face to any student who is seriously pursuing their academic interests via New College. I will admit, when I first tell people that my major is with New College they tend to not know what exactly that means.
So, assuming Mr. Owens’ snide comments were but a bout of ignorance, I would like to set the record straight. New College is not a major, at least not in the traditional sense. New College is an opportunity to pursue one’s own academic path here at the University. It is not for people who want to slack off, and it is certainly not for people who want to graduate college with a degree in “sleeping.”
Linguistics is not offered as a major here at the Capstone, but that does not mean there isn’t a fair share of classes devoted to the subject. Thanks to New College, I may pursue a degree by taking the courses that are offered on campus even though they may be provided by several different departments. I scour the English, Anthropology, Modern Languages and Communicative Disorder class listings in order to create a track for my depth study. In addition to this we must also fulfill the Arts and Sciences general education requirements, as well as New College's own general courses, which include topics ranging from conflict resolution to environmental sustainability.
New College also offers its students independent study courses, so that we may work with faculty here at UA to study a subject that may not be offered or is unique to current academia. Henry Perkins chose to observe OWS directly by actually being there, which is a far better way to gain insight into OWS than seeing quips on the news. I myself am taking an independent course next semester on Japanese linguistics. Why? Because it is an area I am interested in learning about and this wouldn’t be possible here at UA without the help of New College. So, excuse me for feeling a bit offended at being told I do not have a “real discipline.”
I have worked hard to put together my degree and statements such as those made by Owens are what propagate these types of negative attitudes about New College students - not only damaging our reputation to the student body but also discouraging students who might be interested in pursuing a depth study at New College. In the future Mr. Owens, please think through the things that you say or keep your prejudice opinions to yourself.
Sean Stalley is a junior majoring in New College and linguistics with a minor in Japanese.