Please forgive my deviation from the regular theme of this blog but I figured it behooved those of you intending to send your children onto college to take a look at this particular series of events I’ve seen unfolding. Following a post from Roger Kimball, the editor and publisher of the excellent cultural review The New Criterion, on the sad state of affairs at Williams College, I fell into an interesting set of student postings.
It’s a rather bittersweet series, really, in that a pionering student at the arch liberal institution of Williams College uncovered one of the many veins of politcal cooruption within American “higher education”. The student, “David Michael”, discovered a former admissions officer and current head of the Multicultural Center at Williams College, Lili Rodriguez, making this facebook post:
Sigh…same thing would happen to me when I was reading applications for admission. So many listed Ayn Rand as their favorite author..I would set those apps aside, clearly they were lacking in critical thought abilities.
This clear violation of her duty as an admissions officer was countered with this nervous attempt at levity (with some grammatical formatting on my part):
No one admissions officer can make a decision on a student or “Black List them”. Decisions are made by the whole committee, and yes, we are people with our own likes and dislikes…Ayn Rand enthusiasts were one of many pet peeves I had as a reader, others included essays written about Prom, Pets, favorite historical figures, etc. Other readers were annoyed when students wrote about video games, comic books, or dungeons and dragons (hobbies I totally dig). Luckily, apps are read by two readers and hobbies matter significantly less than academic achievement, writing quality, and recommendations. So long and short of it is this: Ayn Rand sucks in my opinion (unless you are a 12 year old seeking individuality and needing to complete your summer reading list) and even as a college employee, I do have the right to hold that opinion and voice it to my personal friends on facebook–which clearly I need to be much more careful about. Luckily, the opinion of one person cannot make or break an admissions decision at this college. Otherwise, we’d have no Ayn Rand enthusiasts able to start this WSO post or the awesome people that play D&D weekly. Go Dungeons and Dragons! Boo Ayn Rand!
It’s clear that as both an admissions officer and as a “multicultural” leader Rodriguez has grotesquely failed in her duties. It’s revealing to me that she’d so effortlessly discriminate against students who deviate from her own political and ideological prescriptions regardless of their SAT scores, GPAs or the actual content of their essays. Or even, gasp, ethnicity. It’s even more revealing that she would make these comments in full and clear view of her both her friends and professional peers, without the slightest self consciousnesses.
All of this is not to say that I’m an Ayn Rand devotee, far from it. It’s not even to say that Rand typifies the conservative or right wing of the spectrum, doing so would be lazy and inaccurate. It does make clear, though, that those who oversee their children’s admission process would be well advised to consider having their children be intellectually dishonest or even flat out lie in order to stand their best possible chance of admission to the widest range of academic institutions in this Republic. The very same institutions which are supposed to provide a conductive environment for varied, honest and robust intellectual discourse. Sad, isn’t it?