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Delbanco Chides Higher Ed.

Director of American studies, Andrew Delbanco, took to the NYTimes op-ed section yesterday to voice frustration about elitism in higher education.

THE Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently set off a ruckus when he attacked America’s colleges as “indoctrination mills” from which God-fearing Americans should keep their distance. Calling President Obama a “snob” for urging all Americans to go to college, he joined a long tradition that runs from Andrew Carnegie, who more than a century ago described colleges as places that prepare students for “life upon another planet,” to Newt Gingrich, who has claimed that alumni donations are often used “to subsidize bizarre and destructive visions of reality.”


In this respect, I agree with Mr. Santorum that our leading colleges could use a little more of their own old-time religion — not in any doctrinal sense, but in the sense of taking seriously the Christian virtues of humility and charity. In secular terms, this means recognizing that people with good prospects owe much to their good fortune — and to fellow citizens less fortunate than themselves.

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  • Gay Male says:

    @Gay Male I think I would have sex with Santorum just for the Santorum.

    1. another gay male says:

      @another gay male Same.

  • Gay Male says:

    @Gay Male I’d have sex with Santorum just for the Santorum

  • Straight Male says:

    @Straight Male I think I’d have sex with Santorum just for the story.

    1. everone's gotta be so damn alternative. says:

      @everone's gotta be so damn alternative. equating “the flag” and “the republic” to Johnson & Johnson. how does allegiance necessitate mindlessness? in fact, one of the things “for which it stands” is freedom of expression, no?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous y is it that guys pursue girls and not vice-versa

  • uhh says:

    @uhh This conflicts with the crippling self-confidence issues Columbia bestowed upon me.

  • A note says:

    @A note I’ve seen the Deresiewicz article linked to within this one in a bunch of other places as well, but I wasn’t quite able to put my finger on what was so offensively wrong about it until now:

    “Students at places like Cleveland State, unlike those at places like Yale, don’t have a platoon of advisers and tutors and deans to write out excuses for late work, give them extra help when they need it, pick them up when they fall down. They get their education wholesale, from an indifferent bureaucracy; it’s not handed to them in individually wrapped packages by smiling clerks.”

    William Deresiewicz is faking his credentials, there’s no way in hell he ever went to Columbia.

    1. CC '06 says:

      @CC '06 Bingo.

  • Truth says:

    @Truth I think one just needs to look at the Obamanard comments to see that there is some degree of truth to what Delbanco is saying. Also, the Ben Franklin quote at the bottom of the his article is fucking brilliant.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous You mad BrO?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous blah blah blah, Santorum sucks a big fat, herpes-infested cock. and all who say otherwise can rim my asshole

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I’m sure most already know but for those that don’t:

      Santorum: That frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex. (urbandictionary).

      Nuff said.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Whoever is downvoting this: look up Dan Savage. Then laugh. Then upvote.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Delbanco is doing the world a disservice by encouraging inflammatory and vapid comments like those from Santorum. Also, I find it patently offensive that Delbanco apparently thinks I have no humility, or that I don’t owe anything to anyone.

    1. imo says:

      @imo He was playing devil’s advocate, as it were, pointing out the half-valuable gem in Santorum and Newt’s pro-ignorance proclamations.

  • "Chided?" says:

    @"Chided?" That’s a pretty elitist choice of words there, Bwog.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous What, did you not learn that in your public elementary school or something?


    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous In the same way that Santorum uses the word, sure. If “elitist” is synonymous with “intelligent” or “accurate.” But not in any other meaningful way.

  • GUYS. GUYS, GUYS. says:

    @GUYS. GUYS, GUYS. I just finished my last paper! I can enjoy my spring break now!
    We did it, guys! We made it!

    1. THREE says:


      1. FIVE says:

        @FIVE MORE


  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I tend to agree with Delbanco, but I don’t know here… The problem with Santorum wasn’t that he claimed that plenty of college students were snobs. The problem was that it suggested that students shouldn’t necessarily strive to educate themselves or provide a better life for their children. It sounds more like Delbanco is just talking in cultural terms about higher education, which doesn’t really help the conversation all that much.

  • AMST concentrator says:

    @AMST concentrator Delbanco = Boss

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Delbanco: “once the beneficiaries arrive in college, what do they learn about themselves? It’s a good bet that the dean or president will greet them with congratulations on being the best and brightest ever to walk through the gates….the charge that elite college culture encourages smugness and self-satisfaction contains…a germ of truth.”

    I suspect he is reacting to Austin Quigley, who used to welcome every Columbia College class with nauseatingly fulsome praise.

    1. Charles Barkley... says:

      @Charles Barkley... …might call this LeBron James Syndrome.

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