I feel that it is my clear public duty to write this column.
Under the current stewardship of Shepherd University, semester attendance has been cut by two weeks, graduation requirements (number of course hours) have been cut and it is apparent that standards are slipping precipitously.
The current president of Shepherd, Suzanne Shipley, is a very pleasant person, well-spoken and apparently has specialized in German studies in her academic career. However, a leader she is clearly not. The first thing any leader has to do is to establish and maintain the highest standards, come what may. Just the opposite is happening at Shepherd. Shipley tells faculty to “teach smarter” to justify her policies. This is farcical when there is little enough time in any full and proper semester for faculty to cover the material.
I realize that students at Shepherd come from a variety of backgrounds. In my observation, students usually demonstrate their seriousness and willingness to work and study diligently before they leave high school. A real university is a serious place, and only students who have demonstrated genuine studiousness and application should be admitted. It is a form of cruel and unusual punishment (prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution) to take grossly unprepared, lazy or uncommitted young people into a serious educational environment and then give them a thin veneer of quasi-education and a piece of paper. The world is a hard, demanding place and the currency of even a baccalaureate degree is easily devalued when it is clearly incomplete, imperfect, slipshod and bogus.
A university or college campus is a place of serious study or learning. It is not a day care center for expensive automobiles. The Shepherd campus seems to be perpetually oriented to autos rather than people. I happen to have been a graduate student long ago at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque; while I was gone in the Army in Vietnam, a vice-president got rid of the autos from the main campus and converted the streets into magnificent pedestrian concourses. The effect was stunning. This could be done at Shepherd.
My view is that the French educational system serves as a useful model. Students are given a test at the end of each year of instruction. Those who pass go on to the next level and those who fail go to work. This is sound policy anywhere, especially for the USA.
Of all the pernicious, destructive lies ever promulgated in human history, the worst has been Thomas Jefferson’s “all men are created equal.” This is utterly bogus, and has no scientific basis, it clearly being contrary to all experience and observation. Jefferson himself clearly did not believe it — he and his political cohorts were attempting to foment a revolution and they saw this nonsense as a way to recruit support among the illiterate, uneducated rabble.
— Joseph J. Snyder writes from