• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.


Unscientific, but Promising

Voluntary mask use seems to be rising quickly.

August 3, 2021

I admit up front that this falls into the category of “anecdata” and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Still, sometimes little details can tell you something.

A few years ago, when TB and I visited Boston University as part of his college tour, we noticed the cars parked along the street where the town houses that hold some of the students are. We saw Porsches, Maseratis, Lexuses and BMWs. I don’t remember a single Ford or Honda. It may or may not have been representative, but it was certainly striking. He didn’t apply there.

I’ve shared that with TG in explaining why it’s helpful to do campus tours, even if they’re outside.

On Monday, I had another of those observations that suggests meaning, even if it doesn’t prove it.

My own campus is currently mask optional and operating mostly remotely. The plan is to have staff start reporting in a couple of weeks, and faculty a couple of weeks after that. But for now, it’s pretty sparse.

But a project with which I’m connected had an on-campus meeting Monday afternoon. There were about 16 to 18 people there, including faculty, staff, administrators and several students.

Every single person wore a mask, unprompted. It didn’t even come up for discussion.

The fact that, left to their own discretion, every single person elected to mask up suggested to me that the message is getting through.

My “supermarket mask index” indicator is lower than 100 percent, but quite a bit higher than it was even two weeks ago.

We just might be turning the corner.

Wise and worldly readers, are you seeing the same thing where you are?


We have retired comments and introduced Letters to the Editor. Letters may be sent to [email protected].

Read the Letters to the Editor  »

Back to Top