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Illusions Perdues
January 21, 2008 - 8:44am



UD has no idea why the University of Michigan seems to be holding this year's graduation on the campus of Eastern Michigan University, but the decision is certainly pissing off a lot of graduating seniors. One of them, in an opinion piece in the student newspaper, reviews four years of complaints she's accumulated against this much-sought-after school.

Her case against the University of Michigan is worth looking at in some detail, since it lists many sad elements of the modern university.

The student's particularly bitter disillusionment with her college education has something to do with the hype about how hard it is to get into schools like Michigan. These places must be paradise if they're so selective...

Here are some excerpts.

...Most of my cynicism can probably be traced back to one of the first moments I spent here as an official Wolverine. With a group of other wide-eyed freshmen during orientation, I was piled into a lecture hall to hear what wisdom the official-looking man giving the PowerPoint presentation would bestow upon us. "The University is a business first and foremost," I remember him saying...

I kept his words in mind when I went to my "weed out" classes and saw how my peers and I were passed off to underpaid, unenthusiastic graduate students instructors instead of real professors; when I was shoved into inadequate classrooms with inadequate supplies while the University funneled millions of dollars into patent-pending research and lavish architectural venues...

...[T[here was one thing that really made it all come together for me: keeping track of the underhanded antics the administration used to pursue the Michigan Stadium renovation project. ... Business and politics are continuing to collide in the field of academia to provide leaders with the power that makes them so far removed from their constituents that they are able to proceed without any regard for them...

Well, she's getting the idea. She thought admission to Michigan meant entering into a serious intellectual venue dominated by academic values and a focus on undergraduate education. What she got instead was an initiation into the corporate-leisure and research-profitability sector of the American economy.

Quite an education.


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