Letter to the editor: resource allocation

President Chapdelaine:
I am writing to urge you not
to cut important humanities
programs at Hood College.
In particular, I am concerned
about the elimination of the
Philosophy and Religious
Studies major. Although I’m
sure your schedule is crowded, it would be kind of you to
read this rather lengthy message in full.
Seeing as Hood is a liberal
arts program, I had the chance
to sample many departments
during my time there. The
Philosophy and Religious
Studies department, led by
Dr. Karen Hoffman, was, and
I’m sure still is, something noticeably different. Studying in
that department, cliche as it is
to say, radically changed my
life. When I arrived at Hood
I had no intention of majoring in the subject, thinking I
might instead major in English (another very fine department at Hood). After taking classes with Dr. Hoffman
and Dr. Stephen Wilson I was
sure Philosophy and Religion
was the best path Hood could
It is true that the major, at
least during my time at Hood,
was not particularly popular.
I believe this is partially because the leaders of the department held their students
to abnormally high standards,
and accepted nothing less
than their charges’ best efforts.
One of the proudest moments
of my entire life, still to this
day, was earning a 100% from
Dr. Wilson on a final paper for
his Religion and Empire Honors course. Not only because
he had given me a D in the not
so distant past, but because
I was thrilled to have the approval of a teacher I respected
so thoroughly, who only gave
A’s when they were honestly
deserved. The same rigor was
present in Dr. Hoffman’s notorious argument-based timed
writing assignments (where
you are meant to argue with a
famous philosopher, then argue against your own points,
then argue once more against
your counterpoints – great fun,
really, but you had to outline
and memorize your entire
strategy for 5 hours the night
before to score well).
These professors were always tough within reason, exceptionally fair-minded, and
I’ve never had an experience
where I gained as many useful
skills in such a short span of
time since. It’s a great shame
that many believe Philosophy is an impractical major,
it’s not true when the subject
is taught with a skilled hand.
These professors improved
my mind in ways that continue to benefit me professionally and personally. While I
understand Dr. Wilson is no
longer with the faculty, I’m
sure Dr. Hoffman continues
to lead similarly-minded professors to this day. For all of
her contributions to Hood’s
students she deserves to be
treated so much better. She
deserves the world, as far as
I’m concerned.
Despite all of the foolish, drastic, and singularly
greed-driven decisions made
by Hood administrations past,
some of which were perhaps
legitimately necessary to save
the school from changing
times, financial ruin, and the
lasting stupidity of President
Shirley Peterson, this proposed change is in another
category entirely. Eliminating
core humanities programs
from Hood would be the first
decision in its long history to
truly make it another beast,
you can’t go home again, the
end, fade to black. It’s so distressing to consider that I cannot even say anger is an appropriate characterization of
my feelings. Just sadness. It’s
with this emotion that I humbly grovel. A few years back
I voted for you to be Hood’s
next president, believing you
were the best candidate to
lead a place I still get home
sick for. It would be truly unfortunate, albeit certainly dramatic and interesting, if my
decision to offer you support
then later contributed to gutting the beating heart of my
college experience.
As to why I’m writing such
an eccentric collection of drivel, believing it will have any
impact at all, some explanation is probably in order. I’m
not so delusional as to think
my reputation still proceeds
me. President Chapdelaine,
during my time at Hood I was
known to cause a considerable commotion when I did
not agree with decisions made
by the administration. So
much so that President Volpe
pointed out how much of a
pain in the ass I was, by name,
in his graduation speech, took
great efforts to hide my publications, and sparred with me
in the local press. Dave Diehl
took me aside and verbally
intimidated me, Dean Conway-Turner, it would not be
melodramatic to say, stalked
and threatened my Features
Editor and successor at The
Blue and Grey for doing too
much digging into the goings
on of AD . . . it was a wild time,
tragic you missed it. Kind
of amazing grown adults in
these positions cared about
a few undergrads mouthing
off about expenditures between games of kings, but I
must have had some passing
competency at hitting a nerve.
Checking to see if that’s still a
Morgan Morrissette
Wright, Esq. ‘11

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