The Old Codger’s Corner: Exclusively Inclusive

By Ken D'Angelo '71, STAFF WRITER

First off I have a confession to make. In the last issue of this paper I stated that I would be available for discussion of any of my opinions every Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in The Den. This last Friday I had to leave at 12:30 p.m. due to a prior commitment that slipped my mind when I made the offer. If anyone was looking for me at or after the time I left please accept my most sincere apology.

I hear a lot of people around here going on and on about “inclusiveness” and “social justice.” I am totally in favor of both of these worthy efforts. The problem is that I find myself, as I have often during my return to this little slice of heaven, rather confused. I have a sinking feeling that my definition of these terms are at a counterpoint to that of the self appointed and anointed intelligentsia police. I freely admit that the college has done a pretty good job of recruiting a diverse student body. A walk through the campus will show you students of many shades of skin color, gender, native language, height, weight, shoe size, dental hygiene, dandruff and lactose intolerance [one of the few locally, socially accepted intolerances around here, gluten intolerance is also OK], ad infinitum. Hell, even I was accepted back here. I guess I’m the token short, overweight, ornery, old student geezer on campus.

What I don’t see is an equal effort in intellectual inclusivity. In my short time here I’ve attended as many lectures and discussions as I could fit into my hectic life.  I have heard a speaker declaim that the use of military drones is a self defeating, inefficient moral outrage. I haven’t heard from a speaker in the military offering a counter argument and that is the problem. I have heard a professor emeritus from Notre Dame speak about the U.S. Constitution. He described as weaknesses the two senators from each state provision, the difficulty of passing amendments and the second amendment. I don’t expect that a speaker from the NRA will be invited to come here and discuss their take on the second amendment, and that is the problem. I have seen a wall of pictures of black people who were killed by police action. I have not seen a wall showing the faces of police officers who have been killed in the line of duty, and that is the problem.

I see a conscious effort on the part of the leadership of this college to slant the types of discussions that are allowed here toward an intellectual direction exclusively of their choosing that amounts to indoctrination, not education, and that is one serious, full fledged, Son of Kong problem. If anyone out there wants to talk to me about possible solutions, you know where I’ll be each Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

I don’t have as much space allowed by the management of this publication to get as deep into the topic of social justice. I’m going to point out one problem. It involves people we all interact with every day. Their pay is on the low side. Their work is hard but essential. In my experience they are pleasant and conscientious. I’m talking about the full time Sodexo workers. They work for a contractor with the college and as such they do not, as far as I know, qualify to have a tuition remission benefit for their children as do those working directly for the college.  Is the remission benefit offered to contract workers at other schools? I neither know nor care. I believe it should be offered here. Are there obstacles to make this work. I can think of several. Are they insoluble?  It beats me, but we can at least see if it can be made to work. Is it the right thing to do?  As I see it, absolutely. Do I expect it to happen? My guess is, considering the folks at the helm of our little ship of learning, sometime between when hell freezes over and not a chance, and that’s a sad, sad problem. Although if enough dollars can be garnered by money made from extended triple bunking, maybe, just maybe.