It seems Cornell is getting a lot of bad press-first the Time Magazine expose of the send home the people in trouble policy: http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1194020,00.html and now the issue of cutting. Being a man in the know, I knew this is the real deal, and it’s good that it’s coming to light. And obviously something must be done!
Recommendations for the administration:
- get the faculty in line. Not everyone is as nice, approachable, or understanding as Brenda Bricker or Walter LaFeber. Or as familiar with the psyche as Al. So the professors who just don’t get it need some training in how to deal with people-not even people with significant psychopathology. It’s just plain unacceptable for a professor (or TA) to say “go home and read the book–I’m not here to help the dumb kids”
- Change the mentality-Cornell was built on the premise that it’s hard. but there’s a fine line between abuse and a good education. I was motivated to do well in Uncle Walter’s class, and Jack’s classes, but Math 293 made me climb the walls, and half the classes in my major made me bitter and angry (and took valuable time and mental energy away from the useful classes)
- Expand the PE requirement. Get people moving and out of the labs and libraries. good for the waistline and good for the mind
- Expand Gannett. the university health service is understaffed and overburdened, and the approach isn’t as effective as it could be–see (5)
- try to find the people in need of some support early. freshman orientation week early. This idea comes from Riley Sisson (an authority on the subject if there is any). A lot of students need some sort of assistance (figuring out their philosophy, dealing with the specter of their mother…)
The answer isn’t always meds, ‘therapy’ and sometimes sending someone home is worse for them than keeping them around. The liability game is a tricky one for the university to play, but the important part is the person at the core of the issue.