ON-Lion Letter

"A story of Western Civilization is a history of ideals that guide the Western world, and increasingly, the entire globe," according to a manifesto recently posted by The Stanford Review.  "The Western narrative, exalted by virtue and shamed by sin, contextualizes our society.

"Western education should tell this narrative," it continues.  "Knowledge of Western values, systems, and institutions prepares students to live, work, and study in Western society, and empowers students to change it when necessary.  But Stanford University, an institution purportedly at the pinnacle of higher education, fails its students.  Stanford does not require a humanities course that contextualizes our society, and the ramifications transcend the Farm.  Our alumni innovating in Silicon Valley, making policy in Washington, and investing on Wall Street lack the historical knowledge necessary to grasp their actions' implications and responsibly shape the future."

The Stanford Review is part of the Collegiate Network of alternative, independent student newspapers, a project of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) in Wilmington, Del.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports ISI.

"National debates erupted over Stanford's decision to remove Western Culture requirements during the 1980s," The Stanford Review goes on.  "We believe the University must reignite a national debate and reinstate a Western Civilization requirement.  Therefore, the Stanford Review is petitioning to place an initiative on the undergraduate spring ballot urging the Faculty Senate to instate a two-quarter Western Civilization requirement, replacing Thinking Matters.  The initiative text reads:

'In accordance with Stanford's commitment to educating its students, and in recognition of the unique role Western culture has had in shaping our political, economic, and social institutions, Stanford University should mandate that freshmen complete a two-quarter Western Civilization requirement covering the politics, history, philosophy, and culture of the Western world.'

"In this manifesto," the Review writes, "we will advocate for a requirement focused on only one civilization and explain why this civilization should be Western, answering objections along the way.  We thank you for taking the time to reflect on this serious matter, and remind you that a signature on the petition is not necessarily a support of Western Civilization requirements.  It is a signature in support of giving yourself and your classmates the opportunity to debate and voice their opinion on an important part of our education."

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |