Rutgers expectations, standards are dumb, you are proof


Opinion Column: Doubt


The University is dumb and you are proof. You are dumb. You are dumb because you are a student. You are a student because you are dumb. Your education is, in fact, making you dumb. To explain, you are a bad student. You are on academic probation because you are a bad student. You are currently earning your second consecutive 1.0, further proving you are bad student. Next, you will be suspended by the University ... because you are a bad student.

So the University punishes you for being you, and justifies its action on the proof that you are you. This can only be done by a dumb thing. By "dumb," we mean "without speech" or "without reason." The University is without reason. To further prove this, we need only examine the “good” student. 

You, the good student, “know” that students “should” prioritize coursework. It is “wrong” for them to do otherwise. Your beliefs, good student, are dumb. Your idea that we should prioritize coursework because it is coursework is not an argument. It is a truism. Your beliefs are dogma. Do you even know why you’re in college? Yes, you answer. You are such a good student that you know why all students should prioritize studies above all. One, to increase their odds of being “financially secure.” And two, to increase their odds of being “intelligent.” 

But neither wealth nor intelligence increases happiness, and both increase longevity or the chance of living longer. So, good student, this is your argument: blind instinct. Blind instinct is not an argument. You inherited the belief that it is from the University. You went to the University and came back with dogma. Dogma is that which is believed without question. That the good student is a fool who doesn’t even know why he’s in college is dumb. To be dumb is to be inarticulate, you do not have reasons. To not have reasons is to be dumb. So the University is dumb.

We’ll further prove said claim by examining the average student’s reasons for prioritizing coursework. You, a simpleton, have reasons for prioritizing your studies.  If you neglect your work, you will be punished. If you neglect your work, your GPA will gain sentience and crucify you. You will die at age 20. Your dread of underperforming is as bestial as though the above were true. You are petrified because you are a rational being. You seek to avoid suffering. If you fail to meet the University’s standards, your grades drop. When your grades drop, you suffer. So this is your reason for studying — brute fear of suffering. 

Brute fear is not an argument. It is fear. So, again, we see that the University’s driving force is blind instinct. This is not only dumb, but dangerous as well. To explain, you may be ethically blameless for "failing" your courses. You may suffer from legitimate circumstance, which necessitates your malperformance. But you may be unable to articulate said circumstance. You may, as hinted earlier, be “dumb.” For this, you will be punished.

For instance, if you were articulate enough, you could explain the fact that you couldn’t complete your coursework. You would thereby escape punitive action. To illustrate, imagine that you were “intelligent” enough to believe in “mental illness.”  Imagine, moreover, that because of your “intelligence,” you thought it possible that you might suffer from an attention deficiency. You, in addition to being "intelligent," are also articulate. You are articulate enough to give an accurate and detailed account of the events comprising your inability to focus on school. As such, you make it clear to your University that you suffer from the corresponding mental disorder or, in other words, being yourself. You are given a diagnosis. You enroll in the University’s disability services. The University tends to your inability.

But if you are the bad student, you would be punished for the identical situation. You would be punished, through “bad grades,” for being you.

Why? Because the University is dumb. It receives an input, "bad work," and gives an output, "bad grade." It neither contextualizes nor does it purport to. The University neither claims to nor can it give an account of your level of intelligence. It does, however, do so implicitly. At school, you are assigned grades and numbers. Both of which are dumb. They point out performance and nothing else. If the University were not dumb, it would make this clear to you. It does not, and you suffer because it. 

You believe that coursework has some intrinsic value. It does not. You believe your performance to have some mystic ability to decide your intelligence and future. Both beliefs negatively impact your mental health. You instinctively interpret grades as threat and punishment. Mortal fear is your driving motivation as a student. Said fear sustains a stress and suicide epidemic at the University. If the University were not dumb, it would actively work to prevent this. It would reinforce the fact that the University does nothing but repeat the fact of your performance. It does not because it cannot, it is dumb.

Radcliffe Bent is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in English and philosophy. His column, "Doubt," runs on alternate Tuesdays.


Radcliffe Bent

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