23 April 2014

On Climbing Walls and "Class" Warfare

Enough already with the amenities!

No, no. Not like that. That's been beaten to death. I'm all right with student amenities. I'm just tired of hearing about them.

One of the popular villians for those critical of the increasing costs of higher education are student amenities. The climbing wall seems to be the primus inter pares here, the Skeletor ruling over the Castle Greyskull that the student union has become. But "gourmet" dining options (which, judging by what I've seen, are an improvement over the classic school cafeteria but are on par with your local Golden Trough Buffet) also come up a lot, and every once in a while I hear of that most egregious fault: maid service in dorms (gasp!).

No one is (openly) criticizing these in themselves. The criticism seems to be that these costly (we presume; I haven't seen anyone actually provide numbers) amenities are taking money away from academics, costing departments full-time faculty positions and exacerbating the casualization of teaching.

I call bullshit.