Archive for Tuesday, June 26, 2012

‘Clustering’ leap

June 26, 2012


To the editor:

Shaun Hittle’s article on student athlete “clustering” in select majors is an example of irresponsible assertion and thinly veiled racism masquerading as “in-depth” reporting. Hittle observes that a disproportionate number of players in the Kansas University men’s program have majored in African/African American studies, communications and American studies. The article suggests that this demonstrates faculty’s lowered academic standards for black student athletes.

How is “clustering” proof of such misconduct? Hittle provides no evidence and apparently failed to interview faculty from these departments. Are African-American athletes the only students who select courses and majors based on word of mouth, the guidance of counselors and faculty mentors, positive learning experiences in the classroom, and personal affinities? Are they so different from other students who “cluster” around education, business or other popular undergraduate majors? The issue is whether student athletes receive a quality education, not how many of them share a major.

Hittle makes the leap that majoring in these fields presents “little future opportunity” for those who don’t turn professional. Again, what is the basis of this claim? As with all liberal arts fields, African/African American studies, communications, and American studies endeavor to teach critical thinking, research and writing; explore the human condition in all of its complexity; and foster engaged citizenship. They contribute a solid foundation for numerous careers, not to mention more thoughtful and informed journalism.          


labmonkey 2 years, 5 months ago

"They contribute a solid foundation for numerous careers..."

Name some.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

Fields that would require critical thinking. You should give that a try some time.

labmonkey 2 years, 5 months ago

So insult the messenger since you have no good response to the message... par for the course for you.

Jayhawk1958 2 years, 5 months ago

Any require the skills and knowledge they learned in college. Did you go to college?

labmonkey 2 years, 5 months ago

I have a B.S. in a science field and did some graduate work. Unfortunately I did not finish my Masters, but my job now pays much more than the job I would have received with the Masters. I would have loved to get a history degree (and may still pursue one at some point), but I knew that would never get me a job that would pay me enough to raise a family.

labmonkey 2 years, 5 months ago

Hmmm... two posts insulting me, but still not answering my question. What career outside of academia will these majors get you?

cato_the_elder 2 years, 5 months ago

This isn't rocket science. All that's happened is that KU has quietly adopted soft curricula, perfected by most Big Ten schools decades ago, which are reasonably successful in offering athletes (and non-athletes too) a way to stay in college by avoiding taking the difficult courses.

The faculty members responding to Mr. Hittle's article do, methinks, protest too much.

mycatsrightorwrong 2 years, 5 months ago

Your comments are ridiculous... or should I say, your 'comments' are 'ridiculous'. Do you really believe there's someone, on this planet, that could be claimed to be a "government complex intellectual nuanced Liberal"? You sound like a crazy person. My guess is you look a little something like this:

labmonkey 2 years, 5 months ago

In other words, the LTE writers acknowledge "you're f*g with my bread and butter."

bad_dog 2 years, 5 months ago

"So insult the messenger since you have no good response to the message... par for the course for you."

Where have I heard that before? Hmm...

mom_of_three 2 years, 5 months ago

Has any one who commented taken a class from any one of the professors or faculty listed? I didn't think so. And one of you makes the claim that American students/AA studies courses are "soft." Go ahead, take a class and tell me that the curriculum is soft and the class is easy.

Jayhawk1958 2 years, 5 months ago

They can't tell you that because they didn't go to college!

classclown 2 years, 5 months ago

Looks like athletes aren't the only ones that cluster. The faculty does it too.

Alceste 2 years, 5 months ago

Hmmmm......job security letter?

Tidwell raked a cool $92,096.16 in 2011 ( )

Davis pulled in $92,238.69 for the same time period ( )

Lang don't count as Lang is a "visiting professor".....whatever that is......

What departments are they in? Let's take a look see: Tidwell's in "English"; Davis is in Film and Media Studies; Lang's in African/African Amer Studies.

Gravy train jobs (if they can even be called jobs....) shrug

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