Former Mount St. Mary philosopher John Schwenkler makes the same point, suggesting that neither is a university a place for drowning bunnies.
The Mount, though, is supposed to be different. It’s supposed to be a community, a place where administrators aren’t bosses, students aren’t customers, and faculty aren’t employees. Simon Newman, with his MBA and previous stint at Bain Capital, seems not to care about this.Neither do a lot of deanlets and deanlings, hedge fund experience or not. Nor, sometimes, do trendy and transgressive faculty. But the good of the intellect is something that ought to be cultivated.
In the time I taught at Mount St. Mary’s I encountered many students who would likely have been better off waiting a few years before going to college, or maybe not going at all. I also encountered many more who struggled at various times, and as freshmen especially, before turning around to become wonderful students and exemplary adults. Many such students have spoken out in the wake of Newman’s callous comments, recalling what it was like to be a struggling college student, and the way that faculty and administrators at the Mount reached out to help them work through this. Large secular universities, like the one where I teach now, usually aren’t able to do this sort of thing, at least not in such a focused way. Having access to this level of support and understanding is one of the things that makes going to a small Catholic college arguably worth the bill.Yes, perhaps the common schools ought to be doing a better job, and the high schools that turn out a lot of Distressed Material ought be identified and shamed and sent the bill. And the common culture ought be less trashy. And still, running Mount St. Mary, or Marquette, or Northern Illinois more like a business surely produces the miserable people, the people who have lost the good of the intellect.