Regarding Ruth Marcus’s April 20 op-ed column, “Needed schooling on bad behavior”:
Academic culture and campus culture are inextricably linked. The epidemic of student drinking and sexual assault stems from the failure of too many of our colleges and universities to demand a culture of academic seriousness. It’s time the adults examine how well their institutions are fulfilling their academic missions.
Nationwide, grade inflation, “open” curricula that fail to challenge students with a broad range of rigorous subjects and class schedules that allow the weekend to start on Thursdays—or earlier—have helped students avoid academic challenge and intellectual growth. Add to that the end of in loco parentis, and it’s no wonder that the college experience has become a veritable “anything goes.” Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon can blame students all he wants, but it is administrators and trustees who have failed students and allowed the situation to get out of hand.
Trustees and presidents must examine their institutions to ensure they are focusing on their primary academic purpose. Then, and only then, will the academic leaders really be able to say the party’s over.