Coming Together

Due to some administrative faux paus the final semester of my senior year, our class doubled from a cozy cohort of ten to a circle of twenty working adults completing their BA degrees—in some cases thirty years after first attending college.

Within this circle was an Ethiopian refugee who’d arrived ten years earlier with a wife and infant, no money and no English, whose sponsoring family never showed up to meet him, leaving them to fend for themselves. There was also a young Cambodian man who’d escaped the Khmer Rouge death camps after seeing his relatives brutally murdered before his innocent eyes.

The Irish woman who wrote children’s stories captivated us all as the most gentle person we’d ever met, and the Japanese mother struggling with her dropped articles composed the most inspiring pre-school curriculum imaginable. For the rest of us who’d overcome traumas of our own in challenging political violence in this country, it was an exhilarating experience led by our beloved instructor who’d herself escaped Nazi Yugoslavia as a child.

Today, five years later, the same administrators who inadvertently threw us together received notice that the school is about to lose its accreditation due to lack of academic integrity and administrative competence. In this scathing letter to the school’s president, there are numerous citations of trustees’ contempt for the faculty and disregard of students despite many warnings from the oversight agency since 2002.

Yet, even as our alma mater appears doomed to become rubble in the not-so-distant future, a spirit of persistence and creativity is rising among alumni, students, and faculty who’ve endured worse than the self-aggrandizing tyrants running New College can dish out. Perhaps, in time, even they’ll come to see that the magic we encountered at the school happened not because of them, but despite them.

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~ by Jay Taber on July 16, 2007.

3 Responses to “Coming Together”

  1. Together we can save New College!

  2. First we throw the bums out, then we build something new.

  3. Hey, I gave Hamilton a pink slip (taffeta) in November 2006. After the vote of no confidence, he resigned, effective sometime in the next year. I think we can speed that up.

    I agree with you entirely! Throw them out. And no more self-selecting boards! The board must be elected by the entire community–students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae.

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