Breaking from a centuries old tradition of challenging students to create a better world, the nation’s Ivy League colleges have announced that they will deemphasize civic virtues and foster a culture of personal success on their campuses. The nation’s other top colleges and universities are scrambling to keep pace with the change.
Officials at a number of the institutions announced the new policy for the Ivy League, flooding social media with news about what they are calling a new, “core aligned” curriculum. “Liberal arts colleges have traditionally inculcated their students with a sense of duty and a responsibility to society at large,” said President Bryant Chelmsford of Harvard. “But when they leave our campuses, our students enter a capitalist system that rewards self-interest and for-profit enterprising. It is this disconnect that we aim to remediate with our new curriculum.”
The University of Pennsylvania’s Dean of the famed Wharton Business School took to social media as well, posting an article on Facebook, “Capital First,” in which he introduced Wharton’s new version of the program. “The liberal arts foster a search for truth while preparing students for the world in which we live. Our capitalist system amasses great fortunes at the top and creates a socioeconomic underclass at the bottom. This is a truth that is central to our world and should therefore be central to our curriculum.”
The colleges acknowledged that this new curriculum is likely to meet with resistance. “Look, not everyone is going to agree that we should abandon our emphasis on social progress,” said Dartmouth President H. Rogers Devonshire. “But the transition from college to the real world is hard enough for our students without them carrying a false belief that the corporations and institutions they will lead are interested in the common good or will reward socially conscience decisions that negatively impact the the wealth and standing of those in power.”
Student reaction to the news was mixed. One student at Yale was disappointed. “This is our time to believe that we can actually make the world a better place. Now they are taking that away from us. It really isn’t fair.” But a Princeton undergrad was relieved. “I don’t think many of us believed in all of that ‘make the world a better place’ stuff anyway. We grew up with the Internet. We already know that we need to be celebrities or super rich or we don’t count as much.”
(Yes, this piece is satirical. The Ivies haven’t actually called bullshit on making the world a better place. But I hope this piece highlights the disconnect between the ideals we preach to the young and the system that we are actually preparing them to enter.)