Letters to the Editor
LZC Aims at Reversing Student Apathy
Alyssa Bereznak's article 'Student Apathy Wins the Day' demonstrates precisely the misunderstandings surrounding the Dimensions of Culture debate that stand in the way of positive change.
First of all, in its attempt to criticize the approach of the Lumumba-Zapata Coalition, the article actually proves the LZC's point. Many D.O.C. students are indeed bored with the coursework. And who can blame them?
A quick flip through the Justice reader shows us that a good 80 percent of the reading selections are Supreme Court decisions that are often written in confusing and obscure legalese. Compare that to a syllabus from the early 1990s, of which about half consists of opinionated and engaging commentary from various scholars, paper prompts that are not afraid to ask students to express opinions about controversial issues, not to mention a documentary here and there to help the learning process along. Sounds like a much more interesting class to me.
Second of all, the article overlooks a major critique of the D.O.C. program: that it lacks any coherent framework. For instance, in D.O.C. 3, we are pushed into writing papers about literature without even the most perfunctory introduction to literary elements such as form, syntax, genre, etc. How can we expect students to stay active in a class in which they have no idea what they are supposed to be learning?
What the LZC advocates is a curriculum that is less passive, less incoherent and less boring. The LZC's proposed changes would reverse the very same student apathy that Bereznak's article attacks. Maybe I am guilty of being one of those 'bright-eyed, I-always-have-an-opinion-individuals' that Bereznak makes fun of, but I believe that most college students will find value in every step of their education, but only if they are offered the right raw materials to do so.
- Janice Lu