Re: " Political ‘Science ‘," Sept. 27, 2001,

Editor, the Gauntlet,

After four years in Kinesiology, Gauntlet News Editor Ruth Davenport went in search of something a little "less scientific, less defined, and more subjective." Accordingly, she enrolled in two Political Science classes. It is clear that Ms. Davenport is disappointed with her choice. What is far less clear is why.

The ongoing discussion of theories, interpretations, and tangential postulations frustrate Ms. Davenport. This discussion is not helpful to those interested in academic discourse. Many would postulate, not so tangentially, that the discussion of those theories and interpretations is the academic discourse. Maybe there’s more to her case.

Despite her quest for subjectivity, she "cringes" every time a student challenges the professor with a subjective opinion. Forgetting for a moment that professors routinely ask for student opinion, we have all felt the twinge of embarrassment for a classmate who asks a "silly" question or presents a radically different point of view. But this questioning is fundamental to the liberal education. First-year confrontations and less than thought-out diatribes often evolve into sophisticated dialogue.

Ms. Davenport would rather be indoctrinated. The professor should lecture from what Ms. Davenport believes to be a book of "fact," hardly the subjectivity she was looking for.

In her Political Science classes, Ms. Davenport suffers from "alienation and exclusion." Her peers are not helpful resources, but antagonists. The fault for this belongs to no one but herself. She stays huddled in the corner, watching the dialogue unfold. If she chooses to "sit on the bench" during this Socratic debate, it is her own inability or insecurity that causes her alienation. If she refuses to join the dialogue, this is what renders her classmates idle as resources.

Ms. Davenport was looking for something less scientific, less defined and more subjective than Kinesiology. For some reason, she was upset to find these things in Political Science.

Why? I suppose she is simply too used to the "subjectivity" of an editorial board. From there, she can postulate to no end, and comfortably refrain from any form of dialogue.

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