Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A cognitively-gated community

From Don't Blame Students for Being Hypersensitive. Blame Colleges. by Phoebe Maltz Bovy.

Bovy's article addresses a passing faddish issue in our privileged universities, "safe spaces." That's not what caught my eye. At the end of her article, she has a turn of phrase that I think could be quite descriptive. What she says is:
It’s not that students demand that colleges provide a gated-community experience tailored to their every preference. Instead, the elite schools are selling that experience—and given the competitiveness of that marketplace, it’s hardly surprising that campus life sometimes crosses over into the ridiculous. Shulevitz blames the students, and surely they deserve some of it. But they’re demanding exactly the college experience that the brochures have promised them.
Regardless of the merits of that conclusion, and I think it probably has merit, I read her wording differently than was intended. My reading was a variant of confirmation bias and epistemic closure.

I read "a gated-community experience" as "a cognitively-gated community." I know that is neither what she said or meant, but that is what my subconscious read into it. I think that is a pretty reasonable description of some universities and some departments within other universities - a cognitively-gated community.

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