New policies in NESCAC

 

This past week schools in the NESCAC have seen everything from educational reform, to a school wide lock down due to a potential shooter on campus.

Connecticut College has continued its work to reform their educational system by putting a new system in place called “Connections” which will begin in the fall of 2016. Connections is a new look at the classic liberal arts education, allowing students to have more freedom in what they want to study during their time at the College.

The College Voice, Connecticut College’s student run newspaper stated that the first step towards this process will be “integrative pathways,” a system that is broken down into multiple components. The first is thematic inquiry, “which requires each student to take a designated course that “presents the theme and provides an overview of the pathway. The second component of the program is curricular itinerary, which dictates that each student take three other courses, chosen from a roster created by the pathway’s core faculty group.”

In essence, this will allow students to follow a specialized track towards a major without completing the usual distribution requirements.  Once in place, the new system will guide students throughout their entire career at Connecticut College, eventually culminating in a final project that will replace their senior thesis. “The final component is the senior reflection…” During the fall of senior year, each student will have the opportunity to “reflect on the different elements of their pathway, in the context of their overall undergraduate experience.” This will also be connected to an all-college symposium, where students “will share their responses to animating questions with the College community.” The current plan is for the “integrated pathways” curriculum to begin its take over  starting in the fall of 2018.

Further north in Clinton, New York, Hamilton College faced a serious scare when the campus was put on lockdown after a report of a suspected gunman wandering the campus. Hamilton College’s paper, The Spectator, stated it was at 11:00 a.m. when a physical plant worker called in what he believed to be a man walking across one of the athletic fields dressed in full camouflage carrying a gun. The campus was placed into lockdown, urging students and faculty to stay indoors until the threat had been examined more thoroughly by the authorities.

At this point the suspected gunman had made his way into one of the school’s buildings, where campus security confronted him. It turned out the suspected gunman was simply a student participating in a campus wide game between students. “The individual was part of the campus game ‘Humans vs. Zombies’ and Security Officer Manfredo attributed the student’s behavior to trying not to get caught. That’s the whole purpose of the game, we get that,” Manfredo said.

The lockdown lasted a total of 26 minutes as there was never a real threat to the safety of the students and faculty. However, considering that this scare occurred so close to school shootings in Texas and Arizona, Hamilton administrators wanted to take no chances in dealing with this potential threat. The paper noted that “Manfredo acknowledged the concern that there might have been copycat shooters: Any time you hear of that you get on this heightened alert. You’re always worried about copycats, he said.

The game of Humans vs. Zombies was disbanded by college officials who decided it was a bad idea given the situation that had just unfolded, “At a time when there is so much violence on college campuses it’s hard to imagine that Human vs. Zombies in its current form will continue to exist on our campus.” This does not necessairly mean the end for Human vs. Zombie games in the future, but instead of Nerf weapons, the “humans” will now be using balled up socks to defend themselves against the oncoming zombies.