The mission of the University, once things were effectively contained during the dreadsome 70’s and the go-go 80’s, was to take a more controlling role in the student.  This should not be mistaken for guidance, humanism, or anything of the individually-oriented sort.  The University had to improve the pigeonholing of individual students before and during their acceptance into the system.

Rather than collating potential students into the body of the best and brightest of the region or the country, it became important to track and interleave the student back into the class from which he/she originated.  The University could be a limited instrument of encouraging interclass mobility, as it once was.  However, it had gotten out of hand, and too many trust funds were spent on filthy communes and gangs of smelly hippies – from all classes, no less.

The GI Bill had wrecked the university.  The cost of education could be used as a filter to exclude the poorest.  However, the entrance requirement now insisted that every student should be identified in their permanent record with an essence that made them outstanding, and worthy of mention in cocktail parties.

They must, however, go back in their slot when time had passed.  Lesbian community organizers from Xenia, Ohio would go back to lead lesbian community organization someplace in the Midwest.  The record for the highest pole-vault in high school would go back to someplace in Flyover Country.  The carnival would be populated with glam and fashionable bit players, extras and such; all of whom would immediately disassemble and go back to being Brown or whatever, after their brush with greatness.

The Real Deal – the legacy students, the students from the Alumni/Board/Club circuit would be properly entertained during their educational period, sent off to Harvard/Yale/Stanford Law/Business School, and placed gently back in Papa’s firm.

I knew a Brown Person who went to Yale, enraptured by the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and arrived eager to study English Literature.  She came in Brown, and she was slated to go out Brown, but she did not Viva la Raza, or endorse the Reconquista, or any of those terrible things the minorities like.  She wanted to slip outside her slot, and was appropriately punished for the sin of lèse-majesté, or perhaps a forbidden interclass shift in American terms.  The punishment is the same – return to whence you came, in obscurity, you… you…

Come to think of it, almost all of the Brown people and Black people I have known could not shake the label, no matter what ivied pile they mooned under and compiled poesy.  Whitman?  Perhaps Columbia, perhaps Penn.  But back to Long Island, young man!  He was Huntington, not Hampton – and that makes all the difference.

 

 

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