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College Is Wasted On Sexually Promisicuous Youth Or Intellectual Curiosity Is Lost On The Rabid Young?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's Jerusalem Post article on America's coed colleges and the uneducated, culturally vapid, intellectual slackers it spawns is gathering its share of criticism. But despite the generic tone of "youth going to Hell in a handbasket" that Boteach's … Read More

By / March 21, 2007

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's Jerusalem Post article on America's coed colleges and the uneducated, culturally vapid, intellectual slackers it spawns is gathering its share of criticism. But despite the generic tone of "youth going to Hell in a handbasket" that Boteach's argument wallows in for a bit too long, I don't think that he's all that far gone with his conclusion that there are academic advantages to a single sex higher ed institution. Namely, that the sexual and/or romantic entanglements combined with the debaucherous joie de vivre of being away from home get in the way of academic affairs. My father who is a Professor could attest greatly to this. Whether Boteach is simply using his J Post platform to preach the didactic of abstinance and female modesty (Tzniut) is another topic altogether.

If there is one event that sums up all that is wrong with American university life, it is spring break, which was celebrated last week. I was lecturing in Miami Beach, where I grew up, and was walking on the city's famed boardwalk. Thousands of young college students – all in their late teens and early 20s – were lounging on the sand.

It was a sobering sight. The female students' beach attire was close to non-existent. Time was when the bikini was considered revealing. Today it is only for prudes and the modestly attired. These young women were already perfecting their role as eye candy for men. Is this what they were learning in college?

Western educational life revolves around getting into a good college. But the time has come for a fundamental reevaluation of whether our children progress or regress at university. The simple fact is that the American campus is not a very healthy place and belies its description as a place of "higher" education.

Before parents send their kids off to college they should travel to a nearby campus and witness its shenanigans for themselves. That's what the celebrated novelist Tom Wolfe did for his 2004 novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons.

READERS OF the book would scarcely believe the description of the American campus as a giant orgy filled with misogynistic men who harbor indescribable contempt for women and arrive on campus with the stated intention of bedding as many as possible. Less so would they believe the complicity with which women have joined in their own degradation.

Most of us believe that sending our daughters off to college will safeguard their future and increase their self-esteem as they walk away with a respected degree. In fact, for a great many young women the campus environment serves to foster permanent anxiety as to their looks and a concern that rejecting the prevailing sexual availability will label them as unpopular prudes.

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