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Guess What Swarthmore College Will Teach Your Children for $63,550 a Year?

Posted on | December 3, 2016 | 7 Comments

Tuition at Swarthmore College is $49,104, room and board is $14,446, and what does this elite private school teach its students?

Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology
The God of the Bible and later Jewish and Christian literature is distinctively masculine, definitely male. Or is He? If we can point out places in traditional writings where God is nurturing, forgiving, and loving, does that mean that God is feminine, or female? This course examines feminist and queer writings about God, explores the tensions between feminist and queer theology, and seeks to stretch the limits of gendering-and sexing-the divine. Key themes include: gender; embodiment; masculinity; liberation; sexuality; feminist and queer theory.

Queering the Bible
This course surveys queer and trans* readings of biblical texts. It introduces students to the complexity of constructions of sex, gender, and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times. By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and trans* theoretical approaches, this class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the bible–and religion–says about gender and sexuality.

Preaching homosexuality as a religion earned Swarthmore a coveted spot on the Young America’s Foundation list of “America’s Most Bizarre and Politically Correct College Courses of 2016-2017”:

“The sad truth is that many of America’s greatest minds are spending four formative years and tens of thousands of dollars sitting in classes such as ‘Ecofeminism,’ and ‘Queering God,’ which clearly do little to equip them to face the real and complex problems our country desperately needs them to solve,” the foundation stated in releasing its list. . . .
Called the Comedy & Tragedy survey, it uses class course descriptions to illustrate “the increasingly radical world of academia.” . . .
What’s more, “many of the courses listed in this study are just plain wastes of time,” it adds.
“Harvard teaches ‘Friends with Benefits?’ and ‘Queering Affect.’ In this same trend, Swarthmore offers both ‘Queering God’ and ‘Queering the Bible.’ Yale offers ‘Bodies and Pleasures, Sex and Genders’ as well as ‘Transgender Cultural Production.’ Students aren’t only spending their time in hilariously weird courses—they’re sitting through hours of courses that tactlessly group members of our society into collective entities, stripping them of their individuality and blaming conservatism for their ills.”

Fewer than 1,600 students attend Swarthmore, which was founded by Quakers in the 1860s and now promotes homosexuality at an annual symposium named for one of its gay alumni, Richard Sager:

Every spring Swarthmore College hosts an unusual dance party known as “Genderf–k.” Students are expected to defy normal gender standards by cross-dressing and/or wearing very little clothing, which is always a fun & entertaining spectacle. The dance is part of the Sager symposium, which is for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Studies, held every year to increase awareness about queer issues (with queer-focused lectures, performances and social events).

Students on the 425-acre campus can join such organizations as the Swarthmore Feminists and the Swarthmore Queer Union.

Every spring, students at Swarthmore celebrate “Crunkfest” featuring the “American Masturbatory Theater Company” — a circle-jerk as performance art. In March 2014, Swarthmore made headlines during Women’s History Month by hosting a “Fat Justice and Feminism” workshop, funded by the Women’s Resource Center.

That workshop was taught by self-described “angry, man-hating lesbian” Nichole Sullivan and her comrade Cora Segal, who subsequently became notorious as “TrigglyPuff.” Swarthmore has plenty of money with which to provide its students queer theology, feminism, cross-dressing, “fat justice” and public masturbation, but the $63,550-a-year college doesn’t have a football team. Swarthmore eliminated football in 2000:

Swarthmore’s decision wasn’t due to lack of funding, or the burdens of complying with federal gender-equity law, or apathy. In fact, attendance had improved from an average of about 750 fans at games in 1999 to about 1,000 this season.
Instead, the 1,400-student school said it is cutting football because it does not want to recruit so many athletes.
“People get an edge in the admissions process if they are incredible musicians or artists or maybe for community service,” college spokesman Tom Krattenmaker said. “It’s basic math. If you eliminate football, you suddenly have a lot more spaces for everything else.” . . .
“The price of making football work was just too great,” Krattenmaker said.

Yes, there are “a lot more spaces for everything else” at Swarthmore, none of which seem to involve sanity or heterosexuality. Swarthmore’s office of Counseling and Psychological Services provides “free, voluntary, confidential psychological individual and group counseling to students,” and has a staff of 11 employees, or about one counselor for every 145 students on campus. The staff psychologists must be overworked because, let’s face it, you’d have to be crazy to go to Swarthmore and your parents would be crazy to spend $63,550 a year to send you there. If your kid is a deranged lunatic (cross-dressing, masturbating in public, babbling gibberish about “queer theology,” etc.) just call 911 and have them committed to the state mental asylum. Problem solved, no cost to you.

“Hey, Jake, what’s this I hear about your daughter being hauled off to the funny farm last week? Was she on drugs or something?”
“No, it was worse than that — she applied to Swarthmore.”

A daily dose of Thorazine would be better than the Swarthmore curriculum:

Students in Swarthmore’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program study the social relations of power in a variety of cultural, historical, and national contexts. The objective of the program is to bring feminist and queer theory in conversation with new research methodologies in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The program emphasizes complex interrelationships among gender and sexuality, race and class, and local and global politics. . . .
Students take a course on theory and methodology in gender and sexuality studies, which can focus on topics as diverse as gender and education and feminist critiques of biology.

They don’t teach biology at Swarthmore. They teach “feminist critiques of biology,” and have a “conversation” with “queer theory.” Must be hard to take notes when you’re wearing a straitjacket, but . . .

Trans* Bodies and Power in the Age of Transgenderism
This talk by Jack Halberstam investigates desires, orientations, experiences of the gendered body that are nestled within the elliptical modes of address that stretch between what can be said, what can be thought and what feels possible if not probable. It is not a survey of transpeople, trans experience or trans politics so much as an account of the spaces between that have opened up as old classification systems give way to new and as gender norms, bodily practices and desires are reconfigured within new matrices of meaning, politics, violence and fleshly becomings.

Professor Halberstam’s event Monday at Swarthmore is sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. “Jack” (neé Judith) Halberstam is an acclaimed expert on such topics as the “transgender gaze,” “lesbian drag king cultures” and “dyke subcultures as one site for the development of queer counterpublics and queer temporalities.” Parents are paying $63,550 a year for their kids to learn this stuff at a college that doesn’t even have a football team, whereas Penn State tuition for in-state students is only $17,900 and, with room and board ($11,860), the total cost is $29,760. You could send your kid to the University of Alabama and, even paying out-of-state tuition, it would cost you only $36,500 a year, including room and board. Alabama is No. 1 in college football, and Penn State (No. 8) will play Wisconsin tonight for the Big Ten championship. Meanwhile, your kid expects you to pay $63,550 a year for her to major in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Swarthmore. If that’s not a textbook case of insanity, what is? Speaking of textbooks . . .

The faculty of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Swarthmore includes Professor Tamsin Lorraine, who is also chair of the Philosophy department. Her doctoral dissertation, Gender, Identity, and the Production of Meaning, was published in 1990 and is described thus:

In this study of the production and interpretation of meaning, Tamsin Lorraine argues that writing texts is a self-constituting, meaning-producing activity that is inherently gender-formed. At the core of her analysis is a theory of the self developed from Hegelian and Lacanian insights, criticized and revised in the light of [Luce] Irigaray and [Nancy] Chodorow. The value of this framework is dramatically demonstrated when it is applied to the reading of three “masculinist” texts, taken from Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Sartre.

If you’re not a student of postmodern gender theory, you probably don’t know that Luce Irigaray is a “French lesbian feminist, psychoanalyst, and philosopher . . . involved in the development of psycholinguistically based critique of heteropatriarchal language.” Nancy Chodorow’s theories about girls’ “difficulties with boundary diffusion and differentiation” have been influential among lesbian therapists. (You can get an excellent education reading my blog, and hitting the tip jar here is a lot cheaper than tuition at Swarthmore.) Professor Lorraine is also author of the 1999 book, Irigaray and Deleuze: Experiments in Visceral Philosophy, and here is a two-sentence sample from page 24 of that book:

Irigaray’s work hints at an alternative subjectivity that is more fluid than the masculine subject, a subject that is always immersed in the world and others and whose boundaries are always shifting. She associates this subjectivity with the feminine because it is women who are more often associated with madness, the unconscious, and the body, and because she believes that women have less symbolic support for differentiating from others and maintaining a separate self-identical identity as women.

So, this “alternative subjectivity” of women is “associated with madness, the unconscious, and the body,” according to Professor Lorraine, whose duties at Swarthmore include teaching “First-Year Seminar: Human Nature” (!!) and “Introduction to Philosophy: Truth and Desire” (!!!). What sort of “nature,” what sort of “truth,” and what sort of “desire” do you suppose Professor Lorraine teaches her students, whose parents pay $63,550 a year for them to acquire this knowledge? Meanwhile . . .

Professor Patricia White is the Program Coordinator of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Swarthmore. Professor White is author of Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability, a 1999 book from page 5 of which we shall quote this two-sentence sample:

How might lesbian identities have evolved historically in relation to gendered consumerist discourses generally and in relation to fantasy consumption in the form of images and stories offered by the movies in particular? The cinema fostered new kinds of homosociality within the heterosocial sphere of commercialized leisure, and they are infused with homoerotic impulses.

Explaining what Professor White means by this would require more effort than I’m prepared to give it today, but you could hit the tip jar for $5 or $10, just to thank me for transcribing those two sentences. Even at minimum wage, that kind of labor might be worth a buck or two, which I could use to buy a beer and try to forget I ever heard of Professor White or her book. This semester, Professor White is teaching “Theory and Methodology: Special Topic: Queer Media” (GSST 020):

The history of avant-garde and experimental media has been intertwined with that of gender non-conformity and sexual dissidence. Queer theory has developed in relation to queer film texts and cultures. How do lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) filmmakers queer sexual norms and standard media forms? Challenging classic Hollywood’s heterosexual presumption and mass media appropriations of LGBT culture, we will examine LGBT aesthetic strategies and modes of address in contexts such as the American and European avant-gardes, AIDS activism, and transnational and diasporan film.

Swarthmore students are learning “gender non-conformity and sexual dissidence” as Professor White teaches them how to challenge “Hollywood’s heterosexual presumption” — and for only $63,550 a year!

Rumors that there may be heterosexual students at Swarthmore cannot be confirmed because (a) “gender non-conformity” makes it difficult to know who is male or female on campus, and (b) any heterosexual activity at Swarthmore could lead to charges of harassment or rape.

Hope Brinn (left) and her fellow plaintiff Mia Ferguson.

Feds launch investigation into
Swarthmore’s handling of sex assaults

The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into whether Swarthmore College violated federal regulations in its handling of sexual harassment and assault cases on the 1,545-student, Delaware County campus.
Student complainants Mia Ferguson, an engineering major from Cambridge, Mass., and Hope Brinn, an educational studies and sociology/anthropology major from Wilmington, received a letter from the department’s Office of Civil Rights last week confirming the probe.
“We will investigate these allegations above because OCR has jurisdiction and the allegations were filed timely,” the office’s Rhasheda S. Douglas, team leader, wrote in a July 12 letter to the women. . . .
The case at Swarthmore is part of a growing national movement in which young women are speaking out about their colleges’ handling of sexual assaults.
Ferguson and Brinn, both rising juniors, and others filed the complaint in May, alleging that Swarthmore violated federal regulations known as Title IX, which prohibit sexual discrimination. The college, the women said, created a sexually hostile environment by failing to handle the cases appropriately. They also accused the college of retaliating against Brinn for reporting she was a victim of sexual harassment and violence. A senior resident advisor told other students she was assaulted, according to the complaint.

Teenage girls assaulted? Harassed? Victims of a “sexually hostile environment”? How can this happen? Mia Ferguson blames Swarthmore:

I was sexually assaulted my first year at Swarthmore. With the support of friends, teammates, classmates, RAs, CAs, peer counselors, and staff members, I’ve come to a secure emotional place regarding the experience that allows me to identify as a “survivor”. . .
Members of the administration have attempted to push me into darkness. They summon those who are closest to me, those whom I first told about my assault, into “emergency” meetings. . . .
Some might assert I have hurt the college, or at least its administration and reputation. This, to me, feels a lot like I am the sexual assault victim and the college is the perpetrator. They don’t know their consequences, they won’t own up to their wrongdoing, and I become the bad guy for noting their crime.

This is astonishing! Swarthmore ditched its football team, hosted gay symposiums with “Genderf–k” parties, promoted queer theology, feminism, cross-dressing, “fat justice” and public masturbation. Swarthmore dedicated an entire department to analyzing “the social relations of power” and offering “feminist critiques of biology,” hired professors who are experts in “heteropatriarchal language” and “gender non-conformity and sexual dissidence.” Despite all this, somehow there are still heterosexual males on campus, and Swarthmore girls are victims of a “sexually hostile environment” — an environment for which their parents paid $63,550 a year! Why, that’s just . . . .


Crazy. The lunatics are running the asylum at Swarthmore, and the craziest part of it is that parents pay big money to send their kids to that kind of “elite” looney bin. And they don’t even have a football team.

If you hit my tip jar $63.55 and 999 other readers did the same, I could afford to send my 17-year-old son to Swarthmore for a year. But he’s already applied to his grandfather’s alma mater, the University of Alabama, so if you and 999 others could hit the tip jar for $36.50, maybe we could manage to scrape by. But if you can’t do that much, hit the tip jar for $9.99, and I could get a 6-pack of Corona to help me recover from the emotional trauma of researching the insanity at Swarthmore.

Where’s my “safe space”? Where’s my “trigger warning,” huh? Why can’t we do something to stop these academic weirdos from warping the minds of America’s youth? Why are all the so-called “elite” colleges run by nutjobs teaching gender theory and queer theology? How did Swarthmore go from being a Quaker school to being a Queer school?


Swarthmore College’s annual Queer and Trans Conference (QTC) is a student-run, free, and public conference that explores critical topics of queer and trans thinking, playing, working, organizing, and living. . . . We invite a diverse group of presenters who will help us to re-center queer and trans discourse around voices and perspectives marginalized by mainstream gay rights movements. . . .
In past years, conferences and symposiums have explored sexual politics of the bedroom, boardroom, and classroom; queer media; queer coalition building; the intersections of race, religion, and gender; queer and trans activism; debates around same-sex marriage; and queer families and homes.

Speaking of “marginalized” perspectives, what about normal? Whatever happened to normal parents trying to raise normal kids? Are there any colleges in America where they teach kids how to be normal? Because being normal seems to be an increasingly rare skill nowadays.

It’s a lonely feeling, being The Last Sane Man in America™ . . .




7 Responses to “Guess What Swarthmore College Will Teach Your Children for $63,550 a Year?”

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