OBU has recently decided to cut back on the number of credit hours required to graduate from 128 credits to 120, and there have been varied reactions from everyone involved. Transfers and future students rejoice in the streets; seniors mourn in mild resentment. Professors and administration are up in arms—who will have to give up their beloved hours? what classes must be sacrificed on the alter of change? what could OBU possibly not need in our outstanding repertoire of lectures and programs? It’s civil war on Bison Hill.
On a campus where credit hours are as treasured as gold and as coveted as a parking spot in the Oval, there really isn’t an answer that will please everyone. However, there is a solution that would satisfy most anyone:
Do away with CIV.
There really is no other way to make the most people happy with the least amount of repercussion. Transfers wouldn’t have to worry about making up those credits as upperclassman. The university’s average GPA would skyrocket. Administration wouldn’t have to wince every time they heard the term “Suicide CIV” bantered about campus. The number of incoming students might even increase without the class’s looming threat—local high schools whisper about the atrocities of Western Civilization at OBU, and it’s rather off-putting.
In fact, the only groups who might protest are upperclassman who have already done their time and those history and literature professors who elect to put themselves through the class every year.
Here are a few quick reasons that ditching Western Civilization would benefit OBU:
First, there’s the argument that nobody ever learns from history—not really, not in any way that matters. Just look at the world today.
Who needs to know that the Black Plague began in 1346 when 2020 boasts its own version? Why learn about the Greeks’ trial run of democracy or the ideas behind the founding of America when all of those principles are being called into question today? What’s the point of Plato or Aristotle when the 21 century’s wisdom can be found while scrolling through Twitter and comes with relevant GIFS? Doesn’t society always progress, and isn’t now the furthest along society has ever been?
“We learn from history that we do not learn from history,” German philosopher Georg Hegel said.
Has anyone ever really learned anything from the past?
Second is the other side of the CIV coin: literature. Classical literature stands alongside history as a pillar of the class, and yet it too relies on a faulty foundation. The “classics” are often too old, stifling, needlessly difficult to understand and far removed from the modern world to be relevant.
With the exception of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” (which walked so the modern enemies-to-lovers trope could run) and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” (which is objectively great), not much has been truly accomplished through literature itself.
Classical literature might contain commentaries on society and culture, but so do movies, comics in the newspaper and cliché young adult novels. What makes a classic automatically better? It is some sense of elitism? It’s almost as if a text must be challenging to read—either in language or in content—in order to be truly worthwhile. Anything that takes longer to parse through than a Twitter post with particularly bad grammar is quickly moved past, and content that makes people think too much is increasingly easy to ignore or ban.
Other things are simply… easier.
A third, equally significant and beneficial reason for getting rid of CIV is that Bluebooks are required for the tests, and good authority has it that Bluebooks are the devil.
“Bluebooks are the devil,” associate professor of philosophy Dr. Anderson said.
Honestly, the war over credits would be easily solved if the student body were able to vote on what classes to cut. It’s obvious that CIV is one of most challenging, most dreaded, most GPA-wrecking classes the university offers; the takeaway doesn’t rival the amount of effort needed to get through it. CIV is change—dynamic, not static, and as they’re forced through CIV students are also asked to take a moment and think about the world around them, how it got to be that way and why it all matters. All by simply memorizing some dates and names, skimming some poetry and dozing through some lectures, and that’s quite a bit to ask of someone who woke up seven minutes before class.
So, really—it’s not as if that, in getting rid of CIV, OBU would be losing anything crucial to a good Christian Liberal Arts education… like Walk/Jog.