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BUT ENOUGH WITH the everything-bad-is-good-for-you-if-you-say-it-is view. Let’s take a more mature second look.
In reality, the situation is kind of unfair. Even if students who give in to gaming temptations deserve lower grades, and might even learn from them, that doesn’t change the fact that some students weren’t tempted at all.
The room assignments were random, so by sheer luck, some kids ended up in situations where they got lower grades. Who your roommate is matters.
It would be absurd, as Pinsker says, to undertake some sort of “roommate justice” initiative in which colleges regulate the forms of entertainment in which students may partake. But this research shows without much doubt that Berea’s random-assignment system is unwise, and that colleges everywhere should take care in constructing the surveys that match students to roommates.
On the second point, schools that do use surveys can learn something here. These questionnaires (you can read some by Googling “roommate survey,” though you might want to be sure that “safe search” is on) typically do a good job of matching habits — they almost always ask about sleep schedules, the sharing of belongings, cleanliness, etc.
Some even ask about drinking and sexual behavior, albeit with varying degrees of frankness. At Arizona State a student can give the go-ahead for a roommate to get it on “anywhere in the room.” At Indiana University-Bloomington it’s filed under the more decent euphemism “private time.”
But all colleges should ask. Even if it makes parents and administrators uncomfortable, it’s worthwhile to avoid a situation where both roommates like going to bed by midnight, but only one prefers to be alone and non-vocal.
Few surveys, however, ask many questions about media consumption. They may ask whether one prefers to study with a TV on, but even those who answer “no” might want the tube going often enough that it disrupts a roommate.
Why not ask whether a student will bring a TV and/or video games, how often he plans to enjoy them, and whether he’d prefer a roommate without them? Students who better resist temptation at a distance could opt out of potentially GPA-hurting situations. For students who choose not to, well, it’s their own damn fault.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online