Reed on the Road 2013: Campaign Edition

rotr13_blogReed on the Road: Campaign Edition

Though our centennial campaign is over, Reed’s commitment to its historic principles and goals continues. The impact of the $200 million that alumni, parents, and friends contributed to help strengthen the academic program and to provide support for a community of scholars is multifaceted.

Celebrate this milestone at these convivial events where you will hear how the campaign’s success is changing students’ lives and have an opportunity to share your vision for Reed’s next century. President Kroger will lead a discussion on the future of Reed and the changing nature of higher education and take questions after the program.

This will be an interactive event, and we kindly request that participants read the following article by Louis Menand and then help us frame the conversation: propose additional questions on Reed’s curriculum that you would like to see discussed in small groups at the tables. Submit topics as a comment below (here are a few to get you started).

If you haven’t already, please RSVP for this event in one of eight cities this spring.

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10 Responses to Reed on the Road 2013: Campaign Edition

  1. John Lee Kapner says:

    In the years since Reed, which has proved more important to you: what you learned in the courses you took at Reed, or how to learn what you have found you needed or wanted to learn since Reed?

  2. Seth Yorra, '67 says:

    It was the apparent irrelevancy of the humanities curriculum to everyday life, although the human experience was placed in the center of the Reed experience, in the 1960s at least, which made it important. In the humanities curriculum, we were first given a two (or even three) thousand year old cadaver, the polis, and certain, critical tools, both pre-existing and contemporary with our cadaver, with which to analyze, dissect, observe under the microscope of reason and predict the functions of the relationship of our species to a defined civic reality.

    Recently, during the process of drafting a motion for judgment, I sat up, wide awake, in the middle of the night, with one of those dissected bits of ancient sinew, a phrase from the past about the functioning of ancient institutions, flapping about in my head and violently whacking Broca’s area. “Cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex,” I said aloud! If the reason for a law ceases to exist, the law ceases to exist. This ancient bit of sinew still operates with modern musculature. It has been adopted by diverse fora of the law from Latin Europe all the way up to the Supreme Court of the U.S.

    My client was given a punishment in the U.S., after the U.S. pulled his green card, promised to deport him and locked him up, under a statute, which was, under its own language, meant to provide limited protection only to citizens of the Commonwealth from felons free to walk around in their neighborhoods. It was argued at the time that the client, not a citizen of the U.S. nor a resident of the Commonwealth, and awaiting deportation in lockup, could only, but theoretically, and then only in the event of an escape from custody, represent a “threat” for the 45 minutes of his ride from detention to the airport. Under the assumption that “things might not go as planned,” or that the polity is only an imperfect structure, the forum proceeded to issue punishment under cover of protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth.

    Things did go as planned; the client never represented a threat to the citizens of the Commonwealth and the appeal was lodged. Neither retrospectively, nor prospectively, from the moment of the utterance of the judgment, was any citizen of the Commonwealth placed in peril.

    Now the question comes up, where the enabling legislation says “upon making specific written findings that the circumstances of the offense in conjunction with the offender’s criminal history do not indicate a risk of reoffense or a danger to the public and the reasons therefor…” indicating the practical, not theoretical usage of statute, must the effects of the judgment not be abandoned; and where the statute internally adopts the ancient maxim, and the law cannot be enforced, because it is inconsistent with reality, is it not subject to its own terms?

    This process of anagnorisis, whether Argus on the stinking dungheap sniffs his arguably more smelly master, the old nurse with her hand up Odysseus’ skirt finds at least the familiar scar, or Aristotle defines the moment of recognition, is critical. Knowing the name of the old friend in the dark at midnight, recognizing the process of recognition itself, being able to read the footprints in the statutory mud, applying them to the felon before the law, and calling society to account, are all steps which, absent the unfettered process of the Reed education, and its dissection of the body politic, would never have occurred to me to ruin my sleep to think about the meaning of a law applied without reason, and, indeed, allow me to conclude that a society which arbitrarily applies solutions to problems which do not exist is the operational definition of tyranny.

    It is too bad that the very process of legislation-by-fashion which the heavy-handed and light-brained Nero applied to the rule of law listening to his terrified Arbiter of Taste, Petronius, is precisely what the Kroger presidency has defined as its moral mission in curtailing Paedeia discussions about subjects which do not comport with what is most likely a personal prudery.

    I do not like the idea of seeing students on stretchers either; however, I believe that educating the members of the student body who are interested, to the dangers of behavior, is an measure of prevention far more efficient than using a “what if” scenario, to forcefully blind the student body by making information inaccessible to it. Blinding of oneself to “the purpose of the law” will certainly lead to more stretchers with more students on them.

    Without my Reed education I might not have recognized President Kroger’s recent actions as substituting tyranny for reason in the Reed equation. Perhaps the President believes that without information about certain behaviors, the student body will be insulated from the effects of such behavior. I ask him to please remember the maxim, remove the blindfold from the community, and allow the application of the educational purpose to the behavior disapproved of, to seek a rational solution.

    Should we not be constantly seeking to provide those rational solutions to vexing social problems, through communication, discussion and the application of ideas to events in the real world? Is that rationality not an important purpose of our Reed education?

  3. Dear President Kroger,

    Here are some questions I just posed to – – for your upcoming, Reed gathering on 27 February 2013 in San Francisco.

    How can we Reedies extend the great benefits of the Conference Method, having engaged it over 4 years of study, via the web and internet, particularly the learning and teaching which occurs with people-to-people interaction as conversation, including the conversations each of us develop with texts, in the Reed experience?

    Here’s a wiki (editable web page) at World University and School for open teaching and learning about the Conference Method – – and especially online.

    I ask this question in developing World University and School (WUaS), which is like Wikipedia with MIT OpenCourseWare, and which builds directly on Reed College’s approach to undergraduate education. WUaS is MIT-centric, Creative Commons’ licensed, and plans to free, offer, online, accredited, bachelor, Ph.D., law, and M.D. degrees, (as well as MIT OCW High School-centric, International Baccalaureate diplomas), beginning with a matriculating, undergraduate class in 2014 (so students will apply this autumn 2013). WUaS would like to become the MIT / Harvard of the internet and in many languages and countries, as well as is planning wiki-schools in all 7, 413 + languages and 204 + countries for people-to-people teaching and learning; Wikipedia is in 285 languages by way of comparison. MIT OCW’s 2,142 courses are a great opportunity on which to accredit, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

    As examples of how WUaS works, and perhaps of a kind of extended conference method as learning conversation,

    I’ve added Harvard English Professor Louis Menand 2011 piece, which you’ve encouraged us to read for the upcoming Reed gathering,

    “LIVE AND LEARN: Why we have college,” –

    to three of WUaS’s wiki, subject pages:

    1) The College at World University and School –,

    2) Theories of Learning –, and to

    3) The Bookstore / Computer Store (New and Used) at WUaS –

    since Menand touches on all these themes, and for the piece’s relevance for learning to these pages.

    An aspect of the creative potential of WUaS, as an expression of conference method itself, is that anyone can create a wiki, subject page at WUaS, in a field they like. And, of course, people can develop communities around these wiki pages that are eventually face-to-face (e.g. G+ Hangouts +), both for degrees and in an open way.

    Further, in what ways might Reed College’s conference method help us to answer some of the questions posed –×10.pdf – for our 27 February 2013 Reed Alumni gathering in S.F., about a) what we valued most at Reed, b) about careers after Reed, and c) about new, intellectual / academic directions for Reed (perhaps with career-potential in mind), vis-a-vis Menand’s theories, and might the internet/web/information technology help extend our arguments about edifying responses to these questions in new ways? World University and School may be an aid in response to all of these questions –

    World University and School’s hopes that its eventual, MIT OCW-centric, Ph.D., law and M.D. degrees will benefit Reedies.

    I look forward to meeting you and to this conversation.

    Best wishes,
    – Scott

  4. Jack N. Levy says:

    In his article Live and Learn, Louis Menard states “college … brings [students] into line with mainstream norms of reason and taste. … but students have to master the accepted ways of doing things before they are permitted to deviate”. These days, many people feel that the “mainstream norms” have led our society into decline in many respects. My question is twofold: (1) how/when should a young person deviate from “accepted ways of doing things” in order to best make a positive difference in a flawed society (and not become a participant in or enabler of ongoing disfunction)? (2) How can a Reed College education best prepare students to find a balance between “accepted ways” and ways which make a positive difference, given that those who challenge the status quo may be labelled as (in Mr. Menard’s words) “inflexible” or “obnoxious”, and that this may seriously compromise their ability to contribute?

  5. Noel Kaplowitz says:

    Have a sort of mundane question about Reed developing a course or courses to fulfill the science requirement for non-sience majors–so much to learn in this regard.

    Am product of liberal arts college of the early 60’s with requirements in Western Civ. and
    Humanities, as well as Physical Science, Biol. Sci., Music, Art, and Foreign Language. A great education which opened up new horizons for so many of us. I know the trend has been in the opposite direction for several decades–even among the very best liberal arts college. But Reed is special–and I am concerned about the abandoning of history, culture, and art in our country. Would Reed consider adding to the requirement of Hum. 110 another year in the sequence and also Intro. to Music (Classical)?

  6. Dear President Kroger,

    It was very nice to meet you, as Reed College’s new president, in person yesterday evening at the City Club of S.F. and to learn of the Reed’s successes in fundraising, as well as academically. I talked with my relatives’ T. and A. B.B. recently, and both mentioned how enjoyable it was to have met you in their garden in Hood River some years ago, when you were running for Attorney General in Oregon.

    As a followup, I wanted to write to you to ask two, World University and School, related questions.

    A) As WUaS begins to develop its online law school, in California first, of which there are already 12 (see this U.S. News’ article – – not yet approved by the ABA, and which you’ll also find in the beginning, WUaS Law School – – planned eventually for most / all countries), WUaS would also like to explore accrediting in parallel in Oregon. As a former Attorney General, whom would you contact in Salem, OR, or elsewhere about this, as online, legal education in Oregon develops? An online, WUaS, Law School, registered in Oregon (and started by a Reedie), would stand to help a lot of Reedies, post-Reed.

    B) In planning to matriculate WUaS’s online, MIT-centric, undergraduate class – accrediting on Creative Commons’ licensed MIT OCW with potentially MIT graduate students facilitating the Conference Method in Google + group video hangouts engaging MIT faculty’s teaching in MIT OCW’s video and audio courses, – in autumn 2014, WUaS would like to engage aspects of Reed College’s approaches to education, including requiring a first year Humanities’ course (as well as a first year, required, biology class with programming – with MITx professor Eric Lander as professor?, ( – as well as requiring 32 courses, distribution requirements, junior qualifying exams, and a senior thesis), and I’m writing to ask if Reed College and World University and School might even collaborate in this process, bringing Reed Humanities online, as well as the conference method?

    I wonder also if I might explore this 2nd question with Reed College Professor Jan Mieszkowski, whom I was glad to have met and hear give a Hum 110 lecture for alumni in June 2012.

    (Just as MIT OCW has the ‘mothership’ of MIT to help with resources, could Reed possibly become a Humanties’ ‘mothership’ vis-a-vis WUaS?)

    (MIT OCW’s online, S.T.E.M. focus is a particularly exciting prospect for World University and School –,_Technologies,_Engineering_and_Mathematics).

    And concerning the Conference Method online, here’s my email to you from February 16th, 2013, in a blog entry, with a few additions concerning World University and School and Reed College’s Honor Code and Humanities –

    It was very nice to meet you in person, and congratulations on becoming Reed College’s new president.



    Reed College Canyon: Natural History of the Canyon:

    I’ve posted this email to you in a blog (March 1, 2013), as well as a blog link (February 16) to my email to you above here –

  7. Lisa Davidson says:

    Here is a letter I wrote to former Reed president Colin Diver, with what I can remember of his response appended:

    480 Mt. Wilson Trail
    Sierra Madre, CA 91024

    February 18, 2010

    Dear Mr. Diver,

    I just received my yearly phone call from a Reed student doing fund-raising, and I said I wouldn’t really be interested in giving any money unless Reed started teaching classes in classical homeopathy. Lo and behold, she said she would pass my request on to you. If the college would do that, it would be permanently reinstated in my mind as the best of the best.

    So I thought I could make up a little syllabus for it.

    First year:
    The Organon of Medicine, by Samuel Hahnemann, 6th edition, edited by Jost Kunzli et al.
    Hahnemann Revisited, by Luc De Schepper
    The Science of Homeopathy, by George Vithoulkas
    Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, by James Tyler Kent
    Homeopathic Drug Pictures, by Margaret Tyler
    The Art of Interrogation, by Pierre Schmidt
    Remedy Relationships, by Thomas Blasig and Peter Vint
    The Principles and Art of Cure by Homeopathy, by H. A. Roberts
    A Brief Study Course in Homeopathy, by Elizabeth Wright (a little booklet — a gem)
    Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines, by Catherine Coulter

    Second year:
    The Chronic Diseases, Their Peculiar Nature and Their Homeopathic Cure, by Samuel Hahnemann
    Achieving and Maintaining the Simillimum, by Luc De Schepper
    Homeopathy and the Periodic Table, by Luc De Schepper
    The Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann
    The Lesser Writings of Von Boenninghausen
    Boger Boenninghausen’s Characteristics and Repertory
    The Hidden Treasures of the Organon, by Pierre Schmidt
    Defective Diseases, by Pierre Schmidt

    And as reference works, the classroom or library ought to have:
    Guiding Symptoms of Our Materia Medica, by Constantine Hering
    The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica, by T. F. Allen
    Kent’s Final General Repertory, edited by Pierre Schmidt, if you can find it.
    (Otherwise, Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica, by James Tyler Kent),
    and Synthesis, Edition 8.1, by Frederik Schroyens
    and just for fun, really, Best of Burnett, compiled by Dr. H.L. Chitrara (a sampling of the writings of the brilliant and cranky James Compton Burnett)

    Actually, maybe these are such dense books that this list could expand to fill four years. There are many more wonderful, wonderful books on the subject that I’m not mentioning. And the letters M.D. are after the names of most the authors on this list.

    Classical homeopathy needs to be taught again. I say “classical” to distinguish it from the health-food-store variety with its bottles labeled “heartbreak,” “toothache,” and “stage fright,” which are all mixtures of remedies that don’t even belong together. (In fact, one should never mix remedies at all, but all this is said in these books much better than I could put it.)

    If Reed would teach this, it would repair an enormous gap in the edifice of common knowledge, a gap made by the American Medical Association in the 1920’s or 1930’s when it discovered that the homeopathic M.D.’s were curing more people than the AMA members were. The AMA mounted a propaganda campaign that one can only describe as an act of medical genocide. Now they have been joined by the pharmaceutical companies in the suppression of the most marvelous approach to medicine we have ever seen in the Western world. This is simply because a treatment with homeopathic remedies costs less than pennies per day. So, I hope Reed does not receive funding from the big pharmacy corporations, because this would never happen. But it is right up your alley, really. It is the greatest of the great. I hope you seriously consider adding it to your curriculum. I wasted thirty years of my life because I could not study it, and in fact I did not know it existed. It and I would have been a perfect fit, and even though I am now studying it in a PhD program, I am still sorry that I did not begin when I was eighteen years old. But how could I? It had been completely destroyed in this country. They teach it in Europe and England and India, of course, but here we are completely bereft. It seems a great pity to deprive the brilliant young people who Reed attracts, of this great, great possibility.

    OK, that’s the end of my original letter, and here is the result:
    Mr. Diver rejected my proposal for two reasons: one, that it is “professional education,” and two, that it is already taught in Portland at the naturopathy college. Now, why Reed students should also attend the naturopathy college is beyond me. And are not the studies of biology, chemistry, and all the other sciences the first steps in professional education? I am not suggesting that Reed students be trained as professional homeopaths. I only maintain that this is knowledge that has been suppressed. It belongs to everyone. Including St. Bonaventura in the Humanities 110 syllabus does not force Reed students to become monks, but still it’s an interesting book. I think we all ought to be exposed to all the knowledge. Is that not what college is for? They don’t teach homeopathy in high school. I only discovered it at the age of fifty-four. It is in the direct line of Western thought, and has every right to be taught along with the rest of the history of science.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely yours,

    Lisa Davidson
    class of 1971

  8. jenny says:

    Reedies are always prone to paranoia/nostalgia about “olde reed” and how different things are at Reed today. While some of that is just personal nostalgia, there’s no doubt that when looking at statistics about current students, a lot of Reed graduates would never get into Reed today based on the test scores and grades that incoming freshmen need to possess. I’d love for the President to discuss how admissions requirements have changed over the years–what of it is intentionally different, and what is just a byproduct of Reed’s reputation. I’d also like to hear his thoughts on how this changes the Reed community good & bad.

    I’d also love to hear his opinions on what most Reedies see as cornerstones of the Reed ethos: the grade policy and the honor code. Since admittedly a lot of Reedies already feel this President has broken the honor code, I’d like to hear his understanding of it and what it means to the community.

  9. I’d like to ask the president how he plans on teaching future Reedies the value of brevity and terseness in writing.

  10. Mike Munk says:


    Isn’t this an opportunity for Reed to help achieve its stated goal of “diversity.” Recruit in smaller cities and draw more poor whites, and Hispanics?

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