So this is the story that one of the editors of The Claremont Portside hyped as a great big story on the supposed "sixth" Claremont College. They told us to wait until midnight, as if this were some Harry Potter book. Of course you have to actually read the story to know that the colleges are in talks with Singapore, rather than the done deal the lede and title "The Sixth Claremont College" portrays it as.
One of the editors of The Claremont Portside described this story as biggest ever broken on the Claremont campuses. Hardly. The Claremont Independent's stories on Petropolous or Dunn anyone?
We already covered the trip to Singapore on this blog. Here are the posts we wrote back in April, fully five months before The Portside decided to be The Claremont P.R. Office. (Here's mine and here's Aditya's.)
(On an aside point, don't we subsidize the Portside to the tune of several thousand dollars a semester alone? Oh, that's right. We do. Just look at the budget.)
Let's quote Aditya's post. It is fairly relevant, especially the bits in red. Read right down to the bottom of the post.
So as you can see, we broke the story first. But if you weren't convinced let's see some of the other places that have broken the story before The Claremont Portside.
On March 28, Claremont Mckenna College President Pamela B. Gann and Pomona College President David Oxtoby were guests at the National University Singapore. Gann and Oxtoby spoke on liberal arts colleges in the United States and discussed the feasibility of an LAC in Singapore."There's sometimes the feeling that the liberal arts is too abstract, or too much in the ivory tower, doesn't relate enough to what's going on in the real world."Right, thats why our founder, George Charles Sumner Benson, created a school focussed on Economics, Government and public policy. If I remember correctly, it was President Gann who took CMC on a diversity bandwagon. (and might continue to do so in the future)
But I'm glad everyone agrees that CMC was successful because of its focussed approach, or do they? David Oxtoby in his speech to NUS says:"It would be a mistake for Singapore to create a liberal arts college with one particular area of focus. The fact that you're engaging in different fields, different disciplines and seeing those connections yourself, it really makes you an expert in a way that a narrow, technical education would not."I agree with Oxtoby that ultra-specialization has its disadvantages. But if we look at the Claremont Consortium, the fastest growing colleges here are Harvey Mudd College and Claremont Mckenna, not Pitzer and Scripps. What's common between Mudd and CMC? Both are specialized and focussed on certain areas, forming niche markets. We never tried to be everything to everyone. And as National University President Shih Choon Fong reminded us, "Claremont McKenna graduates are known to command the highest salaries among the Claremont-ers."
Oxtoby went on to explain a liberal arts education as a study in the 'skills of freedom' and the skills required to ''function effectively in a democracy'. The painful irony here is that Pomona prides its speech regulations and selective law breaking. Oxtoby's emphasis on building stronger relations between Singapore and the United States in education is undermined by their nonsensical aid policy.
And if you thought the irony ended there, Oxtoby even makes an indirect (perhaps unintentional) praise of the free market,"We in Claremont have much to learn from you [Singapore]. As a city-state founded on the principle of building links to the rest of the world, Singapore has been experimenting since its founding with the ideas of globalization that have come to the fore in recent years."Singapore, being the second most free economy in the world, competes with Hong Kong for their open trade policies and low barriers - all that good stuff CMC was founded on.
The 5C delegation was certainly influential. Singapore's Ministry of Education is planning its first liberal arts college on the island.
- The speech from the president of NUS on March 28, 2008
- See Page 12, of Scripps's Magazine.
- See what President Oxtoby said back on April in the Singaporean press, Said Prof Oxtoby: 'A liberal arts college would be an excellent development for Singapore...We have a great deal of experience in Claremont in starting colleges of the highest quality, and feel that we could be helpful in this regard. 'It is possible that we will become closer partners.'
Some scoop! It was only 5 and half months late.