So, this happened today, which was fairly amusing, desperate, and pathetic all wrapped into one fun-sized rhetorical nugget:
But I want to say a few things about my university that "no one has heard of." /1
I teach at a small private university in Des Moines. Sometimes when people hear "private college," they think "elite" and "snooty." We are decidedly neither, and that is by design. My university was founded by Danish immigrants in the Folk School tradition from their homeland /2
That tradition emphasizes access and an egalitarian ethos, that education should be both available and useful to all. It was a reaction against the elitism of the classical/rhetorical model of European elite education in the early 1800s. (Read NFS Grundtvig to get the context) /3
So what that means is that my University serves students, many of whom come from populations or places that have not historically been well-served by higher education. We are a liberal arts school with lots of pre-professional programs. A liberal education should be accessible /4
ALL of our students, from History majors to Criminal Justice, Nursing, and Athletic Training majors and back again, take courses in an interdisciplinary, humanistically-inspired liberal arts core curriculum. We believe the liberal arts offer the most meaningful education. /5
We also believe that this model of education should be available to all who want it, not just those who went to good high schools in wealthy suburbs, or those who can afford the elites. Our discount rate on tuition is...large. We end up costing about the same as a state uni. /6
Just bc someone can't afford an elite private college doesn't mean they should be housed at a large public CC or uni. Those institutions are great, and do great work. I used to teach at both types. But some students need a small campus and small class sizes to succeed. /7
That's what we offer: a liberal arts education for the people. ALL the people. We will give you the chance, when others might not, to succeed and to have a higher educational experience that isn't a mass-produced curriculum or a series of packed lecture halls. /8
Contra D'Souza's prejudiced perspective, there are about 1700 students who have most certainly heard of my university, as well as a few hundred faculty and staff. We all work out asses off to live our mission, to make this vision of higher ed access meaningful. /9
My students are traditional aged students & older returners. My students are white, black, Latinx, Native. They're Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist. Some are LGBTQIA or NB. Some are immigrants. Some are disabled. Some are survivors of assault or trauma. /10
I've had students who are working towards a degree while being a single parent, others who are the sole caregiver to a parent. I've had students who are taking classes while undergoing chemo. Or in the legal system trying to prosecute their rapist. Or kicking a heroin habit. /11
I had a student who spend the first thirteen years of her life in a refugee camp in Nepal that had no electricity or running water. THIRTEEN YEARS. And now she's here, with English as her fourth language, pursuing a bachelor's degree. My students have these stories. /12
Do some of my students do silly things, or make poor choices? Sure; but that's college. Hell, I do those things and I'm a damn full professor. All of my students, though, are here for an opportunity that, for many of them, would not be available elsewhere. And they know it /13
Almost all of my students work while attending school, many of them in multiple jobs. Some of them work third shift at the UPS shipping center down the road and then roll into class after a 10 hrs of loading trucks. Some are also athletes on top of that. They WORK. /14
So when someone like Dinesh D'Souza tries to own me by saying I work at a university "no one has heard of," what he's really doing (besides showing his entire ass to the internet) is disparaging my colleagues and my students. And I will not let that pass uncontested. /15
All of us at @GrandViewUniv work harder than DDS has in his entire life. We may not be Ivy Leaguers, but we know the value of higher education, because nothing's been handed to us. We don't have the luxury of a grifter-industrial complex throwing money at us to honk in public /16
I am damn proud to be where I am, and where I've been for 15 years now, because I know what I do matters. What I do advances higher education, makes access real for students, and creates a net good for society. My own PhD serves a greater good, and that means something to me. /17
But most of all, I am proud of my students, and everything they do for their education. I'm honored to be part of the journey for some of the hardest working and most deserving people I've ever seen. You come for them, you come for me and for my colleagues. And we don't play. /18
And here's the thing: there are a lot of folks at schools a lot like mine doing this same kind of work. The universities "Nobody's heard of" literally make this country go. We're out here doing work, y'all. We support entire communities. We make our part of the world better. /19
Because here's the thing: what you *do* with your education is what really matters. I will pit my record and those of my students against anything D'Souza and his super-fancy ivy league degree have done to make the world better. And it wouldn't even be a close contest /20
So NOW you've heard of me and my university, Dinesh.

Now get out of our way; there's work to do.

Thank you so much 🙂
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