By Prof. Elias Barker, Ph.D. Cambridge, Northwestern University Department of Anthropology
Approximately 387 years before the birth of Christ, Plato founded the Academy in Athens upon a garden dedicated to Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. It goes without saying that all institutions of higher learning should aspire to emulate Academy while ascribing to a far lower acceptance rate.
In its nascence, Northwestern University upheld these ideas through scholarship, integrity, and a boring, flavorless array of dining options. In recent decades, however, we have forsaken our crusade for philosophy in the truest sense of that term: a love of wisdom, by incorporating wholly irrelevant tenets like ‘practicality’ and ‘applicability’ into our curriculum and by fostering decadent, non-educational institutions on our campus.
I have lived to see the last straw: a Dunkin’ Donuts will be coming to Northwestern University. One might call Subway a sustenance-based metaphor for the transportation motifs of our era, but tell me Wildcats, where is the transcendence in a Dunkaccino®? What existential questions does one ponder while slurping a Coolatta®?
In subsequent millennia, architects will gaze upon the ruins of this Dunkin’ Donuts and find themselves unable to explain the purpose of a fast food restaurant in the center of an institution that should have been dedicated to the great liberal arts. “By what means,” they will ponder, “did this ‘Dunkin’ Donuts’ further the provision of uplifting wisdom such as Latin, Greek, French, and the Trivium and Quadrivium?”
This Dunkin’ Donuts is a diversion from, and therefore an insult to, John Evans’s dream of an uplifting Methodist education. It is a slap in the face to Robert R. McCormick; it is an obscenity against Henry Bienen; it is an open mockery of Joseph Medill; it is an atrocity carried out against Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg. Perhaps most of all it is a degradation of my own legacy at this university.
We can all agree to be outraged at the imposition of a Dunkin’ Donuts upon our own Northwestern University. I may prove the Cassandra of our Troy and even the Lot of our Sodom, as this ‘university’ gorges itself upon more and more wholly unedifying weaknesses to its rigor. I only pray that NU-Qatar avoids the same mistakes.