I may be biased, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better location to watch the Boston Marathon than from Wellesley’s Scream Tunnel. Just as the runners come up the hill, passing the College’s athletic fields, they are greeted by cheering students with festive and witty signs, and the offer of a kiss to those who need a little encouragement. In my first year here, students presented me with a sign that read, “Kiss Me, I’m the President”—a sign I have not yet used. It’s a fun day and a fun Wellesley tradition! I always enjoy it.
Here is just a taste of Monday’s Scream Tunnel.
The ability to engage in thoughtful discourse, the ability to take a position and defend it– to debate effectively– is one of the many outcomes of a liberal arts education. Last night I enjoyed, as I always do, seeing students practice these important skills during The Wellesley Debates. The topic debated was: Political Extremists are Destructive to American Progress.
Those arguing against the motion stressed, among other points, the formative influence of previous political extremists (our founding fathers and leaders of the suffrage and civil rights movements). Among the points made by those arguing for the motion was the paralysis that comes to government from the lack of willingness to compromise for the public good. Both sides made many excellent points and it was a lively and interesting debate. The before- and after-balloting revealed that those arguing against the motion gained adherents following the debate.
The students did an impressive job last night: Nicole Blansett ’15 and Melanie Kaplan ’12 argued for the motion, while Belgin Palaz ’12 and Maggie Polacheck ’12 argued against it. Veronica Martinez ’13 moderated.
Modeled after the Oxford-Union Debates, The Wellesley Debates promote an exchange of ideas that is both vigorous and thoughtful on controversial topics of local, national, and international interest.
I am proud to be part of an intellectual community that engages in such a discourse. The ability to hear and learn from a diversity of opinions– even ones you may not agree with– is central to the Wellesley experience.