by Brody Truce
Senior Staff Writer
The First Year Experience curriculum has been a part of Parker Gates College for over 15 years. Upon matriculation, freshman students are enrolled in a series of four six-week classes designed to help them succeed at the small private college located in Parker, NJ.
“Our curriculum has been wildly successful at tempering roommate conflicts and fostering good study habits,” said Dr. Wanda Mason, Dean of Students. “But we’ve had a disturbing number of complaints from our neighbors in the community in the past five years. Our town/gown relations were in jeopardy, so we knew it was time to make some changes.”
The complaints—which include acts of public nudity, vandalism, theft and an elaborate scam to sell burnt out light bulbs to the elderly—prompted college officials to add a fifth class to the First Year Experience curriculum: How To Not Be An Asshole.
“We contemplated calling the class ‘Civility 101’ or ‘Minding Your Manners On Main Street,” but in the end decided to simply be direct with students about our expectations,” explained Mason. “We’re hoping that our brutal honesty inspires dramatic results.”
The six-week class is comprised of five modules:
- So You’re Drunk: A Guide To Quietly Stumbling Home
- Street Signs Are Not Dorm Room Decorations
- Streaking: A Fast-Track To Suspension
- Noises Neighbors Hate To Hear After 10 pm
- Nine Reasons the Police Will Handcuff You
Current students expressed skepticism about the offering.
“I think it’s retarded,” remarked Marco Miller, a current first year student. “Sometimes, when I’m mad, I just want to pee on a statue or throw bottles at parked cars. No class is going to convince me that those kinds of things aren’t fun. The Dean can suck it!”
Freshman Brandy Newcastle agreed. “College is so stressful. It’s none of the Dean’s business if I want to blow off some steam by starting a streaking mob down Spruce Street in the middle of the night. She’s such a prude.”
Campus neighbors also seemed skeptical about the class’s potential impact on student behavior. “If it works, I’ll mostly be thrilled,” said Brad Decker, whose house faces the college. “It will certainly be nice to get some sleep on the weekends, but I’ll definitely miss the streaking mobs.”