Letter to the Editor: The Value of Questions

I came home from a jam-packed day and decided to relax with some interesting reading from The Maroon-News. So, I was a little surprised when I read through Katie David’s “A Mecca for the Ignorant” and found an article that reflects so poorly on the Colgate student body.

The article berates one of David’s fellow students in a Western Traditions class for asking “What is Mecca?” Now, I am not saying that it isn’t important to know about such a historically and religiously significant site, particularly given America’s evolving relationships with the predominantly Muslim nations of the Middle East.

However, I would expect a Colgate student to know the value of asking questions. The student in David’s class, who sounds as though she may likely be a first-year student since she’s enrolled in Western Traditions, shouldn’t be faulted for not knowing something.

Perhaps her high school history courses didn’t discuss Middle Eastern nations (not surprising in our current education system) or maybe she hasn’t had much personal contact with Muslims. Whatever the cause, we don’t know everything, and that is exactly the reason we come to Colgate, to learn.

Instead of a thought-provoking commentary, this article succeeded in reinforcing an attitude of intellectual snobbery, while probably making a genuinely well-intentioned girl feel ashamed for asking a question. Is this the kind of intellectual environment we want to foster at Colgate? I think not.