Emory University is proud to announce that on January 1, 2019, all students will be required to download the new phone app, “Emory Cares.”
Designed to combat aggressive speech, Emory Cares has two main functions. First, Emory Cares disables the student’s phone from typing, texting, or emailing words Emory deems inappropriate for safe communication. Second, it makes it possible for all Emory students to follow the mandatory requirement to report aggressive speech as it occurs by simply pressing the Emory Cares icon. Additionally, when the icon is pressed the phone will go into record mode and document the offensive speech for future disciplinary proceedings.
As explained by Emory’s President, Claire E. Sterk, “This is a logical extension of the Permitted 200. First, we told students what they could say. Now, we will punish those that fail to comply. And we have made it very easy for Emory students to report all instances in which a student engages in speech designed to make another student uncomfortable. Emory Cares is one additional step towards making Emory a place where no one will ever feel challenged by an uncomfortable idea. And importantly, this step shows that once again, Emory is at the forefront of correct thought. We are the only school in America that has an app based reporting system for aggressive speech.”
Although the vast majority of Emory students have embraced Emory Cares, a small minority are protesting the fact that if a student observes aggressive speech and fails to press the icon he or she will also face discipline. As explained by Justin Tucker, the President for Emory Students for Free Speech (ESFS): “I hate to be the person that said ‘I told you so,’ but, ‘I told you so!’ There is a long tradition in Anglo Saxon law that, in most instances, a person is not required to take affirmative action to prevent events from occurring. So for example, if a person witnesses an individual that is about to harm another person, there is no affirmative duty to stop that harm from occurring. This new ‘duty to report’ is precisely the type of affirmative action that is contrary to Anglo Saxon tradition. This is one more step towards an Orwellian University. I’m asking all students to protest by buying a flip phone that does not support ‘Emory Cares.’”
President Sterk offered the following official response: “It’s sad that ESFS chooses the path of aggression. I wonder sometimes if its members might be happier somewhere else, in a school that is, perhaps, a little less Ivy League. I think any reasonable person will agree that this is a small price to pay to make Emory even more nurturing! I can’t wait to see the progress we make in 2019.”
On Monday, a group of determined parents from Valdosta, Georgia, once again battled with the Lowndes County school board in an effort to force curricula change. At issue, Lowndes County’s requirement that all students pass Introduction to Football (Football 100) and Practical Football Skills (Football 101).
First introduced in 1937, the two classes were intended to ensure that every Valdostan understands the basic principles of America’s sport. And history has proven their worth, as Valdosta County perennially ranks highest in the nation in football literacy.
However, in the last decade, some parents have challenged the classes because their otherwise high achieving daughters and sons are having difficulty passing Practical Football Skills. The group, known as Valdostans for Fair Education (VFE) are now threatening to sue. As explained by VFE’s President, Dr. Preet Krishnathes: “my Vishnu was a straight A student, who got fives on 13 AP exams, and scored a 35 on his ACT. However, he failed Introduction to Football the first time he took it and only after we hired a tutor and he dropped two other classes was he able to scrape by with a B-. But no matter how many tutors we hired, Vishnu couldn’t pass Practical Football Skills. He is simply unable to understand modern defensive schemes and he kept dropping punts. As a result, he will not receive a high school diploma. I understand that football is important, but is it really more important than an A+ in Calculus BC? I regret the day we moved to Valdosta—if only we had chosen to live in Moultrie rather than Valdosta, Vishnu would be going to Stanford!”
However, at the Lowndes County School Board meeting the Coach of the Valdosta Wildcats, John Grim, gave an impassioned defense of football literacy as essential to an individual’s ability to participate in modern society. As explained by Grim: “If you don’t understand football what are you going to talk about with your family and co-workers during the Fall? When your boss tells you it’s time to move the ball forward, you’re going to think he’s talking about soccer for God’s sake. And how are you going to root for the Yellow and the Black? Are you really trying to tell me that the average American uses calculus more than they watch football? Your damn right football is more important than Calculus BC! We owe it to the children to make sure they understand what they see on their televisions every Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from August to January. Do any of us want a Valdosta in which no one understands the game? I sure as hell don’t!” After Coach Grim’s cogent rebuttal the Board once again voted to require a passing grade in Football 100 & 101 in order to receive a diploma. There is no word yet on whether VFE will go through with its plans to initiate legal action.