Articles by Alec Ward
Alec Ward | The windmills had it comingI wish I could say that 53 were some significant number in my life — my home address, my lucky number, something like that — because that would be one hell of a lede.
Alec Ward | Lawful and awful2016 will not, I suspect, go down in the history books as one of humanity’s great success stories.
Alec Ward | Out of the night that covered usWriters like me get a lot of mileage out of poking fun at college students making big deals out of fairly minor ethical transgressions. Doing that with integrity, however, requires retaining the ability to tell the difference. The delivery of racialized threats to a number of black freshmen was no minor transgression.
Alec Ward | Laws without moralsIn the question of how it should regard unaffiliated single-sex social clubs, Penn seems poised to “do a Harvard.” It shouldn’t. As anyone who has been following higher-education news for the past six months probably knows, the years-long conflict between Harvard College and the handful of independent single-sex social clubs to which many of its students belong reached a denouement last spring.
Alec Ward | Welcome to Time ZeroNow, we fight. Or at least, we prepare to. All decent people will hope and pray that Trump’s campaign promises to destroy the constitutional order, to violate the civil liberties of millions of Americans, to commit war crimes and retaliate against his political opponents were the kind of empty bluster we know he is capable of.
Alec Ward | Knowing and reckless falsehoodsIt’s got every element of the perfect 21st-century pop morality fable: a sympathetic band of marginalized heros; a sinister coalition of law enforcement and Big Oil colluding to oppress them; elements of racial and environmental activism topped off with a secret code that you — yes, you!
Alec Ward | Radically neutralIt was a rough year for the American social fabric. The existing political order was under deep strain.
Alec Ward | Reverse and remandEarly last week, the University of Florida circulated a memo to its undergraduates, cautioning them not to wear offensive costumes on Halloween. The issuance of such statements has become something of an October tradition on many campuses, and kerfuffle of some kind nearly always attends.
Alec Ward | Pay no attention to the men beneath the picket signsThis Monday, for the second time in less than a month, Brother Aden and his ragtag cadre of anti-gay “preachers” took up residence at the Button for a few hours to spew the noxious garbage that they confuse with theology. Don’t worry.
Alec Ward | Of wolves and warningsThere’s a particular reaction that folks like me — who worry openly about the presence and spread of “trigger warnings” on American campuses — hear a lot.
Alec Ward | To raise, rather than to lowerThis past Saturday, just before the start of Penn’s first home Varsity football game, two members of the Penn cheerleading squad “[made] a statement,” according to a photo tweeted out by the Penn athletics department.
Alec Ward | We can cause accidents tooYou may not have heard about this, but OZ sent a sleazy email which got leaked. Just kidding. Unless you live under a rock, you know about what I’m now calling #OzGate. Personally, I have mixed feelings about how campus has reacted to the exposure of the crude poem. Let me be clear, I have little interest in defending the email itself. The sentiments expressed in the lines of truly terrible poetry indicate some attitudes I find deeply troubling.
Group Think | Is TAP Effective?GROUP THINK is the DP’s round table section, where we throw a question at the columnists and see what answers stick.
Alec Ward | Screen passIt’s official — the College Houses have out-TV’d my dad. As reported in a DP news article by Ray Pomponio, starting this year College House residents will get Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand streaming service included in the ever-increasing price of rent. Even my tech-happy father, who has enthusiastically upgraded our “home theater” infrastructure every few years since my birth, hasn’t quite sprung for that yet. While I am sure that College House residents will appreciate the service, I have to confess that it seems to me an extravagance.
Alec Ward | Apologia for a DeanI first saw the letter which University of Chicago Dean of Students John Ellison sent to his incoming freshman class on Twitter, a day or so before it hit the mainstream press. Scanning the first grainy photocopy, I could sense a kerfuffle in the making.
Alec Ward | Don'tIt’s a scene right out of a classic college film or a rose-tinted admissions propaganda leaflet — a group of college students lazing around a dorm room or lounge, late at night, arguing about politics, philosophy and the meaning of life. It probably figured, to some extent, in your high school visions of what Ivy League life would be like. I know it did in mine.
Alec Ward | Nothing to be proud ofIf we, as a community, would wish for our incoming classes to be truly composed of the best students Penn can find, rather than the elite few who serve the University’s self-promotional needs, then we ought not to celebrate our yield rate.
Alec Ward | It's a shameIt’s been a tough week, and it’s only Wednesday. Everyone had too much end-of-semester work to enjoy the nice weather over the weekend, Donald Trump W’68 won the Pennsylvania primary, and the DOJ launched a ludicrous and unconstitutional attempt to criminalize academic open expression. If you, dear reader, read this column with any sort of regularity, you can likely guess that I could write angrily about any of these at length.
Alec Ward | Words, words, wordsIn the short span of time since the Penn community received the tragic news that yet another student had taken her own life, there has been an outpouring of grief and resolve to take steps to prevent future losses.
Alec Ward | Full of sound and fury, signifying nothingI don’t think I need to spend much time condemning the protesters who prompted the cancellation of CIA Director John Brennan’s speech last Friday afternoon.
Blog Posts by Alec Ward