This Piece is Satirical
By Hayley Van Allen
In response to a recent “overheard” on the popular Facebook group ‘Meme Queens of the 5cs’ about a Harvey Mudd faculty member dismissing the math ability of Scripps students, the Scripps Administration agreed to answer questions about the school’s Math Department. The offending post read: “OH @ Pitzer; Mudd faculty: ‘Mudd used to be the land of Asian geeks. The average SAT math score at Mudd is 800. You won’t find that at Scripps.’”
We asked a representative at the Registrar’s Office about the general education requirements for math at Scripps. The historical women’s college is the only college of Claremont Colleges to allow incoming students to test out of the math requirement. “Well, women have always been bad at math, so we don’t like to make the math requirements too hard,” the representative said. “We’re a liberal arts college anyway, so it doesn’t matter if we allow some low placement test scores”
“Sure Scripps places an emphasis on interdisciplinary study,” another representative said, “but honestly? We don’t really get math. Plus, it doesn’t go well with the whole ‘liberal arts women’s college’ vibe we have going on right now.” When asked to expand on what exactly that ‘vibe’ was, the representative replied, “You know–a women in humanities kinda vibe! We have a pretty sweet English department here and wouldn’t want the math program to get in the way of that.”
After walking around Balch Hall for a few hours, we were eventually able to find a math professor at the college. Although he asked to remain anonymous, he was willing to answer a few of our questions. He showed us into his office, which was almost empty expect for a small desk and a stool for guests to sit on.
We asked him how many advisees he had this year for the math major at Scripps this year. After explaining what an advisee was, the professor replied, “We do that for math too?!?” It seems that the professor had never had an advisee and couldn’t recall whether the other math professors had either. He confessed that he didn’t even know that Scripps allowed math majors. He also referenced a notice sent to incoming students by the Admissions Office: “Good vibes only, leave calculators at home!”
Despite some difficulties, we were able to interview some Scripps students at the Motley Coffeehouse, although they appeared extremely fearful once we identified ‘math’ as the subject of the questions. “This isn’t gonna be like, a test right?” one student asked, her voice quivering. After assuring them we wouldn’t be testing them on any math–and buying them drinks–they finally opened up to us over their steaming mugs of matcha-cha-cha.
One of the students told us a chilling story about a Microeconomics class she had been enrolled in: “I was sitting in a classroom at CMC when the professor told us to take out our calculators. Everyone pulled out these huge calculators with at least 50 buttons–that’s when I knew I had to drop the class.” A friend squeezed her hand as she continued, “I thought I could at least make it through the full hour-long class, but then the professor asked me to tell him the slope of a line. I just ran out and didn’t look back. It was honestly terrifying.”
While the initial “overheard” sparked quite a bit of controversy among Scripps students both on and offline, it seems that the Scripps student body is, as a whole, perfectly happy to continue ignoring the math department. As one Scripps senior said, “Each one of the 5C’s has its thing, Scripps’s will just never be math.”