I know I post a great deal about the sad state of higher education, but — really — it’s sad. Like actually. I saw some photos on social media posted by a PhD student named Jackie Larson, who — according to her profile on Twitter — attends the University of Utah.
The photo shows a free standing closet that showed up at her university library. It has a sign on it that helpfully labels it as, “A Safe Place for Stressed Out Students Otherwise Known as the Cry Closet.” The description explains why this closet appeared at the library. “This place is meant to provide a space for students studying for their finals to take a short ten minute break.” Presumably, the students at the University of Utah are so weak-minded that they’re being traumatized by actual work, and need a place to have a breakdown.
There are rules, of course, which are posted.
- Knock before entering.
- Only one person in the closet at a time.
- Limit your time in the closet to no more than ten minutes.
- Turns lights and timer off before leaving.
- Use #cryclosetuofu if posting on social media.
Wait, so the university is encouraging students to go back into the closet? Okay. I guess they expect us to ignore the obviously subtle homophobic symbolism of that. But why should students have to isolate themselves when they’re feeling emotional? It seems the university is promoting shame over the very natural expressions of exam angst. Does the university also shove grieving students into a closet, hoping to preserve the pristine nature of their campus for non-crying students? Isn’t this some sort of “emotion” privilege, aimed to reward students who are not given to emotional displays and hiding those who are? (And, have their been studies done to make sure that some ethicities and cultures are not given to more emotional displays? And, if so, is this the equivalent of shoving some people to the back of the bus?) Or, is this an effort to make sure the photos for the college brochure only include the happy students? And isn’t happiness just a tool of the patriarchy used to oppress those who struggle? And why does the university encourage students to broadcast their emotional problems on social media? Exploitation of mental instability is no laughing matter.Of course, I’m being facetious, pointing out the absolute stupidity of the modern college campus experience.
Out of curiosity, I decided to search for this hashtag on Twitter to see if anyone actually used this “booth of shame.” To my delight, the first post gave me hope for humanity:
WTF is this nonsense? If this is real I think the parents need to start toughening up their kids like they did in the good old days Here’s some bad news for those who condone this or uses it theres not a workplace on Earth that will provide this to its employees.
Exactly. And if this dose of reality hurts your feelings, I’ve got good news for you. The University of Utah has a
nursery a cry closet ready for you.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay