“In conversations with various staff and faculty regarding the Paideia schedule, it became clear that the concern that has grown over the years regarding Reed’s role in sponsoring classes that instruct participants in the fabrication and/or use of alcohol and other drugs compelled us to impose some reasonable limits,” a school official told Weisgrau, according to The Quest. “I sincerely regret that we did not begin a conversation about this long before December.”
In an email to The Quest, Weisgrau called the forced modification of his Paideia class “a clear breach of honorable student-administrative relations and a portentous glimpse of John Kroger’s perspective on student body autonomy.”
Willamette Week, an alternative Portland rag, notes that Kroger’s actions could stem from a broader effort to combat the widely held perception that Reed is a den of illegal drug use.
In 2010, federal and state authorities organized an unusual intervention of sorts when they met with Reed’s former president at a federal courthouse to discuss the school’s apparently serious drug problem, according to USA Today.
The feds were reportedly concerned about Renn Fayre, the school’s epic, annual three-day festival that includes oddities of all kinds and a profusion of illicit drugs. Also, since 2008, two Reed students have died of heroin overdoses. (Total enrollment is just over 1,400.)
Whatever the reason for the decision by Reed’s president to cancel or forcibly alter the four Paideia classes, the school’s dedication to progressivism is impressive in a multitude of ways. School policy mandates at least one gender-neutral bathroom in every nonresidential campus building. Free condoms — including XL and non-latex — are available through campus mail. Also, while professors grade students and send grades to the registrar every semester, students do not actually receive grades. Instead, they must ask to see the grades at the registrar. (Students with grades that fall below a certain threshold do receive notification.)