Monday, February 28, 2011

Communism, atheism, and free love - in Torrance, California? (University of Redwood)

I didn't know that Jake Kuramoto knew that I have a child of college age, but he has alerted me about a wonderful college called the University of Redwood. The About page contains this information:

University of Redwood was founded in 1908 and was operational in 1911. Redwood is named after the Oregon pioneers Simeon and Amanda Redwood. Simon Redwood had been an entrepreneur. He wished his wife to devote some portion of his property for the purpose of prosperity and happiness of the inhabitants of Oregon. Amanda Redwood then set up a board of trustees to found an institution of learning in Portland, with no limits other than an insistence on equality and secularism. In the ensuing years, University of Redwood has become one of the nation's prominent institutions of the liberal arts and sciences.

Let me share a little more about this institution with you.

The curriculum at Redwood is highly structured and extremely rigorous. The four basic features of Redwood are – humanities sequence, the breadth of study requirement, junior qualifying examinations and the senior thesis. Thesis is one of the major achievements of Redwood graduates. First- and second-year students at Redwood College develop a strong background in humanistic and scientific study. The junior and senior years provide opportunity for intensive examination of the subject matter and techniques of a more narrowly defined academic discipline, culminating in the senior research project and thesis.

Now perhaps some of you are starting to wonder about this institution, which is referred to as a "university" at one point, and a "college" elsewhere. And why does an Oregon college have this address?

Suite 19149, 2972 Columbia Street,
Torrance, CA 90503,

As for me, the alarm bells went off when Simeon and Amanda Redwood were mentioned.

You see, the Redwoods, and the institution that they founded, bear a striking resemblance to another college in the Pacific Northwest.

Here's the article that Jake Kuramoto actually shared with me:

Starting a new university might seem like a huge endeavor: You need to gather many millions of dollars, hire a qualified faculty, find and pay for a campus, and set up an infrastructure capable of serving the needs of thousands of students. But a “school” called University of Redwood found a much simpler way to come into being: Copy every photo and bit of information about Reed College, a (real) liberal arts school in Oregon, replace Reed’s name with its own, and watch the application fees roll in.

The apparent point of this whole endeavor, according to the Wall Street Journal, is to convince overseas students who are less familiar with American colleges to apply. When they apply, they pay a fee; then, the school sends rejection letters to every applicant and pockets the fees. It’s a lot cheaper than hiring professors.

Be sure to read the entire Geekosystem article here, including this interesting little tidbit about what happened when the real Reed College complained to GoDaddy, the U of R's web provider:

GoDaddy initially took the University of Redwood website offline when Reed complained, but put it back up after concluding that the “allegedly infringing material was removed.”

Oh, and because I'm not a U of R graduate, I should take time to note that the Geekosystem post sources its information from Metafilter and the Wall Street Journal.

The Metafilter comments reveal that the University of Redwood's site also appropriates material from the University of Washington, as well as a fax number from Redwood City, California.

Now let's see if I'm logically consistent. I previously supported Mohamed Khidr's right to take advantage of people who don't take the time to compare gas prices. Am I now going to support the University of Redwood's right to take advantage of people who don't take the time to research the legitimacy of undergraduate institutions?

But as for me, I wish that the U of R would post information about its most famous non-alum - Steve Jobwoods.
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