Communication ethics professor Jane Grissom had her class meet at the Haggerty Art Museum on campus for no apparent reason on Monday.
“I mean, it’s there, isn’t it?” Grissom asked.
The stated objective of that particular class was to “engage with mindfulness,” which involved looking at paintings and silently contemplating their meaning. Most students, like junior Allie Resterson, merely pretended to do that while covertly checking Instagram.
“Really, I might as well have not shown up to class today,” Resterson stated. “Although, it is good to know that my teachers are slowly growing as lazy as I am.”
Grissom says she understands why her students might be apathetic or even hostile toward the Haggerty. However, Grissom also pointed out the benefits of a visit.
“When you take your students to the Haggerty, you can say that you held a class in an entirely different building,” Grissom said. “It gives the students an increased sense of the world. Or culture. Or something.”
Other classes in the Haggerty that day also gave it mixed reviews. Jim Pastman’s philosophy class also met in the art museum, presumably to look for philosophical concepts in the paintings.
“I actually just had no material to teach today, so I decided ‘what the hell, why not the Haggerty?’” Pastman said. “I need to watch this week’s Westworld, so I decided to let someone else teach my class for the day.”
Both experiences are just another chapter in the Haggerty’s rich tradition of existing, which it has done since 1984. Since then, teachers have forced entirely ambivalent students to view thousands of beautiful paintings, most of which have absolutely no relation to the subject matter.
“Most of us come here just because we kind of feel like we should,” Grissom said of her colleagues. “We all know it’s irrelevant to our classes, but people will remember as much information from the visit as they will from our classes. So why not?”