I am not sure what set it off. Perhaps a professor wrote: IF YOU DON’T SUBMIT YOUR ASSIGNMENTS IN TIME, YOU WILL FAIL (in all caps). Perhaps a student read that and fainted. Or maybe ran crying to his mother.
Hence the new rules at the Leeds Trinity University. Don’t say “Don’t”, and don’t ever use all-caps. The delicate snowflakes, otherwise known as the students, can’t take it. A memo sent out to staff says using capital letters might be detrimental to students’ learning.
A possible alternative to the note above might be: “oh ye darling buds. it is possible that owing to a variety of reasons from ‘the dog ate my homework’ to ‘my grandmother ran away with the gardener’ you might not be in a position to hand in your work before the last date for it. but worry not. and please do not get angry or suicidal or attempt to shoot your classmates at random with a pea shooter or a borrowed catapult. it is possible you might fail, but what’s that against some of the biggest problems facing mankind?”
Others might say it differently. All variations are welcome so long as there are no all-caps present.
What does it tell us about our college students who are capable of bringing firearms to class, or ingesting amazing amounts of mind-altering stuff or even shutting down our colleges because they don’t like the way the playfield is laid out? That they can be brought to a grinding halt by simply holding up a placard with lettering in all-caps? The University seems to have discovered a way of ending all strife in the student body.
You don’t have to write “GET BACK TO YOUR CLASSROOMS.” Just something like “TABLE” or “CHAIR” will stop them in their tracks. Maybe that is why the really frightening man-made institutions are usually in all-caps. Say “FBI” or “CIA” or the “USSR” and not just students, even those who write placards with those letters breathe heavily and keel over.
So far as I know, only the Leeds Trinity University has banned capital letters (although they claim it is not a ban, merely an order not to use them). The implications are many. For one, the only poet likely to be taught there is e e cummings, famous for writing everything in lower case and pretending capital letters don’t (I use that word with apologies to the University) exist.
What next? Ban against the semi-colon followed by a ban against all punctuation? Already the University of Manchester has banned hand-clapping because the noise might affect students with anxiety issues. I would like to say BRILLIANT IDEA, but can’t for fear of losing friends in Leeds.
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