In a letter addressed to the incoming class of 2020 released yesterday, the University of South Carolina administration stated that they will no longer provide access to safe, air-conditioned spaces on campus or at any event related to the school. The letter, signed by University President Harris Pastides, claims that the use of air conditioning, fans, and even open windows is not in line with the institution’s principles.
“The mission of our university,” reads the letter, “is to foster an authentic and fulfilling academic experience. Sometimes, that may lead to discomfort, even extreme discomfort, for individual students, but college is not a place where you come to be comfortable.”
The announcement comes amidst public debate over the increasing “coddling” of students at the collegiate level. Dr. Lee Cohen, a professor of Higher Education at the university, told the Third Spur that while students may be upset at the proclamation, it will only help them in the long run:
“Trying to regulate the classroom with such strict notions of ‘room temperature’ is not doing you any favors. In the real world, you are not able to tip-toe around and keep everyone from feeling heatstroke. It’s just not realistic.”
The new policy will extend beyond just the classroom, with A/C units being removed in all residence halls, the Russell House Student Union, and even the Strom Thurmond Fitness Center.
“College will be an experience like no other,” reads the final paragraph of the letter. “No longer will you have your parents to pick up after you, teachers to remind you of assignments, or a central cooling system to maintain a reasonable temperature. We are confident the class of 2020 has what it takes to face the heat. Welcome to USC.”