Blacksburg, Not Jeddah

Virginia Tech taught courses to about 60 faculty members from King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia this summer. Rather than the usual co-educational setup, the university segregated the classes by gender out of respect for their culture.

"This is the way they teach their courses over there, and this is the way they wish their courses to be taught over here," said Tech spokesman Larry Hincker. The university chose to respect the Saudi culture "rather than impress our culture on them," he added.

Jeff Taylor argues that VT should be flexing a little Western cultural muscle. After all, if the war on terror is to be won with memes, let culture reign. I agree, but if the alternative is that the Saudis would refused to partake in mixed classes, segregated classes are better than nothing. Hopefully the visitors are receiving their share of positive cultural externalities after class is over, whether it be nights at Arnold's that run into the early morning, local sounds and ribs at Top of the Stairs, or the sights of Slusher Beach during the sultry Blacksburg summer.

Note to Jeff Taylor: Technically, there's no such thing as "Virginia Tech University"; there's Viriginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, usually referred to as simply "Virginia Tech". Share this