“I would also suggest that those who think it is Sewanee is "a rich white people send their children if they don't get into the universities that they wanted to attend" to also check those rankings, particularly the following:
Undergraduate receiving need-based financial aid: 70%
Frankly, if I was a rich white kid who was so dumb that my parents couldn't buy my place into an ivy-league school, I would want to go to a school where I could easily pass. Having a student-teacher ratio of 11:1 does not really make that possible. You can’t hide in the back of some massive auditorium or simply not show up to class. In fact, knowing the temperament of some professors, such kids would probably leave immediately after being soundly beaten and humiliated intellectually on a daily basis.
Now this is not to say that there are not rich white kids there. Of course there are. There are some at every college, but I doubt many of them are lacking in their mental faculties at Sewanee. The atmosphere, as Dr Morris noted, is too charged with academic pursuits for some spoiled idiot to find it bearable.”
“Is Sewanee some sort of drug-ridden Gomorrah? Drug use and drinking does happen at Sewanee, but the reality is that they happen everywhere. Sewanee has been known for drinking, although statistics show that it has a far lower number of alcohol-related crimes and accidents than many other places because people take care of themselves and each other. Automatically equating alcohol use with bad schools is a flawed argument. It is more important to see the effects it has in the wider community than to make some sort of quantitative assertion based on personal observation. Personally, I never had a sip of alcohol at Sewanee. I have also never actually seen anyone using any hard drugs while I was there. And it’s not like I locked myself in my room.
I also find it somewhat amusing that there is such emphasis on drug use. I would suggest that when you are looking at the Princeton Review rankings that you check "Reefer Madness" and see that Sewanee is not listed. Drug use at Sewanee is at worst average compared to most colleges. Yes, you can certainly find it if you look for it, but it is equally easy to walk around and never see it. Did I know people at Sewanee who smoked pot on a regular basis? Yes. Did I know people who did not? Yes, in fact I knew a lot more. Perhaps Sewanee won’t seem as bad after a visit to the University of Colorado-Boulder.”
“Is Sewanee isolated and insulated? Yes of course. It was designed to be that way. Liberal arts education has traditionally not been about putting students in the world but removing them from it. After fostering a growth in character, integrity, and intellectual ability, they are well trained to be placed back into the real world and deal with any problem which might face them in their lives, as opposed to simply being trained for a single job. However, some do not agree with this philosophy. There are other schools.
However, most people who come to Sewanee, regardless of their background, find the community, its character, and its values to be extremely appealing. This is not some backwater town that is living in some pre-Civil War fantasy that would be distasteful to the majority of the modern world. Modern men and women from towns and cities of all sizes and from more cosmopolitan backgrounds choose to come to Sewanee and find it attractive beyond its scenic beauty. Yes, the views are somewhat homogeneous because most educated and reasonable people (such as Dr Morris) simply like it. I find it amusing that those in the extreme minority who do not get Sewanee automatically assume there is something wrong with the place.”
“Is Sewanee unChristian? I would suggest even making such a judgment of anyone else is itself unChristian. It sounds like episcocat was a seminarian. A better phrasing than “least Christian” to describe the School of Theology is“theologically liberal.” Most people are aware that the Episcopal Church has a huge spectrum of seminaries. Most people try to match their own beliefs with the seminary that they attend. Also, SOT has essentially no influence on the undergraduates, who are typically seen as rather conservative.
Is Sewanee backwards looking? What one might call backwards is more a unique appreciation for the value of character and community. Some people simply do not “get” Sewanee. But the rest do get it, and it seems rather natural to them: “...something you can't quite put your finger on. But you can feel it.” Yes, the Sewanee community is passionately committed to the nature of the place and its character. If it wasn’t then there would be nothing unique for Dr Morris to write about. So, I could see how if one did not get it that they might feel outside the community (and consider it backbiting that it won’t adapt to them). It’s like being the only person in the room who does not get a joke. You feel isolated and then resentful. It is a bad fit for some people. Yet, most love Sewanee and feel most at home there. Take a random sampling of alumni and see what the prevailing opinion is.”