Category Archives: stanford

Maoist Self-Criticism at Stanford University

I spent the better part of 6 years at Stanford working on my master’s degree. My time there was mostly pleasant, and I have very fond memories of the Professors and the classes.

However, what I hated with a passion was the Eastern-European style bureaucracy that runs the admissions office. And the thing I hated the most was that they never felt it was part of their job description to notify you one week in advance that a critical date was approaching: the date to submit your registration.

As a part-time masters student, I was not on Campus every day being made aware of critical dates.

What was the consequence of missing that date? Why a 100$ fine. When you’re paying approximatley 6000$ a semester to attend stanford, that 100$ fine was insult on-top-of injury.

And you couldn’t just submit the paper work on line, no you had to go stand in-line at a time convenient to the registrar.

I thought to myself: Why it could never get any worse.


Now, in addition to making you pay the 200$ fine, they REQUIRE a type-written note explaining WHY you failed to submit the paperwork on time. The note must also ask the registrar to forgive you and let you register for the quarter.

Excuse me?

If the professor whose class I am in is comfortable with my physical presence in the classroom, then what does the registrar care? Are they going to NOT take my 6000$? Are they going to throw me out of the University? No. They just want to humiliate me. They want me to prostrate myself on the floor and beg for forgiveness.

This smacks of the kind of self-criticism you had to produce before you joined the Russian Communist Party or the kind of self-criticism required of the intelligentsia during Mao’s cultural-revolution.

In Stalin’s time they just shot you.

Just shoot me now.