Today was a momentous day for the 213 newly admitted members of Harvey Mudd College’s Freshman class. The students of HMC are well known to be some of the brightest and most hardworking in the country, and the incoming Class of 2023 is no exception. This year’s students have higher GPAs, higher SATs and more extracurriculars than any class before them. They were also the first early admission class to make up their entire year. And what’s more impressive than all of that? All they needed to achieve those stellar results was electricity. That’s right! Harvey Mudd College, an innovator in the field of STEM education, will be the first college in history to build its very own students.
“I’m excited to see what these new ‘Students’ are capable of,” said Mudd’s President Maria Klawe, smiling as she looked over the gleaming rows of identical STUDENT units, “and I know they will outperform the prior classes in every quantifiable metric.” Members of the class of 2023 will be coming from all over the world. With parts harvested from as far away as The Democratic Republic of the Congo and assembled as close by as sunny San Diego, it’s truly an international STUDENT body.
When asked why HMC had chosen to admit a class entirely comprised of robot students, Klawe suddenly turned serious. “We all know that the last few years have been especially difficult for students at Mudd. Tuition is skyrocketing. Classes are punitively time consuming. You see, we’ve reproduced the culture currently permeating the American workforce. A culture that says, people are expendable. A culture that minimizes our concern for human well-being in order to be more ‘productive’. When we as an administration noticed this trend, we realized we had a choice. Either we could make real, lasting change in order to better support our students (i.e Maximum classwork mandates. More funding for both Mudd-specific and Consortium wide mental health initiatives. Directly addressing the sexism and racism displayed by faculty to students in order to create a safer learning environments for students of all identities. etc.) or we could adjust to the times. For us, the decision was obvious”.
Although all of the incoming STUDENTS are first generation, there seems to be little concern that they will underperform. But, how did HMC afford to fund such a daring venture? Well, from 2014 to 2018 Mudd conducted one of the most aggressive fund-raising bids in its history, raising over $150 Million. Initially that money was going to be divided among various departments with the goal of creating a better experience for HMC students. However, upon administrative review, it was decided that the money would be better spent on the “long-term goal of student replacement”, instead of the relatively narrow minded more conventional approach of “student appeasement”.
At the time, the financial committee in charge of the fundraising had this to say: “We understand that Harvey Mudd students are more than just ‘scholar robots’– or at least, they were before the STUDENT units. But now we can finally be honest. Having to care for the well-being of our students, it’s a bug, not a feature. What we’re doing with these new automated STUDENTS is big. We’re disrupting the entire education industry”.
The class of 2023 will begin classes January 2, 2019. While they are expected to do incredibly well, analysts predict many of them will still barely make it through Frosh Chem.