A Carroll fellow is always outstanding because a Carroll fellow makes his life outstanding. There’s nothing wrong with being proactive, but there is another reason a Carroll fellow’s life is outstanding: The Carroll Fellows program is running the biggest scam on campus.

The Carroll Fellows Initiative is part of the Gervase Programs, described as a collection of programs designed to enhance intellectual life on campus. According to the Gervase Programs Web site, “Many Georgetown students are interested in pursuing excellence.” The CFI is intended to “help them organize and support that pursuit.”Them,” I would presume, refers to the “many Georgetown students” pursuing excellence. Yet the CFI is limited to roughly 30 students per year. Over four years, the CFI helps 120 students ostensibly achieve excellence. This number is far from the “many” the Web site initially claims.

The CFI gives certain students on campus an advantage over the majority of students. What is more appalling is that it gives them an advantage in the very service Georgetown claims to be offering to all students – education. Georgetown has made the commitment to further our pursuit of excellence and educate all of us; instead, they’ve constructed a system of separation.

When Carroll fellows start out, Professor John Glavin, the program’s director, promises the new initiates he will teach them the skills they need to succeed. He promises that they will learn how to research, how to be proactive, how to practice proper e-mail etiquette and how to network. These are all basic skills required for success after graduation. My initial reaction is probably the same as yours – that’s pretty cool.

But why isn’t Georgetown teaching all of us these skills? Why has Georgetown decided it needs an entirely separate program to teach certain students skills that all students should have? To me, it’s the university raising the white flag of surrender for the “many” other Georgetown students pursuing excellence.

Think about the $37,000 your tuition costs per year. The CFI essentially takes the capital from your expenditure and invests it in other students. There’s nothing wrong with subsidizing another student’s education, as long as everyone gets the same quality of education.

I expect to know how to research by the time I graduate; I expect Georgetown to teach me the skills that will be expected of me in the workplace, like e-mail etiquette. We all share that expectation, and Georgetown isn’t meeting it. If the university was doing things right, there would be no reason to have the Carroll Fellows.

People will make the argument that programs such as CFI are necessary. One must focus resources on the most promising students to maximize benefits. The logic behind the CFI is the same as the University of Maryland’s University Honors Program or the honors programs I’m sure many Georgetown students were admitted to at their state universities.

But Georgetown isn’t a state university. The University of Maryland, College Park has 26,000 students. Georgetown is a relatively small, elite university – which, supposedly, only admits the most promising students. So why do we need to internally discriminate as larger universities do? Is it too much to demand that we all receive an elite education?

The greatest question mark of the CFI is in its leadership. Glavin, a professor in the English department, is also our fellowship secretary. He plays a major role in determining who gets nominated for what scholarships. The logic behind this baffles me. We all compete for fellowships (who would turn down free money?) – by appointing Glavin fellowship secretary, the university made the coach of one team the referee of the game. No wonder Carroll fellows achieve excellence so regularly; the man coaching them to excellence is also the man who decides who is sufficiently excellent to represent Georgetown.

I want to know why Georgetown feels the CFI is necessary, but I also want to know why Georgetown has decided that some information is worth teaching some students while other students are left in the dark. And, finally, I want to know why the appointment of Glavin as both head of the CFI and the fellowship secretary is a fair policy decision.

Eamon Nolan is a senior in the School of Foreign Service. He can be reached at nolanthehoya.com. Memoirs of a Traveler appears every other Monday on www.thehoya.com.

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