Letter: Notes from the Underground — of Physical Plant

Dear Reedies,

Y’all should study up on your Marx, or at least check out his Wikipedia page, because your relationship to the laborers on this campus is atrocious. You might ask me: “Why should I read Marx? His prose is unintelligible, his word choice is unpalatable, and his ideas are ambiguous.”

We read Marx because Marx reminds us what commodities really are—they are products of human labor. There is no artifact in our world that is not directly or indirectly shaped by human hands, and so there is no artifact in this world that is not also born from the sweat and blood of an invisible laborer. Look down at the articles of clothing that you wear.

Letter: What is Honor?

I want to instigate a community-wide discussion about what does the Honor Principle ‘really’ mean. This discussion should happen and needs to happen on the level of individuals and their peer groups. Our understanding of the Honor Principle cannot be a top-down procedure; nor should it be something as radically individualistic as the version found in the Honor Council Code. … the Honor Principle entrusts the responsibility of acting in accordance with one’s personal sense of right or wrong to each member of the Reed Community (Student Body Constitution, 1919)…

I am unsatisfied because of the chosen words, “personal sense.” What does it mean for me to have a “personal sense” of ethics and where is this “personal sense” coming from? Should we decide the meaning of the Honor Principle based on what each of us individually think is right?