Although the tongue weighs very little, very few people are able to hold it. -Anonymous
Question #8162 posted on 09/27/2004 4:19 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

We were thinking, what if BYU had a caste system, organized according to department? (And who's to say that it doesn't?)

This is the hierarchy we came up with.

Chemical Engineering
Biochemistry (hooray for Misaneroth!)
Electrical Engineering
(Females in Computer Science :))
Computer Science
Physics and Astronomy
Civil Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Manufacturing Engineering
Animal Science
Botany Range Sciences
Agronomy and Horticulture
Political Science
Linguistics (Latro's up there on both counts)
Food Science
Business Management
Audiology and Speech Language Pathology
Social Work
Asian and Near Eastern Languages
Germanic and Slavic Languages
French and Italian
Spanish and Portugese
Health and Human Performance
Physical Education
Visual Arts
Theater and Media Arts
English (why Duchess and Ambrosia are going to grad school before they can find work)
Construction Management
Recreation Management and Youth Leadership
Marriage, Family, and Human Development (sorry, Pa Grape)
Elementary Education

This is not how much respect _we_ think each department should be given; however it seems to us to be the amount of respect each department _is_ given by BYU campus and culture generally.

It seems, moreover that a major cannot be conjoined with a minor that is higher on the list than it is, i.e., it's weird when someone majors in French and minors in physics, but perfectly acceptable for someone to major in civil engineering and minor in English.

Also, if a girl is in a higher-up department than a boy, it makes their relationship kind of off-kilter, sort of like if she's taller than he is, or better at racquetball. It takes a very secure male construction management major to marry a female electrical engineer.

What do you think?

-A. A. Melyngoch and Katya the Physics Chick

A: Dear A. A. Melyngoch and Katya the Physics Chick,

I think your hierarchy looks pretty accurate. (Yay for female CS majors!) I also think your observations sound pretty accurate as well. I don't know if this is the way things *should* be, but maybe it's just a natural extension of the thinking that "some majors are harder than others" (which is kind of subjective... a math major may find philosophy extremely difficult... ugh, I find philosophy very difficult), the thinking that "boys are smarter than girls" (which definitely isn't right 100% of the time), and the thinking that "if you have a 'hard' major, pick a 'easy' minor" (which makes sense, but doesn't necessarily have to be the case). Just my thoughts.

A: Dear A. A. Melyngoch and Katya the Physics Chick,

Yeah, I think it's pretty accurate. You put the Engineering Departments up in the Ruling caste and the Art and Education Departments down in the Untouchable caste. I thought it was funny, though, how you intentionally left out Sociology. Some people would say that's part of BYU's Unmentionable caste.

A: Dear A. A. Melyngoch and Katya the Physics Chick,

Allow this secure male (Ma Grape's major is higher up on this list) to second the idea that although this is probably fairly accurate for what the situation actually is, I must say that this is far from how it should be.

I find it a sad state of affairs that Social Work and Marriage Family and Human Development (are you including Marriage and Family Therapy, the graduate program, in the same slot?) should be located so far down. The family is the basis for all society and is being attacked at every turn. Marriage is deteriorating to nothing more than "a right to another person's health care benefits" and is suffering a 50% rate of divorce (among church members, it is only about 5% better).

The Prophet and the Apostles have given talk after talk about the importance of the family and learning to build better relations in it. They even felt compelled to issue a prolamation to the entire world concerning it, and yet the major focusing on defending the family and teaching about children and their development, not to mention the major focusing on teaching those children directly, is at the bottom of the list and is perhaps the major most made fun of. A bit hypocritical of an LDS community, don't you think?

Forgive my venture onto this soapbox, but I find it nearly heartbreaking.

-Pa Grape
A: Dear A.A.M and Katya,

Welcome back, Katya! Wow. You've really thought a lot about this one, haven't you? Yes, really. Who's to say that it doesn't? Well, since I am very near the bottom of the list, in the land of open majors, and what is worse, humanities majors. (Settle down, dear readers, and don't get all offended. I'm making fun of myself, not any of you. I love humanities majors.) I'm reassured, however, to learn that in England, an English major is a big, stinkin', prestigious deal.

I think there are also interesting gender divisions in the caste system. For instance, guys who are el ed majors and girls who are engineers are both higher (seems to me) in their respective classes, simply for not being the majority.

Hope to play soon.


A: Dear Katya and A.A. Melyngoch,
I think your assumptions are quite correct, actually. I do feel for Pa Grape. :)
I also just wanted to make the point that I actually have a couple of real jobs. Yay. The grad school thing is just because I want specification in Technical Writing. One class at BYU doesn't really do that.
A.A., really fun to see you the other day. Sometime I'll come back over and see ES and AS too.
- Duchess