Paideia went punk. Junior physics major Julia Selker organized Punkdeia at an off campus house the Wednesday of Paideia 2014. Completely autonomous from Reed, Punkdeia was a daylong progression of Paideia-style classes, several of which would likely not have been approved by the administration. But first some history. Julia was embroiled in the controversy that racked Paideia last year.

As Paideia Czar for the 2013 Paideia, Julia had been responsible for all of Paideia. She collected and went through the proposed classes and met with Community Safety and Facilities Services who looked for safety hazards and ensured that no buildings or trees would be damaged. The CSO check was pretty rudimentary. They made sure the liquor courses would check for IDs and the teacher of the straight razor class wasn’t a budding Sweeney Todd.

Entheogenesis: an Alum’s Banned Paideia Class

The monumental Paideia schedule dominated the GCC Lobby from January 18th until the first day of classes, directing knowledge-seekers to an exhaustive list of educational and recreational opportunities. One of the week’s events, however, appeared nowhere on the list.

On January 24th, the Friday of Paideia, alumnus Richard Milsom led an unofficial, unsanctioned “Entheogenesis Seminar” in the Student Union. Participants discussed legal issues surrounding psychoactive drugs used for spiritual purposes, or entheogens. Conversation focused especially on the 2006 Supreme Court case UDV v. Gonzalez — in which the Court unanimously upheld a religious movement’s right to the sacramental use of ayahuasca, a Schedule I substance — and its implications for religious freedom and drug policy in America.

The Grail spoke to Mr. Milsom a week later about his past, his class, and his motives in holding it even though he had been denied permission by the Paideia czars.