No matter your discipline, you assign papers. Student papers have a spectrum of success for both content and basic grammar/organization. We all know how this plays out: a handful of well-written pieces, a handful of woefully-written diarrhea, and then a big bulk of passable, boring, bare-minimum papers.
We are failing the low-end students by letting them go to University. I'm sure all of us here can agree to that. But it's now a customer service industry (The Dean's Thanksgiving message literally called it that, to my despair) and not a merit-based institution. So what to do with these people who cannot write to save their lives, who do not answer the question, who go on endless tangents?
If I follow my own rules, I send these awful writers to the writing center. But that doesn't really help. There is basically nothing tutors can do in the allotted 30 minutes to fix the endless problems posed by these students' godawful writing skills. So they send the student back to the professor.
Sometimes I break my own rules and I tutor the hell out of a student. I raise the level of competency; I show them how to write a clear introduction, use evidence wisely, check for common grammatical mistakes, etc. I analyze claims that make no sense. At the end of this tutoring session, which is usually many discussions over the course of a month or semester, I am exhausted and one student goes forth armed with the basic skills of communication that all college students are supposed to have in order to get into college in the first place.
But I can only do that for one student at a time. Because it's a little bit rewarding, a lot discouraging, and totally not my job. If I did it for all of them, I would not have time to teach my discipline.
So the circle goes on: I send the poor writers (so, 60% of students) to the Writing Center. A dozen might take my advice. Tutors teach students one or two golden rules (comma use, thesis statements) and send them back. The writing tutor does not have the time it takes to revamp their myriad mistakes.
Neither do I. So we screw them over, they screw us over, and we all sit in this pile of shit pretending that what we're doing is "higher learning."