Added incentive

AMS president Paul Heisler wrote to all qlink email addresses on Tuesday, offering free movie passes at Cineplex Odeon. Journal readers will also have noticed a full-page ad in Tuesday's paper offering the chance to shape the future of Queen's and win a trip to Florida.

The purpose of these announcements was to publicize a qualitative survey of students to find out what they like and dislike about their school. The results will be given to the Board of Trustees at their spring meeting, in the hope that students' voices will be heard by the policy-makers.

But the survey will not attract useful input; the ad is garish, the questions are ineffective, and the incentive to participate is overemphasized. The survey's questions do not offer students a forum in which to think about what is important to their education and lives at Queen's. All they do is provide a forum for an unfocused rant.

The current AMS executive ran on a platform of interaction with students. They wanted to make students as aware and involved as possible. They wanted students to feel in control of the future of Queen's.

But this survey is laziness. It is not reaching out to students. It is not part of a campaign to educate students on the real problems facing Queen's, like the constant threat of rising tuition, infrastructure planning, or the loss of top-quality faculty to foreign schools. It is not helping students give thoughtful, useful and powerful feedback to the administration. It is simply three vague questions and a lottery.

The questions had to be vague enough so as not to lead students toward the default positions of anti-deregulation and pro-library. It had to elicit reports of real-life problems and personal experiences.

But this survey swings too far the other way, and asks the empty questions, “What is right with Queen's? What is wrong with Queen's? How satisfied are you with your Queen’s experience—and why?”

Like the ASUS referendum, this survey gives the mere appearance of student input in policy-making. The results will be easily ignored as "informative" to the administration, as Principal Leggett so condescendingly described the referendum results.

And while the ASUS referendum could be faulted for posing a leading question, the questions in this AMS survey lead nowhere, and the results will be all but useless in shaping the future of Queen's.

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