Letters to the Editors

‘Appaled by the attitude of undergraduate students’

Dear Editors:
Re: “Why we skip” (Journal, October 20, 2006).

When I read this, I was appalled by the attitude of undergraduate students. I was in their shoes not so many years ago and managed to miss only one class in four years. I can sympathize with the difficulties of lack of sleep and large classes, but in my opinion, the article was a compilation of excuses from undergraduate students, none of which I thought were legitimate.

Early classes, boring lectures and online resources are no excuse to miss classes.

Each student pays about $800 to take each of their courses and to learn from someone who is a professional and an expert in their field. Is downloading skeleton notes really worth $800? In all cases in my experience, the online notes were intended as a supplement, not as a primary source of information. Time management is a skill that I developed during my undergraduate career and those
8:30 a.m. classes helped me to do it. In a couple of years employers will not be as forgiving if you skip work when you’ve been out socializing the night before. If you find your class boring, engage yourself! If you really pay attention, you’re likely to find something interesting that you can ask questions about later. As a TA for a first-year course, it is really obvious who does and does not put effort into thecourse and I can say from my own experience that putting in the effort will be worth it in the long run. The social aspect of university is incredibly important and I place a lot of value on my
non-academic experiences at Queen’s, but ultimately, we pay thousands of dollars to learn from the best, not to sleep through what they have to say.

Dana McDonald
MSc ’07

Ahmed Kayssi needs to ‘get a few things straight’

Dear Editors:

Re: “Tuiton hikes not the answer” (Journal, October 17, 2006).

I think Ahmed Kayssi needs to get a few things straight. The accusation about “student leaders [being] hopelessly stuck in the old paradigm of opposing tuition hikes” is unfounded and, frankly, ridiculous.
The Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) and AMS executives are concerned about the cost of post-secondary education and its quality. Our approach has never been about blindly opposing tuition hikes at all costs.

Kayssi goes on to say that the “failure to communicate with the wider community is exacerbated by student apathy,” a conclusion he draws from the poor attendance at The Great Debate. There needs to be some clarification here: apathy appears to be used as a term describing events that Kayssi cherishes, thereby deriding all those who failed to laud this precious town hall as unconcerned or
inactive about pressing issues at Ontario universities. “Not a single member of the AMS or SGPS executives was present … There is absolutely no excuse for such an embarrassment,” he goes on to say. Through the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), the largest student organization of its
kind in Ontario and Canada, the SGPS has been actively engaged in lobbying federal and provincial governments for increased support for post-secondary education, which has meant advocating for core transfer payments from the federal government, the development of a national education act and greater provincial government support for post-secondary institutions. The social democratic model of funding programs through a progressive personal and corporate income tax scheme is the best way to ensure that education is accessible to all. I can assure you, Kayssi, the SGPS is not apathetic on this issue now, nor has it ever been in the past. Aside from our involvement with the CFS and matters pertaining to post-secondary education specifically, many of the current SGPS executives have worked hard on a number of social and political justice campaigns at Queen’s, including the TA/TF union drives and ongoing support for Queen’s Coalition for Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

There are more ways to work on behalf students than attending a four-hour town hall.

Mr. Kayssi, get a few things straight before you step up to the podium.

Andrew Stevens
SGPS President

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