Letters to the Editors

Not all Board trustees are bank executives

Dear Editors,

Re: “Is OUSA right for Queen’s?” (Journal, Nov. 2, 2007)

Mr. Horkins contends that the University Board of Trustees is “dominated by bank executives with a vested interest in our rising debt.” A cursory look at the biographies of the members of the Board (queensu.ca/secretariat/trustees/bios.html) show that only five of the 44 members currently have any form of relationship to a bank organization.  Mr. Horkins displays an ignorance of the tuition framework by using a simplistic catch-all to explain a complex issue.  Banks do not make their billions off of retail banking and much less so off of the backs of students. The members of the Board hail from a wide range of experiences, backgrounds and political leanings.  What they all have in common is an interest in the well-being of Queen’s University, their Alma Mater, as demonstrated by the significant amount of time donated freely to this institution every year.  There is no conspiracy.  I would invite everyone skeptical of this to attend the next Board meeting on Nov. 30th and see for themselves.

Michael Ceci
ArtSci ’09
Trustee, Board of Trustees

Student-athletes need timetable help to excel

Dear Editors,

Re: “Head Start for Gaels?”(Journal, Nov. 2, 2007) In your article “Head Start for Gaels?” Ms. Meagher comments that giving athletes preference for academic selection is not fair. While 

I can respect her opinion and understand why she may hold this belief, I must say I disagree. If Queen’s wants to have a serious athletic program, and the current athletic review indicated it does, some concessions to athletes must be made so that they are not in a constant time crunch and have to sacrifice an education for their sport, or vice versa.

Having been a student-athlete at various times during my undergrad years at Queen’s with the track d cross-country teams, I can fully appreciate the amount of time it takes to excel both academically and in athletics. In my first year I was unable to handle a full load of courses, practice every night and still try to have some semblance of a social life with my new friends, so I left the team to concentrate on school. My schedule often had me in class until 5:20 p.m., which gave me 10 minutes to change and get to practice. After a two hour practice, shower, and dinner, it was often 9 p.m. or later before I could sit down to do work.

I don’t believe that it’s unfair to help student-athletes by letting them choose core courses that don’t conflict with practice or weekend travel. As long as Queen’s wants its athletic program to be taken seriously by recruits, some basic concessions must be made to help them balance the rigorous course load that is expected of a Queen’s student with the athletic excellence that Queen’s would like them to  have.

Andrew Engbretson
Sci ’07
MSc ’09

Athletes don’t deserve preferential treatment

Dear Editors,

Re: “Head Start for Gaels?”(Journal, Nov. 2, 2007)

I have to admit, I was a little shocked to read that the athletics department wants to give course selection preference to athletes. This claim is based on the perception that athletes alone face a struggle between their academic and extracurricular activities. From what I understand, Queen’s has one of the most active student bodies on the continent. We have more student clubs, associations and cultural groups than almost all other academic institutions in North America. So why would only a select portion of our student body receive preferential course selection? Is their predicament any different from the non-music student who joins an ensemble, or the AMS or SGPS volunteer who takes on a time-consuming position? What about timetable preference for CFRC, Queen’s Bands, the Debating Union—all represent Queen’s just as much as any athlete. There are students that have to take part- or full-time jobs to pay for their education—they face more pressing concerns than probably all of the above. The reality of the situation that all students face is this: we have to make choices between all the things we want to do and all the things we have time to do. This is part of that non-academic education that university administrators are always so quick to point out.

The crux of the matter is that Queen’s primary goal is education. While these extracurricular commitments can add an exciting diversity of experiences, their roles are supplementary and should never trump anyone else’s right to receive an education. While some athletes may experience an inconvenience with practice time (a supplementary concern), this should in no way interfere with another student’s class choices (an educational and thus primary concern). What is proposed is both unfair and unrepresentative of the student body, many of whom face similar time-management issues.


Adam Gaudry
ArtSci ’07
MA ’09

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