Letters to the editor

Responding to the Fine Arts suspension and criticizing the Journal's use of language

Dear editors,

As a design and development specialist with some 33 years international experience followed by over 20 years as an adjunct associate professor in the Chemical Engineering Department, I am quite disappointed in the decision to curtail the Fine Arts program.

Design is the quintessential aspect that defines engineers of all disciplines. Fine Arts is also defined by design, and in my profound opinion the two disciplines are closely related. Successful design involves a large measure of creativity and innovation.

If we in Canada want to improve our rather poor level of productivity as a nation we must foster creativity and innovation in all our students.

Several years ago I invited a colleague of mine from the Ontario School of Art to bring some examples of students’ work to show to the students in our multidisciplinary project course at Queen’s. It was an interesting exercise. Although some of the students were not able to make the connection, there was no question that a great number did. John Gordon of the School of Business was involved in this exercise and he could see the validity of the point that design is an important human endeavor and creative design is not limited to engineering.

Subsequent to this meeting with my colleague from Toronto, our Technology Engineering and Management (TEAM) program, a fourth-year multidisciplinary project course involving teams of engineers, law students and commerce students who carry out a project for a client, worked on projects with the Fine Arts department on more than one occasion.

I sincerely hope the University will reconsider this short-sighted decision and reinstate the Fine Arts program as a full member of the Queen’s community. There is no question that if we are prepared to spend some time on this matter there are likely more opportunities for collaboration between the Faculty of Engineering and Fine Arts.

Barrie Jackson
Faculty of Engineering professor

Dear editors,

I was disappointed to find two instances of profanity in recent editorials (“Attack points, not person” Journal editorial, Nov. 18, 2011 and “Other guys” by Jake Edmiston, Editor in Chief, September 30, 2011). I am not particularly offended by the foul language, but I do believe it’s unprofessional and unnecessary to print such language outside of direct quotes in news stories.

The English language is vast and rich. Why not explore it deeply rather than reaching quickly for blunt, blue words? I can see that perhaps in these two instances the words were chosen because they seemed to fit the context in a clever way (Edmiston echoing the language used by the offending students in question; the Journal staff choosing a profane noun that relates to prostate exams). But I would argue this type of “cleverness” is rather low-brow and better suited for a humour publication than a serious newspaper.

The Journal staff has produced some excellent writing and reporting this year. Students who wish to continue in the field of print journalism will use some of these articles in their writing portfolios.

I highly recommend excluding any writing that contains profanity from these portfolios. No serious print newspaper in North America allows profanity outside of direct quotes in their news sections. If the Journal wishes to be considered a serious publication, refraining from using profanity is a small step in that direction.

Sean McGrady
ArtSci ’03
Queen’s Journal Editor in Chief, Vol. 130


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