Letters to the Editor

SciFormal Coverage

Re: “SciFormal policies come under fire”

Dear Editors,

I was disappointed in the portrayal of the conflict surrounding SciFormal hours reductions. The article quotes that “[Eric] Goldfarb, Sci’14 said the policy of reducing hours for students with on-campus jobs isn’t official and contravenes human rights principles.” This statement is a gross misrepresentation of the processes and procedures followed by the Science Formal Committee and of the Science Formal event as a whole.

The student referred to as Elliot, for the purposes of the investigation, applied for an hours reduction in September and was declined. After Science Formal explained the decision, Elliot waited months until the week of SciFormal to bring the issue to ERB. This situation lead to Eric making the vague and misleading statement, above, quoted in the Journal.

The standards and procedures dictating which reasons qualify a student for a reduction are outlined and preserved in SciFormal documents — these include transition manuals, timelines, spreadsheets and other ancillary documents. These documents serve as the official rules and regulations for Science Formal and stipulate the standard of practice for the various portfolios within the committee. Every miniscule detail of SciFormal standard practice is not included in EngSoc policy, this is true; however, neither is the fact that minors are not allowed into Clark Hall Pub, and that is still a rule that is followed. Detailed descriptions of practices and responsibilities are similarly not detailed in the policy manuals of every society or volunteer organization in other areas of campus.

Stating that the relevant policy adhered to in Elliot’s situation is not “official” is misleading and unclear. The article implied that the rule was made up on the spot, not a standard regulation, and/or not applied fairly and consistently to all students. None of these are true. In the case of Science Formal, transition manuals and EngSoc’s job descriptions, position/portfolio information, etc. are the rules and regulations; so, for all intents and purposes, the rule that dictated that Elliot did not qualify for a reduction was official.

It is important for the student body to understand that the decision to not grant the reduction was made for logical, professional reasons (i.e. to follow SciFormal rules) and in order to ensure consistency, fairness and integrity throughout the SciFormal process.

The article neglected to give a full and balanced picture of this situation and I hope for more a more accurate portrayal of these types of situations in the future.

Samantha Taylor, Science Formal Communications Chair, 2012

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.