Students who graduated last spring with an Honours Bachelor of Arts may be in for a surprise when they pick up last year’s Tricolour Yearbook.
Anna Miller, ArtSci ’00, who earned an honours degree in a development studies and geography medial, described herself as being “pleasantly surprised” when she saw that in the graduate photo spread she had graduated with a masters in geology.
“I hadn’t realized I was getting my masters… Bring on the rocks!”
As a result of what the 1999-2000 Tricolour Yearbook Committee is calling a “coding error,” any student who graduated with Honours Bachelor of Arts is entered in the graduate photo section as having received a Masters degree. For students who graduated with a degree in geography the situation is even more disconcerting — as all geography students were ‘coded’ with a degree in geology.
Tim Malleau, ArtSci ‘00 was one of them.
“This is on par with everything that Queen’s does. They never once got my address or email right in the Who’s Where… It doesn’t come as any surprise that they didn’t get this right,” he said.
For his part, Ben Arkin, last year’s co-editor of the Tricolour along with David Aaron, has issued a “full apology” to all of the graduates affected.
“I want to offer a full apology to all students who had erroneous information. Its quite a big inconvenience and I wouldn’t want it to happen to me… The real problem is that there’s nothing we could do.”
According to Arkin, the problems stemmed from faulty translation of information from Life Touch Photographers and Friesenss, the yearbook’s publisher — which the staff became aware of three days before publication.
“When the graduates get their photos taken they’re required to enter their faculties and program into codes… For whatever reason they translated into the wrong names.”
Arkin also said that one of the reasons the faulty information went to the printer was because their number one priority was getting the yearbook out on time. He explained that it is a decision he wouldn’t change.
“It all looks different in looking back [but] I wouldn’t have done anything different in these circumstances because we thought the problem was under control with the publisher… We thought they would be fixed and when they weren’t it was too late… We won’t make the same mistake.”
Arkin stressed that problems with Life Touch have spanned several publications and that last year’s staff threatened to pull out of the contract because of the extent of the problems.
“The yearbook has, on several occasions, gone over our contract for photography and gone to the vice-president of the company and told him that if they didn’t get their act together we were taking our business elsewhere… [Since that time] they’ve shown real progress and really made an effort to get it right.” AMS Media and Services Director Anja Eyer, who oversees the operation of the Tricolour, has remained sidelined on the issue.
“I don’t know why it happened but I obviously know that it did happened… I don’t know the inner workings of the yearbook,” she said.
Incoming co-editors Nadra Ginting and Sharon Bala are already working on a new strategy to avoid last year’s problems.
“On September 21 we’re meeting the Life Touch rep. This year there’s a rep right in Kingston that can handle student problems [and] we’re sitting down with the rep from Friesenss to hash out how problems happened last year and what we can do to avoid them,” said Ginting.
Bala added that the Tricolour staff is working on an additional step for grads, requiring them to verify the faculty and degree information submitted to Life Touch – before it goes to the publisher.
For Malleau, it’s an important change.
“The incoming yearbook committee should do something about this for next year as there’s going to be about 200 students graduating in geography and it’s important to get this information right… Our final memory of Queen’s is in that book.”
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