Volume 90, Issue 98

Wednesday, April 02, 1997



OC soph selection process OK but reform needed

Re: OC soph selection elitist, March 25

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the letter by Aimee Gendron. While Miss Gendron has raised several concerns that are certainly important, I feel that her abuse of the off-campus soph selection committee, and Rob St. Pierre in particular, was excessive and unwarranted.

This year I tried out to be an OC soph and was cut. I too have several criticisms of the selection process but not of the people. I do not feel that I was personally given an unfair assessment, though I do feel that several who tried out for soph were, in fact, treated unfairly.

A description of the OC soph selection process: The first two days are spent in various activities such as cheering, skit writing and performing and group discussions. After this stage the first cuts are made and a large percentage of the applicants do not proceed to the next stage – the interview. The interview is a 15-minute grill session which involves role playing, a discussion about yourself and why you want to be a soph and finally, some method of embarrassing yourself for the benefit of the evaluators at the end of the interview (apparently a method of gauging enthusiasm).

Miss Gendron proposed that the first portion of the evaluation process was not an effective method of evaluating the skills necessary to be a soph. While I agree that it is not necessarily an outstanding method, it does address how one works within a group, one's co-operation skills and enthusiasm. All of which are necessary skills to be a soph. The unfairness in the process lies after this stage. I feel that everyone who comes out should be granted an interview. This is why I do not feel that I was treated unfairly but others were. I did make the first cut and was given an interview. Between the combination of the group work of the first two days and this interview, I do feel that I was given a fair shot. I was not selected, but neither were many others who probably would have done an excellent job, so I have no problem. Had everyone who tried out been granted an interview, the process would be an infinitely more accurate and equitable evaluation process.

To address Miss Gendron's further points, that "personal appearance and connections with the evaluators" were more important than performance, and that "Rob St. Pierre and the selection committee did not seem to take the evaluations very seriously," I could not disagree more. The evaluators took their jobs very seriously and, having seen St. Pierre first thing in the morning after the night the cuts were made, I can assure you that the process was not taken lightly by him. As for connections with the evaluators being important, this is simply untrue. People cut from the soph list include members of the Purple Spur executive, sophs from last year and personal friends of the selection committee. I personally can call several members of the selection committee my friends and I know that this fact was simply ignored when cuts were being made, which is as it should be.

While the OC soph selection process certainly should be reviewed, it is inappropriate to question the commitment or integrity of the committee. The OC sophs for next year are a good group of people, who I'm sure will do an outstanding job. Selecting 65 people out of approximately 150 applicants, all of whom are enthusiastic and qualified, is a job I do not envy, and I'm sure steps will be taken to improve the process for next year.

Duncan Viragos
Science I

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Copyright The Gazette 1997