Volume 91, Issue 46

Wednesday, November 19, 1997



A common Maclean's oversight

Re: Maclean's rankings

To the Editor:
For yet another year I am disappointed with how Western has fared in the Maclean's rankings. Those of us who are students at this school are aware of the quality of education Western provides. I, as a fourth-year English major, have had the opportunity to learn under some of the best teachers I have ever had. In previous years of English, including this year in particular, I have found my professors to be interesting teachers who treat me and my classmates as contemporaries instead of speaking down to us. These professors are also available and willing to help with any problems or concerns and most importantly encourage us to think independently – to form our own theories and interpretations about the material we study instead of blindly following what we are told in class. Many of my professors recognize me and take an interest in my studies even after I have finished their course. There are some professors I would consider friends because of their dedication to myself and my colleagues. It is clear to me that this school's teaching staff, at least in the English department, is far from second rate.

Our library system was rated well in the rankings, even though the engineers most unfortunately lost their library, which does not surprise me as I have always found the resources available to me to be more than adequate.

A rating which alarmed me was that Western ranked 10th in the category which looks into the percentage of people who graduate. Not all of these people leave Western as Christmas graduates who party too much. And not all of them leave because they decided university life was not their cup of tea. What is making these students leave to presumably other institutions? Though this question can not be answered in black-and-white terms, I propose a concern I have felt, this year especially. The Western administration, led by President Paul Davenport, has become increasingly concerned with recruitment and reputation. Upper-year students are right now set to be cut from residences to make room for an influx of new first year recruits. As a result, upper-year students are being shipped off campus to, in some cases, poor living conditions or a more alienated environment.

For some, residence is all they can afford. For others, they enjoy the sense of community gained from having friends living in the room next door. And most importantly, these upper-year students can provide a guiding principle to the new first-year students by showing them the ropes and how to cope with university life. My years in residence were made better by having upper-year students help me out with things I hadn't been told about. The administration seems so concerned with getting students to come to Western that they seem to be forgetting about the concerns of the students who are already here. This 10th-place ranking in Maclean's magazine should be a warning to Dr. Davenport and the senior administration that if they continue to ignore the concerns of students attending school now, in favour of getting new recruits, they may find more and more Western students will leave to go to a university that sets the needs of upper-year students on an equal level with the importance of recruitment. I hope the administration takes this warning and considers it while they make these decisions regarding the future of Western.

Peter Hill
English IV

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Copyright The Gazette 1997