March 26, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 93  

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EDITORIAL

Letters

Endangered species

Re: “Rock is dead they say...” Mar. 23, 2004

To the Editor:
Biology 355b (Adaptations and Ecology of Birds) is not only an extremely popular specialized course, it is also very inexpensive to operate. The department of biology already has an outstanding collection (one of the best in Ontario) of bird specimens in its museum, so no new material is needed each year for the lab component. Surely economics cannot be the reason behind cancelling this class.

The removal of this class reduces the amount of diversity in the department of biology, which, in our opinion, is already sorely lacking. Is streamlining departments the wave of the future at Western? If students are never offered specialized courses, how are they going to know if ornithology is something they are truly interested in for graduate research or as a prospective career?

Does this give the message to prospective students that Western is only for those wanting to study genetics, microbiology and medicine? It was Biology 355b that decided the course of our immediate futures and opened many doors (including jobs) that would have otherwise remained closed. It goes against what we feel is one of the most compelling reasons to attend university, which is the chance to gain knowledge and experience ideas and concepts at the senior level that only specialized courses are able to offer.

Many students share our views and have begun to lobby by writing letters and signing petitions to request the department of biology continue to offer courses of interest to students. The department has already decided to cancel Biology 355b for next year, so what will be the fate of other specialized courses? Are these next on the chopping block?

Andrea Robinson
Zoology IV
Tiffany Sherratt
Ecology & Evolution IV

Money woes

To the Editor:
I am writing to formally request that the registrar’s office remove this statement from its web page: “It is the principle of Western’s Student Financial Services Office that no qualified student will be unable to attend or be required to withdraw from a program at Western for financial reasons.” This statement is a lie.

I have been denied funding for the last three years. My parents — who have eight other children, but apparently this doesn’t count — make too much for me to get an Ontario Student Assistance Program loan, but not enough for me to have a co-signer for student loans. This has forced me to work as many as seven days a week to be able to afford to take two or fewer courses a year.

To add insult to injury, I have yet to have a positive experience at the registrar’s office on main campus or the business office at King’s College. I have experienced everything from verbal abuse to being told that OSAP can’t be expected to pay for my parent’s mistakes. In one situation, an individual at King’s sat me down and yelled at me until I was in tears.

Only after I broke down and “realized the gravity of my situation” was she willing to discuss my options. As much as it sucks to take five years to do a three-year degree, and to miss out on some of the best parts of university, I accept that my education is very much my responsibility and I don’t mind paying for it.

The registrar’s office and the government should stop making it sound like they believe what they say. It’s misleading and unfair.

Karri Thurston
Anthropology II

 

 

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