Flat screens waste of student fees

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

To the editor:
It seems like every night my father calls me after having watched the news to say: “I hear that Western is in big financial trouble.” Of course, Western is in big financial trouble.

Every department on campus is being asked to reduce its operating budget substantially and I keep getting invitations from Paul Davenport to attend the budget town hall meetings to discuss how the university can save money.

On top of that, a recent report suggested that Canadian universities should strongly consider raising tuition by 25 per cent over the next three years, and cutting back scholarships " particularly at the graduate level " in order to help better balance their books. That would mean an extra $1,000 per year for undergraduates and $1,500 for graduates.

But here’s what bothers me the most. Not long before Christmas, the department of chemistry installed an electronic sign just outside its main office. The sign provided very valuable information to students, including “Welcome to Chemistry” and the date. I believe at one time it also said “Good Luck on Exams.” How could students possibly get by without such crucial information? The sign was on around-the-clock, informing students even at 2 a.m., long after the building had been locked for the night. Now, the sign is unplugged permanently and just sits there, doing nothing. Perhaps that’s because the department of chemistry has found a new way to inform its students.

Just this week, a new flat-screen TV was mounted to the wall in the Materials Science Addition. It also runs around-the-clock, informing students about the molarity of their solutions for a lab assignment (which a piece of paper taped to the glass adjacent to the TV also does) and showing a 50-word blurb about the research of one particular chemist in the department. Again, such crucial information that you might wonder how students got by this far without the TV on the wall.

While we are all taken aback currently by the on-goings of companies like AIG or GM/Ford/Chrysler and wondering how the people in charge could be so wasteful with money, we should take a good hard look at the people in charge of this university, or the people in charge of the department of chemistry, who seem to have no problem wasting your money and then crying poor.
" Jason Brown
PhD Biology

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