Chiming in on letter about flat screens

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Flat screens waste of students fees”
March 26, 2009

To the editor:
Mr. Brown, your implication that the decision-makers at this institution are as culpable of budgetary mismanagement as the buffoons that comprise General Motors’ executive arm is a blasphemy of reason " shame on you. Are we really prepared to compare the wasteful practices of department chairs who drive Honda Civics to those of millionaire automotive executives who fly corporate jets to bail-out meetings? Please.

Let’s suppose for a minute that you had your way and the purchase of those (two) absurdly expensive plasma screens had been prohibited " what’s next exactly? Do we switch the Office of the Registrar’s stationary from Bic and Post-its to ink quills and scotch-taped toilet paper squares? Do we merge the varsity baseball and basketball teams, hire Matt Stone and Trey Parker as coaches and force them to play BASEketball? I have an idea: Let’s get rid of purple as our official school colour. I mean it " colour ink is expensive and purple is far too chipper for a recession.

I laud your enthusiasm, Mr. Brown, but your shotgun criticism is ill aimed. Post-secondary education and academic research in general are woefully under funded in this country by every constituent benefactor and that includes students, government, business and industry. The prevailing Canadian mindset, when it comes to higher education, is equal parts tragic and comedic.

We have, for example, students who desire a world-class education " until, that is, they are told how much it costs. Did you know that recipients of undergraduate university degrees earn, on average, in excess of $10,000 per annum more than their high school educated counterparts? Multiply that by a lifetime and then argue with me that we cannot afford to increase tuition by a thousand bucks.

We have a government that has, in its most recent budget, cut research funding in the name of stimulus and done so at the ludicrous behest of a Creationism-espousing Minister of Science. We ain’t in Kansas any more Dorothy " or are we?

How about our businesses and industries? Outside of Research in Motion and the wonderful work that they have done at the University of Waterloo, what corporate entity in this country has made a substantial investment in the endowment of a post-secondary education institution? The situation is so dire that we struggle to compete, at least financially, with even middling American schools.

I have a theory that, despite all their deleterious side effects, recessions ultimately have a way of exposing the truth. And the truth is, on this campus, and in this country, we have demonstrated that we simply do not value education and research with the passion that it warrants. For those of you that do care, I hope you came to Dr. Davenport’s town hall meeting. Recession and all that be damned, I wore a purple tie.
"Thiru Sivakumaran
Physics IV

To the editor:
While I agree with the Mr. Brown’s assessment of the waste of public money in his letter to the editor, I have to correct him on his analogy of the use of the Ford Motor Company as an example of a company that wastes government money.

The current recession has hit everyone very badly and I believe that it is extremely important that we commend those who not only foresaw this coming but also took the necessary preventative action to weather the crisis and not just pray for the government to come to their rescue when times get tough. Until this day, the Ford Motor Company, unlike its industry rivals of GM, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda, Nissan-Renault etc., has not taken a cent of government bailout money, even when it was almost literally waved in its face. It has been an extremely responsible and patriotic corporate citizen that puts the overall interests of our country before just making a quick buck and I find it extremely disturbing that people tend to overlook it these days. Good for you, Ford.
" Nicholas Tan
Science I

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