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Friday, March 10, 1995

“At%&?!” Yes, many of you, my fellow arts students, may have had this derisive call levelled at you by some moron from one of the Engineering, Science, or Math faculties. Fortunately for us, ES and Ret students are farther down in the pecking order... Arts students don’t get any respect. But how can we expect to? When WC take a math course, all the really nasty stuff is removed so our poor, numerically challengedminds won’t get confused. Economics courses are often filtered to get rid of all that, ahem, irrelevant mathcrnatics. There’s this stereotypical perception that while Engineers think Plato was something they played with as a child, WC break out in a cold sweat at the thought of the slope of a line. Obviously, neither is true (for the most part). However, the very idea that literacy and numcracy are not, to use a math torn-t, mutually exclusive, seems completely foreign to those in charge ofboth the Arts and Math faculties. We artsies should be thrown a few numbers once in a while. Inflated marks do not help our quest for rcspeciability either. My classmates almost look ill when they hear that eh average on a test was a brutal 70%. I’vt: written more than a few midterms where the average was 75%, 80% or even higher. If the average is that high, how hard can it possibly be? While this is great for egos, making tests more challenging would bc far more helpful. First, the general level of learning would be elevated. Second, more material would be covered. Third, the students would bc separated more

appropriately by ability. Consequently, better students will no longer be penalizedin Coop, where currently their slightly higher averages mean little to employers when so many students already have A- or better averages. And if desired (though hopefully not), these precious averages could be saved by bell curves to maintain the egos and the outside world’s perception of the student body. The crux of the problem is that we often get a free ride in the Arts faculty. If you don’t do the reading, it’s covered in class. And what ofall this reading we claim to be bogged down with? Why don’t they throw us something challenging, instead of forcing us to Read & Regurgitate hundreds of pages? Assuming we can read, why don’t the professors take the material and extend its boundaries, instead of telling us what we just read? Why don’t they (gasp!) make us think instead? I’m sorry, but if a student doesn’t do the reading, then it’s the student’s fault if hc or she is completely lost in following the lecture. Period. Thr: reading should be a background used to understand more complex material to be taught in the lecture, and not vioe versa. Yes, complex material should be reviewed by the professor. However, rarely is every topic in a course complex enough to warrant such a review. Now you say, if the classes are a waste of time, why do you bother going‘? Participation marks. No, there’s no typo. We actually have participation marks. This is a fabulous way of making people show up. Apart from lan-

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guage classes where they are justified, participation marks brilliantly cover up the professor’s incompetence, the course’s lack of material, or both. I had a course last term where they would sometimes quiz you on occasion at the end of a lecture to see if you were present. I had another course where you were expelled from the course if you missed more than two classes. Perhaps if the lectures were valuable, these draconian measures would not need to be taken. We don’t have three or more hours a week to massage the ego of the professor. If we miss lectures and subsequently fail or do poorly, that’s our fault, not the professor’s. In fact it would be nice if lecture attendance really was a requisite for higher achievement. Unfortunately, it is not. At this point in our education careers, I think we can be trusted to decide for ourselves whether or not lectures are useful. All that I’m asking is that the faculty treat us with a littie more respect and make us learn -- not just regurgitate. I may be wrong, but the ability to think and analyze seems more important than the ability to memorize endless definitions. My God, even an Enginccr could do that!

continued from page 13 seat to other issues. Now I understand that Carleton University (the main student body at the rally) has a strong left-wing slant, but I do not see why a rally organized by students to present student views and student complaints should be used as a platform by the Communist and Sociallist parties of Canada to spread their views and beliefs. I do not see why a student rally against tuition hikes needs placards denouncing the “rich elite” of this country, and I do not see why a student rally needs a guest speaker who says we must defend the common worker from the government and the monopolies Those are very lovely sentiments, but this was neither the time nor the place. Why should my discontent with rising tuition be tied to political propaganda? Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Another aspect of this rally that continues to boggle me is the organizers’ attacks on big business, especially Canadian banks. Now, maybe I’m a li<ttle slow, but how the hell does the fact that the Royal Bank made or lost money last year (it made money) affect my tuition? Directly, it doesn’t. So why did the student rally march to the Royal Bank head office to protest the fact that it made money? Now, I can s’ee why Socialists and unhappy Public Servants would have a problem with banks making record profits, but students? I could care less what the bank does, so long as it keeps cashing my chequcs. Some of you may think that my beliefs jaded my views of this, event. That may be so, but I doubt it. I think anyone would have been less than impressed by the way this rally was run. If the organizers had at least stuck to the topic of tuition increases, and concentrated on that issue without babbling on about the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, I think a lot more could have been accomplished.

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