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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Mailbag: April 7

Letters to the editor

If you like it then you shoulda put your name on it

During the last year I’ve noticed use of comments from dailywildcat.com in the daily Mailbag section of the opinions page. A distressing trend is the choice to include anonymously signed comments. 

In my opinion this practice is both unwise for the Wildcat and unhelpful to your readers. Consider the letter printed in the April 6th edition of the Daily Wildcat which slandered a Michael Crow of ASU. I do not know the man, nor had I ever previously known of his existence, but my impression of Mr. Crow after reading the letter was certainly cynical. After a few minutes of contemplation I realized that some person who intentionally wants to keep their identify and agenda secret, attempted to poison my impression of Michael Crow. Perhaps legally this isn’t actionable libel, but it sure felt like slander to me. A footnote at the bottom of the page states that online comments are not the official opinion of the Daily Wildcat. In the case of anonymous comments I think it’s quite natural to at least assume they are condoned by the editorial staff if not endorsed. Comments cannot be printed in a vacuum of responsibility.

I often have the perception that the anonymous comments are of a character that one wouldn’t say in person to a group of strangers. The mask of anonymity gives license to say things with more vitriol, less candor, and in a manner that tends to be demeaning to those involved. This does not increase the quality of public discourse. Choosing to print such material increases shock value, but cheapens the quality of the newspaper.

Of course, the Daily Wildcat already knows this, that’s why at bottom of the opinions page the guidelines for submitting letters read as they do. For the same reasons, my hometown newspaper, the Toronto Star, required a written signature in order to print a letter I had written.

Please stop the practice of including un-attributable comments in the print edition of the newspaper.

— Daniel Cormode

Physics graduate student

Registering for problems

Ironically enough, it looks like I, a biomedical science major graduating in May 2011 with flawless grades, will likely have to forfeit my spot in one of the classes on campus that most obviously classifies as biomedical science because somehow my department (EEB) is not cross-listed. The class is on my SAPR, I meet the prerequisites, but somehow it is reserved for students from different departments and I will only get a seat if no one else wants one. Of course, my concerns about not getting a spot might fizzle if, come May, there is an open seat — but what if there isn’t?

The Biomedical Science, Biology major attracted me because of its wide diversity in courses available to students. The degree seems to boast a wider variety of courses than most other science degrees, including classes from MCB, MIC, animal science, plant science, veterinary science, physiology, and of course ecology (the department that offers the biology major). Had I known that the wide spectrum of classes on my SAPR was more of an illusory element than actual classes available for me to take, I probably would have chosen a different major. And now, if I want to graduate on time, it’s too late to switch.

Why did I say illusory? Many of the classes on my SAPR that are offered by other departments are shrouded by prerequisites that, instead of being put in place to ensure the adequate preparedness of students, are actually artificial barriers to prevent students from other departments enrolling in those courses. Those prerequisites are no where on my SAPR — so why is the upper division courses that that need those prerequisites on my SAPR instead? For many of the classes that do not have department-specific prerequisites, the classes are nonetheless reserved for students in the department and I will only get a seat if there’s one left after everyone else registers.

In this economy, where classes become more and more crowded and harder and harder to find a seat in, how likely is it that students who get last pick for classes actually get the classes they want? I understand the need to reserve classes for people who really need them to graduate; there is no need for a humanities major to take an upper-division science class that is not in their degree, which in turn prevents a science major from getting a class they do need for their degree. Among science majors, however, if a class is listed in their degree than they should have just as equal a chance to take it as science majors from other departments.

You might think I am an overly-pain-in-the-rear-student with unrealistic expectations. The budget is short; yes, I know. Sorry, I just didn’t foresee the unwritten disclaimer that, no matter how good my grades are and no matter how many credits I have, registering for classes in my degree would always be picking up leftovers. I recommend all advisers mark a bold asterisk with this kind of warning on all classes like this on students’ SAPR (which, for my major, happens to be a lot of classes). Otherwise, take it out of the degree and off the SAPR.

— Sam Rogers

Biology junior

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