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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mail Bag

    Mandatory attendance unnecessary for many students

    I absolutely agree with Laura Donovan’s March 11 piece “”Mandatory attendance is a useless, nanny state rule”” and feel any teacher who views his or her lectures and classtime as valuable for students would not force them to come. They would realize students would enjoy class if it was valuable.

    If certain students wish to gain knowledge and experience from coming to class, then that is great. If students believe they don’t benefit from a class, then their grade shouldn’t depend on attendance. Most would ask why you signed up for a class if you didn’t want to go. Many classes are required for a degree and we don’t have a choice.

    For instance, in my junior year I had to take a required music course to learn piano. For a seasoned musician it’s ridiculous to force such a class, nonetheless force attendance in the class. Because I felt my presence would take time away from people that actually needed to learn the piano I only went to about half of the class sessions. I averaged very high As, yet at the end of the semester I got a C. I didn’t complain because I knew it was policy but that didn’t stop me from missing class.

    Why should someone who already knows everything the class has to offer be penalized for missing class? Please quit treating us like children.

    Lisa Mason

    music senior

    Occasional attendance doesn’t work in the adult world

    Laura Donovan’s article on attendance policies is sadly misinformed and reveals a serious misunderstanding of the purpose of such policies in promoting successful education at our university. With no better argument than “”some people learn better at home,”” Donovan argues that attendance should be optional and that professors who enforce it are acting as “”nannies.”” What the author fails to acknowledge is that these “”nannies”” are often highly qualified educators who may have even more understanding of effective pedagogical techniques than she does.

    What was particularly disconcerting was Donovan’s criticism of language classrooms. She asks: “”Who are [language instructors] to decide whether or not the student works better at home, where he can read, write and speak the language on his own without having to participate in busy-work activities?”” If a student does not attend class, the instructor has no way of evaluating whether she or he has learned anything. Additionally, instructors rely on their students’ active participation to promote language learning, hence the participation grade element in the grading scale. Speaking and culturally contextualized interaction are part of the learning process. These daily tasks cannot be measured in written tests, and that is why attendance is crucial. I would also add that half of life is just showing up for things, whether you feel like it or not.

    Donovan refers to students at the UA as adults, and that is exactly the kind of adult responsibility they need to take on. In the adult world, if you don’t show up for work, you don’t get paid. Some absences are allowed by the system to accommodate emergencies. “”Life happens,”” as Donovan states, but don’t expect instructors to reward irresponsible behavior.

    Lucy Blaney

    Spanish and Portugese graduate student

    Advisory inspired by violence, not anti-Mexican feeling

    Seth Davis is very misguided in his tirade against the Dean of Students Office for putting out a traavel advisory against going to Mexico this spring break (Mailbag, March 9, 2009). If Mr. Davis was paying any attention to the world around him, he would know that this advisory isn’t about keeping kids from enjoying themselves on their time off.

    Violence in our southern neighbor has erupted recently due to wars between various drug cartels. Just last Friday, an American was found beheaded in Tijuana due to cartel violence. The newly appointed anti-drug czar of Cancun – a retired four-star general – was assassinated within 24 hours of taking the job. The chief suspect in this case? None other than the chief of police.

    A few weeks ago, a friend told me how she and her friends were in Nogales doing volunteer work on the UA’s behalf and returned to their van to head home to find themselves in the middle of a firefight with a dead body next to their UA van. The State Department doesn’t not want people going to Mexico because they don’t want people getting really drunk for really cheap; They don’t want people going to Mexico because of the violence and civil unrest going on. The same travel advisories are put out for any country experiencing civil unrest (Thailand last winter, etc.). Mr. Davis can go right along to Mexico and drink his break away. Nobody is stopping him. (Let’s face it, who is getting an education for one week in Mexico during spring break?) But that is on him, and should he run into trouble, that’s his problem. The Dean of Students’ Office is only trying to protect students from being in harm’s way.

    Clayton Chu

    aerospace engineering senior

    Mind behind front-page sign registers displeasure

    I am writing in complaint about the caption underneath your front-page picture. By not featuring the name of said “”Creative Sign Writer”” and instead labeling him as “”an Arizona basketball fan”” you have made it impossible for any job offers to contact me regarding my clever sign. I would appreciate if you would print a retraction and list my correct name and resume so that any interested employers may be able to contact and hire me. Attached is my resume for you to print in tomorrow’s paper.

    Ross ‘Arizona basketball fan’ Bercun

    media arts senior

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