Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Students' right to know

Kurt Schmidt recently responded to my remarks to him, posted under the title of "Kurt Schmidt: Why are liberal arts classes being cut?" on the North Hall Society blog (Sept. 5, 2005). He said that after doing an article for the next issue of the Lenoir-Rhynean on the cancellation of classes, he was planning to talk at length with Dr. Sorenson about how much of the information about core revisions he would like released to the students and when. As you know, he said, this is not a simple issue, requiring a great deal of time and research.

I appreciated what he wrote, but had some misgivings as to the possibility of his having a heavy-handed kibosh put on his investigations for the Lenoir-Rhynean. I replied to his remarks by saying I'd be glad to help in whatever way I can. Then I offered the following comments.

Do keep in mind, I said, that students have a right to information purtaining to their education. Things like honesty in advertising apply to academic institutions too. LR claims to be a "liberal arts" institution. If the proposed curriculum entails cutting a number of majors from the LR program, this information should be openly stated. If current core requirements in the liberal arts are being trashed and replaced by a single 8 hr. smorgasboard puff course so that no student will be required to have more than a superficial dabbling in the liberal arts, this should be openly stated.

If you find yourself being stonewalled, it may be that there are parties who do not wish the facts to get out too early, for fear they could create a groundswell of opposition among students and their parents who could well feel betrayed by such a move. I would not want to see you manipulated. Students have influence, and should have the information needed to form their opinions and make their voices heard. Graduating classes often make a gift to the school -- usually some sort of physical gift. The senior class now has an unprecedented opportunity of making a far more significant gift to the school -- the gift of preserving its bona fide status as a liberal arts institution with liberal arts majors. Think about it.


Anonymous Fagan said...

Is this a truly a matter of money or is it more laziness on the part of LR High Priest Wayne?

September 13, 2005 at 11:37 AM  
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