The Hate Feature
It’s the last issue of the year. Some of us are graduating, and most of us are leaving the paper. So it’s time to get this off our chest. This is everything we hate about this damned university.
THE U OF R
Over some end-of-semester beers, a prof of mine asked why I didn’t want to go to grad school here at the U of R. “The atmosphere is,” I said, then paused.
“Like high school,” he said.
Nailed it. Given the advertising and branding of the U of R, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just a place where UR Guaranteed an ill-defined but very positive-sounding future, as opposed to the academically robust institution disguised beneath the gross marketing veneer.
The schools at which I want to do my postgrad are not marketed as places to go to submit to the economy, but places where you go because you’re a smart person. Which is what university should be
After our beers, that same prof asked me to write a letter to Vianne Timmons, and tell her that I wasn’t taking my postgrad at the U of R.
I’m doing him one better. Vianne: you’ve got great faculty in almost every program who can help students achieve an awful lot. This February, I was the only undergraduate presenter at the Louisville Conference, an annual gathering of arts academics in Kentucky. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the extraordinary people in this school’s English department.
But I want to do my postgrad at a school that respects its faculty when they can do this, and I can tell by the slow attrition of the arts faculty that this isn’t the case here.
Market your faculties’ strengths, Vianne. Make the case for them. It’s your job, not theirs, to do so. Be their champion, so they don’t have to try and market themselves. Make people respect your academic programs outside of their values for corporate sponsorship and grants.
You’ve got a lot of smart people here, and failing to market how goddamn smart they are is failing them.
The U of R doesn’t have to be a commuter college. So stop giving people the impression that it is one.
If there is anything that irritates me about this university, it is the incredible and mind-bogglingly paradoxical apathy of the students. Issues that directly affect them, funding cuts, being shut out of Board of Governors meetings, students simply don’t care.
Other issues, such as the obvious racism evoke little more than a resigned “meh”. Meanwhile, issues that we have no direct influence over, such as situations in the Middle East, elicit outrage among students to such a ludicrous degree that weighty accusations of “anti-Semite” and “racist” get thrown around like they are meaningless terms commonly used to brand any person we disagree with. Frankly, many of the students here are incredibly self-involved and greedy, caring only about getting their piece of paper so they can get into some mindless job crunching numbers for a faceless corporation that will allow them to buy shitty cookie-cutter houses in Harbour Landing and raise two 2.5 snotty, self-absorbed children.
THE BUSINESSIFICATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF REGINA
One of the most pervasive ideas on campuses across the country these days is that a university should be a conduit for the economy.
News outlets left and right are questioning the practicality of liberal arts degrees, as if someone with a geography degree couldn’t learn how to work a spreadsheet. An arts graduate’s skills aren’t inherently narrow, so it’s hard to figure out what they can actually accomplish.
Regardless, this shift has led us to a dire place. The recent controversy surrounding the Aboriginal Studies class has only helped to highlight this problem.
A thorough university education that does what it’s supposed to do –teach students to think critically– shouldn’t be capable of giving someone a degree who is ignorant of their home’s colonial imperialist history.
Four years of university classes should have no room for racists to run through. Yet they do. And the liberal arts programs that would remedy this are running close enough to the bone these days that retirees in arts faculties aren’t actually replaced.
Some people might say that corporate funding could fix this. However, we shouldn’t have to court businesses to ensure that our universities can still produce an output of democratic citizens who have learned to think beyond corporate terms.
But the attitude persists. Our school has become a glorified training academy for businesses. I hate how corporations don’t train students to be white-collar workers, now that is the University’s job. I hate how every argument for the benefit of a liberal arts education has to be framed in terms of its value to a business community.
I hate it because the idea that a university should be a business has come into prevalence at the cost of our education.
And I hate that the U of R has become complacent.
THE RIDDELL CENTRE
There are a lot of buildings at the university that vie for the ugliest building on campus, but the sheer irony of having the Fine Arts department located in one of the most hideous buildings on campus makes the Riddell Centre number one on the list.
The university should have learned something from the failed architectural experiments of College West and Adhum. The outside is a bland, brown-coloured rectangular prism, with dark blue reflective glass tacked on in some sort of monstrous hybrid of modern architecture with recently quarried blocks of sandstone.
Inside, the design of the building is reminiscent of a small-town hockey rink, complete with gross rubber stairs that are never quite clean and rink-quality food. The building feels temporary and utilitarian, and does not reflect that level of quality that the Fine Arts department at this university produces.
THE FUCKING WI-FI
“Sorry, the page could not load because you are not connected to the Internet”.
Strange, in an institution designed to further one’s education, the wifi connection is garbage in every nook and cranny of this university. I know that there is a difference in difficulty, and costs, between setting up a decent wifi network at home compared to a university campus. With that said, a decent Internet connection should be necessary at a post-secondary institution where students often do research and need the Internet for their classes.
Why not turn down the thermostat a bit —I’m in a t-shirt and sweating as I’m writing this— and use the money for improving the atrocious wireless internet connection at this campus.
I hate how many students get away with cheating on this campus. This is supposed to be a place of higher learning. These aren't motherfucking third grade spelling tests here, these are legitimate exams in a sophisticated institution.
I have heard of people were blatantly talking and sharing papers in final exams. What is worse, is that nothing seemed to be done about it.
This needs to change. There are students failing exams in spite of all their hard work, and it is completely dishonorable for people to cheat their way to a passing grade.
I've actually had to call people out during exams for talking. I tried telling a professor about it when I handed in my exam, but I doubt that anything was done about it.
BEING AN EDUCATION STUDENT
The prestige of the University of Regina’s faculty of education attracts students from across the country. However, there are more than a few problems within our system.
First, the faculty accepts a huge number of new students each year, under the pretense that everyone will get a job. This is curious, because UR Guaranteed won’t take a risk on Education students.
Then, after two years of classes and paid tuition, the faculty begins to phase out the students who they think won’t make it. Why not do that before they throw you two years of cash?
Aside from that, the classes we are forced to take could be considered a farce. Professors have laughed at their students responses, and told them they can’t voice their opinions about the system, calling it “unethical” to do so.
Finally, education students don’t get any help from the University or it’s federated colleges, making Teacher Ed even more inaccessible.
GADGETS IN THE LAB CAFE
There are a lot of fees students pay in addition to tuition every semester, and quite frankly, paying fees for stuff we’ll never use sucks.
However, a lot of these fees are seriously beneficial to other groups on campus, so if you want to complain about that you should probably suck it up and remember that you’re not the only one trying to get an education here.
But here is something thing that you should be pissed about discovering: the Lab Cafe renovations. Sure, it looks a lot prettier there than it did before, but televisions and Nintendo Wiis? What in all fucks is that for? I have never seen them used, ever.
People don’t pay two-thousand dollars a semester to play Mario Kart. If the university wants to facilitate people enjoying themselves, give them reasonable spaces to gather together, give them functioning internet, give them cheaper tuition. Don’t give them fucking Wiis and new TVs.
Parking is an issue on this campus. And students, in their typical slacktivist fashion, only want to fix this issue with the bare amount of effort.
How do you fix parking? You tell the administration you want a parkade. Never mind that the parkade will probably have a high fee, or that it just contributes to an unsustainable growth model where the university will monopolize all of its land for cars, and not have any room left for students. We can’t just pave our problems away.
If you want to make an investment, invest in solutions that make transportation to campus more sustainable and accessible. Plans for better bike routes, a better transit system, or a campus carpool system. Anything but more parking lots.
Put your own personal comfort on hold for one second. Understand that if you want students to come to this campus, you’re going to need to figure out a way for those students who can’t afford to drive their car everyday to get here.
If there is one thing that boggles my mind it is the apparent fact that Tim Horton’s stops selling bagels at 2:30 in the afternoon. Seriously, do they think we just suddenly stop craving bagels at 2:30? We don’t! We still want our Goddamn bagel and not getting one is one of the most irritating parts of my day.
It’s also super annoying when you are in a rush and you have to run to Tim’s, and then discover that the line is roughly one mile long. Even when you make it to the line before 2:30, by the time you get to the front, it is probably well after the cut off mark for bagels.
This leaves you empty handed, annoyed, hungry, and knowing full well that those tasty bagels are just sitting there waiting to be eaten, and you can’t have one.
Seriously, whoever came up with this “No bagels past 2:30” rule deserves to be punched square in the face with no repercussions for the hungry customer that delivered the shot.
Students on this campus are apathetic. I don’t think I’ll be the first (or the last) one to say this in this feature. And I think, to a large part, a good majority of students are starting to recognize this. As a result, students are now starting to care about campus issues, but they’re caring about them in entirely the wrong manner. There are petitions, causes, and rallies happening all over. While some might claim that this is a sign of an active campus, it’s really just a sign of a campus trying to cover up that they don’t give a shit, but don’t want anyone to know. You all know that most of the students who participate in this kind of activism go home at night and don’t give the matter a second thought. You want to affect change? Go out there and teach students about the issues and give them the forum to talk about it; don’t just rally them behind your talking points.
DISRUPTIVE ASSHOLES IN THE RIC
I have a message to people who hang out in the Research and Innovation Centre: shut up.
The RIC building used to have tons of great study space, and those of us who needed a quiet study space could have one. Now, somehow, masses of people on their coffee breaks, and tons of study groups —who simply text and laugh constantly—, have worked their way into the RIC and ruined what used to be a great place to study.
You know why all of the remaining good study locations have signs reading “Staff only. Grad Students only?” Because, thanks to your disruptive behaviour, the Grad and Research studies people hate you, and I do too. Assholes.
THE CLASSROOM BUILDING STAIRS
Like many students on this campus, I could bitch about something like BYOB, but there is something else out there that has caught my attention; the stairs leading to the forth floor of the classroom building.
If I could say one thing to those stairs it would be “fuck you!”
Walking those stairs makes me feel like I've run a marathon and I dont know why. I'm always out of breath, but I'm not out of shape. I play sports, and I’m very active, but yet climbing that stairwell makes me feel like all I do is watch TV and eat Cheetos. I can’t explain why —slightly too much incline?— but every time I go to English class, I have to pretend that I’m not out of breath so people don’t think that I’m out of shape. Fuck those stairs.
THE UNIVERSITY ISN'T GREEN
The U of R’s green projects are far from satisfactory. With vauge carbon-capture programs, a poorly organized recycling program, and massive amounts of water and energy waste, we are a long way from being a “green” university.
If the university wants a truly green and sustainable campus, it needs to do more than just talk-the-talk. Recycling and composting programs could be expanded and organized so that they are efficient and comprehensive. No more overflowing recycling bins, cut power use on campus at night, install low-flush toilets, and utilize motion sensor switches in residence areas such as the laundry rooms. Quit dragging your feet, killing the environment, and wasting our money to pay power and water bills that are much larger than they need to be.
PROFS' POOR PLANNING
It really grinds my gears when profs not only plan terribly, but assume that their class is the only class that you have and that you have no life outside of their class.
For instance, this includes scheduling assignments and midterms to be due the first day back after a break. That’s just cruel and unusual punishment and is surely illegal somewhere. Do they really think that we want to spend the whole time working on some stupid assignment or studying for some midterm during the break? No, we want to be getting belligerently drunk every minute of every day and they are making that nearly impossible.
It also really annoys me when the prof says, “Just work on it a week ahead and then you won’t have to do it over the break.” Yeah, because I don’t procrastinate horribly or have any other classes to worry about never mind a job and a social life, you idiot.
CREATING A THEATRE DEPARTMENT STUDENT FEE
You think it’s bullshit that the theatre department is going to start charging for shows? “Well, gosh, I’m going to sign your petition to have a fee instated.”
Students aren’t getting involved; they’re putting their name down, and then going about their day. Signing a petition doesn’t make you “active” and “affecting real change,” hell, even doing the petition doesn’t do that. You want the theatre department to have proper funding? Talk to the powers that be and get them to change it. Don’t just give into their structures by instituting another student fee for something that we should be paying for already.
Instituting a 25 cent fee is a band-aid fix. Look at the numbers: if department budgets keep decreasing at the rate they are, they’ll be gone in the next 10 years. If you want productions to stay free and the quality of education to increase, you have to do a whole lot more than just institute another fee structure.