Tag Archives: Editorial

The Linfield experience requires four years

Nowadays, the continually increasing tuition rates coupled with prolonged economic downturn signal the need for change in higher education. As college degrees become more essential for employment, maximizing cost efficiency is key.
According to “In praise of the three-year degree,” an opinion story by Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, published in the Oct. 26 edition of Newsweek, some U.S. colleges and universities are experimenting with three-year degrees in response to these economic hardships. However, in terms of a complete college experience, especially at Linfield, the cost outweighs the benefit of a faster education turnaround.
True, the numbers surrounding this change are enticing, especially considering the shadow of student loan repayments that follows many students after graduation.
Alexander cites a statistic that shows that consolidating an undergraduate degree into six semesters reduces college costs by 25 percent.
Applied to Linfield’s current $14,380-a-semester rate — excluding room, board, etc. — the savings would be substantial.
These numbers, however, seem different when considered in context.
College is not just an academic experience. Skimming a year off a student’s academic calendar means, as Alexander points out, less of a chance to become involved in extracurricular activities, less time to participate in sports and less time to mature as a person.
It’s obvious that a lot of personal growth, academic and otherwise, occurs between the ages of 18 and 21. If the goal of college education is to produce well-rounded individuals who are ready to live successful and responsible adult lives, the difference of a year is a significant one.
Here at Linfield, we are practically forced to become involved in activities outside of the classroom. The college’s mission statement expresses a goal of creating global citizens. Much of the learning entailed must occur outside of the textbook: Students need time before they can be expected to operate in the real world.
No matter how thick the Linfield bubble is, its four-year plan is the most feasible option for reaching this benchmark.
Even if Linfield decided to make the change to three-year degrees, the transition would be a difficult one.
A three-year program presents some concerns in terms of academic preparedness. Students would be hard-pressed to squeeze in major and minor requirements along with the Linfield Curriculum into three years, even with Advanced Placement credits.
Of course, the transition wouldn’t be immediate. Other countries’ universities operate almost entirely on this three-year system with positive results, but the United States is not like other countries, and Linfield is a liberal arts institution.
With a three-year degree, there is no room to explore.
This is not to say that American colleges and universities, and even Linfield, shouldn’t make an effort to adapt to a changing world.
As Alexander writes, “Campus schedules haven’t changed since before the American Revolution, when more people were farmers and put their books away to work during the summer.”
It’s obvious that something needs to change, but for now, the three-year degree solution isn’t for Linfield.

-The Review Editorial Board

ASLC Notes: What do you think?

Truthfully, how many of you read the ASLC Notes, the weekly column that runs to the right of this editorial?
In an effort to streamline the Review and alleviate layout congestion on page two, we have decided the ASLC Notes could potentially be cut or at least moved to a different page.
We would not be making this decision lightly. Students may not notice, but page two has become cramped, resulting in a not-so-clean layout. At the same time, written-content length is being reduced in an effort to conform to this available space.
We admit this was caused, in part, by our recent decision to reduce the newspaper from 16 pages to 12. That was a difficult decision, but we feel we made the right choice. Now, other changes are sure to follow. Case in point: the decision to remove or transfer ASLC Notes from page two.
The ASLC Notes were first printed Sept. 8, 1995, under heavy pressure from then-ASLC President Devon Frenchko.
Frenchko was what you could call “politically inclined” and generally believed that the Review was his personal newspaper. He saw fit to throw his opinion into the mix. Then-editor in chief Jennifer Jones refused to allow it — a decision we wholeheartedly agree with. No government has the right to demand that newspapers reflect its opinion.
Jones and Frenchko instead reached a compromise of sorts: Frenchko could have space on one of the opinion pages (away from the news pages), but ASLC would have to purchase it. Hello, ASLC Notes.
However, in reviewing the first ASLC Notes, it is obvious that the notes were far different from what they are today. The notes detailed actual ASLC happenings, within Senate and within Cabinet, not just what the Linfield Activities Board was sponsoring that week.
In the original ASLC Notes, Frenchko said that he wanted to keep students aware of what was going on with ASLC Cabinet.
“We are your representatives, and we are accountable to you, so I will use this as a way to report to you and field ideas back to us,” he wrote.
The ASLC Notes of today hold no such standing. It serves as advertising for ASLC, which has no place on the op-ed page. As ASLC pays for this space, we believe the notes should run as an advertisement inside the paper. Paid space of any kind has no place on the editorial page of any newspaper.
But, more importantly, what do you, the students, think? Do you read it? Let us know by writing a letter, sending an e-mail or leaving a comment on the Web site.

-The Review Editorial Board

Don’t judge a book by its prize

Along with its many other useful — and not so useful — functions, Facebook is nothing if not an accurate tap on student life. Whether it’s regarding the latest campus debauchery or last night’s episode of “The Office,” the tones of status updates usually correctly measure the pulse of opinions on these issues.
The same is true for national events.
True to form, when it was announced that President Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 9, Linfield students were quick to chime in on the matter via online posts
Their reactions more or less reflect that of the larger U.S. society and demonstrate yet again how polarized politics in this country have become.
According to a story on the CNN Web site, Obama’s supporters see the award as well deserved; his critics, however, say he has done nothing to earn the title and that it represents his skewed popularity abroad. The prize, after all, is awarded by a Swedish foundation.
Similarly, some Linfield students praised Obama for the accomplishment. Others complained that the Nobel Committee has forgotten its standards and begun to just hand out its awards. Others pointed out that nominations for the prize were due just 10 days after Obama was inaugurated. All were, pleasantly or not, surprised.
This award has indeed seemed to fuel the fire for those who believe Obama is under-qualified for the position of president at all.
One fact unites this variety of viewpoints: Obama has a long way to go.
In fact, he has the majority of his term to prove himself, and this is his stated intent.
As Americans, we should step back and see if this “call to action” is truly answered before we write off his deservingness.
After all, the change he promised in his campaign was never portrayed as a quick fix. His long-term goals can’t be forgotten.
The Nobel Committee cited its decision as one based on Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
Even though his name was considered long before his policies regarding Afghanistan, North Korea and Cuba were officially announced, isn’t diplomacy at the center of these foreign policy decisions?
The effectiveness of these policies is yet to be seen, but the effort is there, and it is on this effort that Obama was judged.
In the words of an Arizona State University representative, spoken after the school refused to award Obama an honorary degree after he delivered its commencement address last spring, “The body of his work is yet to come.”
Was the honor premature? Maybe. It’s too soon to tell.
From here, Obama has a long road to travel. As students, and by extension informed citizens, we need to clear the path before we pass judgment on the committee’s decision.

-The Review Editorial Board

‘Don’t we have a right to know?’

For students to simply be unaware of something is one thing. It’s another matter when important information is withheld, willfully or otherwise, from students.
This editorial was written in response to the utter lack of communication from the Linfield administration to its student body about several reported cases of alleged H1N1 on campus. (Testing has only verified that those infected have a subtype of Influenza A but not the particular strain of the illness.)
The Review would not have known about the cases reported in the “Enter at your own risk: H1N1 hits campus” story last week, except that some students who contacted the newspaper personally knew others who were infected.
The administration has not kept quiet across campus, however. It’s quite the contrary. The Review obtained a Sept. 30 e-mail addressed to all McMinnville and Portland campus faculty and employees (notice the exclusion of students) from Linda Powell, senior director of human resources and administration. We were never e-mailed directly.
The point is that, while Powell’s e-mail revealed nothing more than what last week’s Review story already mentioned (there are no plans for “Resident Evil”-style mass quarantines), it would have been nice to have received that information from the source and not secondhand.
To top this off, parents of healthy students have yet to become informed of these infected students. When we asked the Review staff members if their parents had been informed by the administration that H1N1 was on campus before they read the Review last week, no one answered “yes.” As far as we know, the administration still hasn’t mentioned anything to healthy students or their parents.
The only people told were faculty, staff and residents of the infected residence halls.
But what about the other students? Don’t we have a right to know?
Despite all of that, Jeff Mackay, director of housing and associate dean of students, was more than willing to talk to the Review about H1N1. We find this peculiar. Why couldn’t the administration be as forward as Mackay from the beginning? Trust us, most students were aware of the virus.
Mentioning the bare minimum just enhances this Linfield “conspiracy theory” and leaves rumors to dictate the truth.
We’re always up for getting the scoop, but not so much in this case. Such a significant fact should have been shared with students the minute it became available. To withhold information because it might be damaging to the college is irresponsible and selfish. In the end, hiding the truth may cause more harm than good.
So here’s a news fact: H1N1 is everywhere. We know it; you know it; everyone knows it. It’s called a pandemic for a reason. So isn’t it about time we got that e-mail?

-The Review Editorial Board

Linfield turns a new leaf

This editorial is about the Observatory.
Wait! Don’t stop reading, not just yet anyway.
Not to beat a dead horse, but for Linfield students, especially upperclassmen, its closing is a problem. It’s more than just a matter of convenience; it’s a matter of nostalgia. For the Review, the Observatory was one of those quirks that made Linfield Linfield. What’s next to go?
For the class of 2013, the freshman experience is a different one than it was for this year’s seniors. It’s one without the Ob, Linda or the Old Oak. The Whites, the Greens and the Reds have been renamed. Next year’s orientation will go without a speech from Dean Hansen. Even Dillin’s Mexican food has changed.
What will define Linfield for this year’s freshmen?
The landscape of the college is evolving, as is inevitable. But there’s something to be said for tradition, which trumps cost efficiency in the case of the Observatory.
For many students, these institutions are what made Linfield stand out from the beginning. Sappy as it is, these endearing qualities have helped class after class of Wildcats make a home away from home. Now that these college symbols are defunct, how will we define ourselves?
Right now, losing the Observatory just puts us one step closer to generic.
In the future, people will look back at past issues of the Review and wonder why we were ever so up in arms about petty changes. Maybe we haven’t been at Linfield long enough for these alterations to be trivial. Maybe we’re too resistant to change (some of us are still upset about losing the wrap stand in Dillin in 2006), but for a lot of us, our personal lives change enough as it is.
Every year ASLC sponsors new dances, contests and celebrations, each with the potential to be held annually. Few, however, become tradition. We’re all for this. More should be done to bring the student community together.
However, we’re so concerned with starting new traditions that we fail to pay attention to the ones we already have.
Perhaps the point we are trying to make is that Linfield is on the edge of something new; maybe it’s too soon to tell.
It’s just something to think about.

-The Review Editorial Board