EDITORIAL: Choosing the old gen. ed. requirements is choosing to be ignored

Rachel Hoerman

This past summer, I spent my time in search of one of the most elusive things on the Lawrence campus. And although political activism, an organized library that actually adheres to the alphabetical order of the alphabet, or a quiet place to study in anticipation of Celebrate!, when a bandstand is constructed in front of the library doors, forcing would-be students to relocate to a place where the vocals of “Blessed Union of Souls” won’t be assaulting their ears, are all very good guesses, my pursuit this summer involved something much more mundane: a 2000-2001 course description book. Last year, the student body was presented with a choice: continue in the vein of the old general education requirements, or adhere to the new requirements set forth by the University. Those of us, myself included, who chose to remain with the old requirements were told that course catalogs would contain the information necessary to both of the Gen. Ed. Requirement systems.

What the administration failed to mention, however, was that all other helpful, useful, and pertinent information concerning the old requirements would be highly inaccessible, virtually obsolete on the University’s web page, and unless you hang on to old course description books for the sake of nostalgia, difficult to find. We also were not told that many of our classes, which we would be taking to fit the old gen. ed.’s, were revised and altered to fit the new.

For students like myself, who look forward to three more years at Lawrence in fulfillment of our self-proclaimed preference of the old requirements, there are several issues to be had with this.

First of all, over half of the students currently enrolled at Lawrence still adhere to the old requirements. By making those requirements difficult to find, by making them unavailable alongside the new on the web page, Lawrence is neglecting the needs and expressed desires of a large portion of its student body.

Secondly, there are many students, myself included, who have taken classes in their desired area of study only to realize those class materials have been added to or manipulated in some way to fulfill a new requirement. While all this is fine and good for freshmen who had no choice in their general education requirements, for those of us who did, it is unfair and unnecessary. I’d like to know what course material, which helped fulfill the old requirements, was cut out to make room for the new.

I’d like to know why I am currently enrolled in two classes that fill the new quantitative analysis requirement, which means that half the class is dedicated to a basic requirement which, although wonderful and interesting in its own right, still remains a requirement I do not need. And I’d also like to know just how much of a real choice I was offered last year, when I plainly expressed my desire to stay with the old requirements, when, this year, I am faced with a range of classes and subjects that have been cut and tailored to fit the new.

My advice to the disgruntled faction of the student body still subscribing to the old requirements? Grab a 2000-2001 course book, laminate the pages as a reminder of what might have been, then sit back, relax, and prepare to be simply and largely ignored.

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