Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 13, 2005
At Duke University, it's considered a rite of passage to camp in front of Cameron Indoor Stadium for days, sometimes weeks at a time to get men's basketball tickets and become one of the "Cameron Crazies." Here at the UA, students also have a rite of passage involving camping, though it has nothing to do with athletics.
The same die-hard determination exuded by Duke students in pursuit of a court date with Mike Krzyzewski was found in journalism seniors last week as they pursued another dream - graduation.
Huddled outside the Louise F. Marshall building beginning at 1 a.m., the students waited through the night so they could get top priority for seats in required courses.
The course needs of individual seniors varied, but dozens of students had to get into a single class that had been capped at 30 students. The stakes were high: Miss the campout, and it's likely seniors missed a May graduation date.
Forcing students to stake thousands of dollars on the hopes of being one of the first to camp out for a seat in a classroom is a slap in the face to the "excellence" the UA so loudly proclaims.
The department of journalism isn't to blame for the registration process because the department head and its lone adviser are trying to find solutions to a problem foisted on them by the administration. The department has grown tremendously in the past five years - enrollment hovers near 670 students - yet the administration has consistently and systematically cut the department's budget.
Across campus, other department heads face similar problems as they try to stretch every dollar to fit increasing enrollment in programs already strapped for cash but that are disproportionately growing because of their popularity among students.
To be sure, there are many complexities involved in enrollment, especially when it comes to prerequisite requirements and wait lists. However, it's ludicrous that students have to wait in line overnight for a shot at a class that may already be filled.
While there is little hope that money will be found to offer a seat for every student who needs it, administrators should focus on getting students out of the cold and into a classroom or an advising office.
Technology could be explored to extend an already impressive Student Link (allowing departments to tailor registration and advising to their particular needs), telephone appointments or computer signups could replace waiting in a physical line, and increased funds could ease the burden of advisers who have mind-numbing hordes of students thrown at them by administrators.
Change needs to happen now so more students aren't forced into another extra year of tuition. It's time to leave the campouts to the "Cameron Crazies;" as any UA senior will tell you, graduating on time is no sporting matter.
Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Lori Foley, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey, Mike Morefield and Tim Runestad.