Posted by: Steph | March 9, 2007

Allen (part-time)

Someone told Allen Benjamin to talk to me because I was talking to all of the candidates but didn’t tell him why. So he was not warned of my habit of being a bit blunt at times. That said – he did pretty good job of answering my questions – and obviously he’s hooked-in to have heard about the blog.

So what can I share with you? I think he’s sincere and willing to make an effort. His agenda (as befitting to the position he is running for) centers around the part-timers and their unique needs. Many of the part timers feel that they are not able to fully participate and have access to all of the Schulich resources. As a part timer he has felt disconnected and this is why he chose to run. A few things of note are that he feels that the pub nights are “not appealing” to many of the more mature part-timers and maybe there need to be other activities. I asked him what he could add to the GBC beyond being a strong voice for the part-timers and he said that he was “a mirror image” – what gets thrown at him he brings back. In retrospect I’m not sure what that really means. I’ll admit – it’s harder to get a feel for someone over the phone.

These part time student alienation issues are not new to the school – as the program offers more and more flexibility this is going to continue to be a problem. If a student has a very demanding job he or she is simply not going to be very flexible.

Off topic here – Even though this is usually whispered – the full timers often feel that the part-timers just come and go, and get whatever they want – especially since the majority of electives are evening classes. Is this a fair assumption? Probably not. I know that some the part timers think that the full timers are a bunch of kids – again – not fair. I think that the divide is because the part timers feel that they should have access to everything, and the full timers don’t feel that they should be inconvinienced because of people who aren’t putting in 100% of their time. Let’s all admit that these things are being said – this might lead to more useful dialogue.

My opinion is as follows: I think that both the full time and part time programs have good people who put things into the program, and useless people. Oh yes, and some amazing people who just don’t put school high on their social priority list (which is absolutely allowed – even though it is a shame). There are people I want to see more of in full time, and in part time. The part timers deserve to be given options whenever possible, and the full timers deserve to be listened to as well. How middle of the road of me – I realize how dull that is. I suppose that the answer is in the details because there is no black and white.

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