Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Amnesty not a cure-all

For several semesters now, the Boston University Student Union has made implementing a medical amnesty policy a top priority, but it looks like all the talking, planning and petitioning may all be for naught. At the very least, the measure is certainly not ‘taking a very expedient, very fast route’ as Union President Matt Seidel said he believes.

Dean Elmore has had the amnesty proposal since Nov. 25 of last semester. If he felt that the initiative was really that urgent, it would’ve been acted upon by now, but apparently this is not the case. The reality is that even if BU adopts a form of medical amnesty, there will be no significant changes in alcohol policy, which supposedly has medical amnesty unofficially built-in. It’s true that the BU policy on alcohol is vague to begin with, but a medical amnesty policy is not going to change the fact that alcohol violations are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The administration should seriously consider revising its alcohol policy to make it more clear, but the Union needs to find another priority. Instead of focusing on the weekend activities of students, the Union should look toward what students are really here for: academics. The Union has been talking about improving academic advising for years, but the system will not be fixed anytime soon. The Union began this semester not yet knowing ‘what the problem is’ with the system, Seidel said.

In addition to the advising policy, more needs to be done to put the Source Guide website in operation, which was ‘not close to completion’ at the beginning of the semester, Director of Information Network Services Richard Mendez said. Students currently do not have enough access to information about the courses they are interested in taking for the next semester. A few sentences about a course is not sufficient for a student to make an informed decision regarding whether they should take a course. Posting syllabi and a detailed descriptions on the site are much better tools for students as opposed to relying on sites such as ratemyprofessor.com. Also, students would benefit greatly from the Union’s efforts to launch a BUCOP website that would make BU’s double major policy much less confusing.

The Union’s vision for a medical amnesty policy may be in jeopardy, but there is much work to be done in other areas of the university. Before the Union gets caught up in its annual elections, it must finally take care of what happens inside the classroom, rather than on the weekends.

One Comment

  1. The Boston University Student Union is in place to advocate for the students. This isn’t high school. It doesn’t take 10 minutes to get a meeting with an administrator and they’re not talking about planning a Halloween dance. This would be a major shift in policy at BU and therefor meetings between administrators are occurring. Meetings that FREEP reporters (along with students in general) aren’t allowed in.<p/>BU’s policies do not only affect us Monday-Friday, so why should Union initiatives only be relevant to our schooling. The point of a student advocacy group is to advocate for the students. When students came forward complaining about the increase in cost of the GSU food, the Union began looking into price changes along side inflation. That doesn’t have anything to do with academics, yet it is still important to students. <p/>True. Academic Advising withing SOME colleges at BU is poor. The Union is trying to push ahead of the individual departments by taking on some of the load. However, academic advising is not the responsibility of a student government organization. The services offered through the University administration can only be changed through the University administration and there is only so much the Union can do about that. <p/>The Academic Affairs Committee (within the Union) is working to bring about some of these changes and supplements to the advising system. As this article states, the primary concern of students should be their academics. These committees and the Union as a whole is made up of students spending their own time. Taking away from their studies and other activities to advocate for the rest of the student body. <p/>I’m tired of hearing about all of the negatives of the Union. If you feel as though you can do a better job than those who sacrifice their time, then show up at a meeting and do something. Don’t write an article complaining about how nothing gets done, and then do nothing yourself. Its the same argument as when someone doesn’t vote and then complains about the result of an election. Either stand up and do something, or sit down and mumble to yourself because we (the rest of the student body) don’t want to hear it.