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EXCITABLE BOY: Survey Says!

Quick! Answer this survey question: what do you hate most about Boston University? If you said, “The Jews,” well, buddy, you are a prejudiced jackass. But if you said John Silber, then you answered correct, or at least as far as I’m concerned, you’re correct.

Okay, question two: as an alumni (assuming you actually graduate), do you plan to contribute to Boston University (i.e. cough up big bucks)? There are two appropriate responses to this question. The first involves rolling on the floor, laughing hysterically and screaming, “Yeah right, because I’ll have so much money left over after I pay off $30,000 in loans.” The second response involves shaking your fist, cursing emphatically and shouting, “What do you want from me, you bastards! My blood?” There is a third response that contains a nude clown, a pie and some uncomfortable dialogue, but I won’t get into that one.

If these questions look familiar to you, then you’ve filled out the recent online survey BU is taking in order to gain a better perspective on the student experience. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you probably don’t check your email or delete anything that doesn’t contain “barely legal” in the subject line.

While this survey is long overdue (they haven’t done one since ’96), it is refreshing to think that the University might actually give a damn about the people that pay to go here. I had long ago given up hope that the administration would even bother to ask, “How’s it going, Tyler? Do you like it here at BU? Aw, don’t cry. It’s not that bad.” I have my doubts about whether or not this survey will do any good, but it seems to be a step in the right direction.

Since this survey is longer than the SATs, and I’m probably the only idiot with enough time on his hands to fill out the entire thing, I will gloss over some of he questions so that you can get a sense of what BU wants to know.

The first section is titled “Information About You.” This section contains just a few short questions about switching majors, why you decided to come here, what types of venereal diseases you have — pretty standard stuff really. They actually know most of this information already. It’s primarily to see if you’re lying on the rest of the survey.

Section two is “Boston University in General.” There are pretty important questions in this one, and if you haven’t yet filled this out, do it soon and express your discontent. The main question I’m talking about is “Concern for students by administration.” I firmly believe Silber could care less about me or anyone I know, and I would have to say the same about the rest of the higher-ups.

Now, this obviously doesn’t go for every single person in administration, but after four years, I’m left with the impression that all the administration cares about is building and expanding the University in order to make more money, rather than focusing on the problems that exist now.

What do we complain about? Several of the school buildings need repair. Warren Towers sucks. The guest policy is unfair. Fox canceled “Family Guy.” But the administration just goes on ignoring us. Sure, the Student Village is nice and a new athletic center would be great, but the College of Fine Arts kids are forced to use practice rooms where sewage occasionally spews forth from the walls and coats the floors (this really happened). That ain’t right.

I guess as long as we’re paying our bills, what the hell do they care? Which leads me to the next survey question, “How do you rate the efficiency of the billing process?” Man, I was crying from laughing so hard about this one. It really does sound like a joke. Who out there is going, “You know, I haven’t gotten a bill in ages. It seems BU isn’t that concerned about getting their money. Oh well, looks like another free semester for me!” For those of you who have never missed a bill payment, when you do, Nazis storm into your room and steal all your belongings, only after killing your roommate and removing all of your teeth with a pair of pliers. I’d say that’s pretty damn efficient.

The fourth and last section of the survey deals with advising, and proposes some fairly general questions. A few of them amused me, such as, “Does your advisor help you deal with personal problems?” Now, how personal are they talking here? Is this like a, “I don’t have friends,” personal, or a, “Which brand of rubbers would you use,” personal? Because as much as I like my advisor, I just don’t see myself going to him for that kind of advice. “Hey prof, what would you say is the best way to turn a woman on in bed?”

If you have an hour to blow and want to spend that time doing something at least remotely useful, then I encourage you to fill out this survey. Chances are it’s just some ruse to make us think BU cares, but supposing they actually do look at the answers, maybe a few things will change around here.

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