Sticking to their guns

No one can say the Student Association gives up easily, at least when it comes to getting teacher evaluations published.

However, a little better planning would have improved the SA’s chances of clinching its ultimate goal.

The SA has called for all students to boycott their teacher evaluations this semester. The crusade is an effort to get the University Council to include a second evaluation form that would go directly to the SA for campus-wide publication. The idea of a second form can only help the SA’s efforts and provide students with a more thorough evaluation on issues they find important.

If the SA does succeed, the evaluation system will not likely become a reality this semester, and whether it lays the groundwork for future semesters remains to be seen. However, it doesn’t look promising.

Let’s look at the steps the SA took from the beginning. Originally, SA President Abe Andrzejewski called for all teachers to release their evaluations to the SA on their own. This was a much better plan of attack than urging the university to deliver the evaluations, as was done in the past. But the prospects for the success of this plan becoming a reality also looked bleak from the beginning. The response from professors has proven this prediction.

Out of 343 letters sent out to teachers asking for permission to release their evaluations, only 27 responded and of those 27 only 19 agreed to release evaluations.

More faculty members should have at least responded to the SA’s call for action, whether with a nod of approval or disapproval. By not doing so, faculty only portrayed an attitude that the SA is insignificant, which then reflects a similar attitude toward the people represented by the SA—the students.

The faculty’s uncooperativeness spurred the SA’s most recent boycott attempt. The SA pounced the boycott on the administration very suddenly, but this briskness also left the SA with little time to inform students and publicize its plans. This also will be hampered by the fact that some teacher evaluations have already been completed. Let’s hope the boycott doesn’t come across as merely a childish tantrum to the administration, as it very well might.

Yet, considering the alternatives, one of which was to forget the whole issue, the SA has displayed endurance. The lateness of the boycott and constant student apathy that continuously shows its face at NIU brings two strikes against the SA already. Therefore, the boycott will probably not be very successful this semester.

Hopefully, the SA’s efforts will pay off in the future—as long as it doesn’t let sleeping dogs lie and forget the issue when it suffers setbacks this semester.