Students’ jaws should drop

The latest finding to somehow escape from the bulk of red tape called Lowden Hall claims NIU students do not want to graduate in four years. No, that’s not a typo.

This revelation of a recent survey done by the NIU assessment coordinator flies in the face of all previous thoughts about the American college experience. The results stated that the reason it takes more than four years to get a diploma “is result of personal options and not because of problems with course offerings.”

Does the NIU administration expect anyone to buy this absurdity? Until the last decade or so, completing undergraduate work in four years has been part and parcel of the American college experience. Budget cuts resulting in fewer classes and more graduation requirements have all but eliminated the four-year tradition.

Students should see the survey for the chicanery that it is. Only 79 out of a random sample of 300 of last year’s graduates returned responses. NIU issues about 3,750 bachelor’s degrees each year, so even if all 300 responded, this is still less than 10 percent of the pool. The survey “showed” that 46 percent of the plus-four graduates changed majors while only 25 percent said courses were unavailable.

The survey was a ploy by NIU President John La Tourette to prove the claim he made last semester, which was essentially the same as the survey’s results. Our jaws dropped back then, as the rest of the students’ jaws should be dropping now.