By ERIC WADE
As a Washtenaw Community College student and a taxpayer who has paid for much of my tuition out of pocket, I can’t help but to be a little upset by the recently published letters to the editors about the Student Opinion Questionnaires.
I first must dispute the idea that students are not the costumers.
A customer is someone who trades currency for goods or service. My education is a service that I pay for. When I pay my tuition, I am the customer. When other students pay back their student loans, as many of the educators at WCC once had, they most certainly are the customers.
As a Washtenaw County resident, I see myself as an investor. My tax dollars are an investment to my community, not a transaction of currency for goods or service.
When I pay my taxes, I expect that the money is used for upkeep and as an investment in my community, and that is how I feel about WCC as an institution. By my money going to the college, I hope that more people recognize Washtenaw County as a place they want to live, which improves my property value, much the same as good roads, parks and primary schools would do.
As a taxpayer, I care little about the individual student, but care about the overall performance of the college – over which residents vote in trustees to manage.
As a student, it is absolutely essential that students have access to SOQs to make sure they get the best for their tuition dollar. But there is no reason SOQs shouldn’t be made public for taxpayers as well, since it is their dollars being invested in this institution.
A little bit of transparency might go a long way in keeping the faith in our elected trustees, for if they are battling so hard to keep the SOQs concealed then there must be something to hide. And if there is something to hide, then at the next trustee election the voters might decide they want a more transparent trustee.
In one of the letters to the editor, instructor David Horowitz wrote that students’ names and grades should be included with the SOQs. He states that this would help to insure accuracy in the evaluation. I don’t agree.
Adding the students’ name to an SOQ would make them fear repercussions for a poor evaluation of an instructor, leading to inaccuracies in the evaluation.
Secondly, there is no correlation between publishing a student’s grades and the accuracy in a student’s evaluation of faculty. What would this mean anyway? If students gets great grades then they are more trustworthy.
Trustworthy: That would be the source if students had access to the SOQs to decide their next instructors. Not RateMyProfssor.com
Faculty union President Jennifer Baker was quoted as saying that students should go to RateMyProfessor to get information on instructors. But anyone, whether they have set foot in a classroom or not, can create an unverified profile and rate any professor as many times as they like.