To the editor:
Being Honors students at Geneseo, we can directly speak to the impact the changes addressed in the previous article will have upon the students. The Honors students sent a letter to the provost on Feb. 20 outlining our concerns with the proposed freshmen-sophomore ratio change.
We received a response on March 30, the day after the publication of the article that addressed the provost's disregard for our letter. The article quoted Provost Conway-Turner as saying, "It is important for every member of our community to have a voice." What is unfortunate, though, is that if one examines the situation, it is obvious that many voices were not heard. Arguably they were ignored because the agenda of the provost supersedes the quality of the Honors Program. We want to ensure that we are heard loud and clear.
The reasons we take issue with disproportionate freshmen-sophomore acceptance into the program are as follows:
1. High school measures of achievement vary according to district.
2. The best measure of success in the Honors Program, is evident from performance at this institution.
3. Direct interaction with faculty is essential in the selection process.
4. Students at Geneseo have the opportunity to be interviewed.
5. Entering as freshmen, students are unaware of the demands of classes and the expectations of professors.
6. A year of coursework at Geneseo prepares students for seminar-style classes.
7. Students are more likely to participate in an atmosphere with which they are familiar.
In her response, the provost simply defended her decision to expand the Honors Program, while ignoring our central concern.
Rather than providing meaningful input regarding the direction of the program, the Honors Committee has merely been used to implement the provost's predetermined decisions. As committee member Dr. Ronald Herzman conceded, "The Honors Program has always been a recruitment tool." We agree with Herzman, but is this the only purpose? The Honors Program seeks to enhance the critical thinking skills of its students through a curriculum that mimics the core. These courses demand active participation from their students. This experience is enriched by inclusion of students who have experienced the demands of college classes and have illustrated their desire to be involved through a personal interview.
We resent that the College expects less from its rising academics. If only 10 current students are worthy, compared to 30 students from anonymous high schools, then what does that suggest about the integrity of this institution?