Arts grads vs. student loans, Tim Hudak & a porn accident

Five things students are talking about today (February 27th)

An arts major? Probably. (Ethan M. Long/Flickr)

1. Research from the University of Guelph has shown that university arts majors and those in similar college programs are generally slower to pay off student loans than business, health and engineering students, even when starting salaries are controlled for. Sociologist David Walters, one of the researchers behind the study, said it’s unclear why, though his theories include “lack of numeracy” and less “life-planning skills” among arts types. I’d lean toward the life-planning skills—they did choose arts degrees, after all. And considering how critical of capitalism the arts tend to be, they’re probably more resentful about having to pay them back and more likely to want to stick it to the man by paying as slowly as possible. It makes sense. In Quebec it’s arts students who encouraged everyone to skip school and demand free tuition. (Disclaimer: I have an arts degree.)

2. A Ryersonian editorial gives two thumbs up to Tim Hudak’s plan to invest more in degrees that lead to jobs. The Ontario Progressive Conservative leader’s Path to Prosperity White Paper suggests financial aid be based on students’ choices of programs. “Decisions about who should receive loans,” it reads, “should involve assessments of future employability and reward good academic behaviour.” Naturally this led to a backlash from those in fields where degrees don’t (directly) lead to jobs, including from Professor Pettigrew. The Ryersonian says agriculture, fashion, family studies, theatre, philosophy, anthropology, archeology and political science should get less money while science, technology, engineering and math should get more.

3. Stephen Toope, the president of the University of British Columbia, said in his annual interview with The Ubyssey that he “despises Twitter.” Here’s the quotation: “I despise Twitter, truthfully. I think it’s one of the worst things that’s been created in my lifetime… I think that the notion of the immediate reaction to something without any reflection, the idea that you can say anything that matters in the limited number of characters you’re given, and that you have to do it immediately, and everyone will respond immediately with no reflection.” Andrew Bates writes on the Ubyssey Social Club blog that while Twitter can be scary, he’s sick of people complaining that the 140-character limit makes us dumb. I’d address that argument, but I no longer have the attention span.

4. A Belgian guest lecturer, who was fired from a Netherlands university for playing a pornographic video on his laptop after class finished, told De Morgen newspaper that it was an accident which happened because he wasn’t used to working on laptops, reports The Huffington Post. The professor in question visited the site right after a lecture and didn’t realize he was still sharing it on the big screen. A screenshot by a student made its way to university officials who then canned him.

5. Here’s good news for literary types. Colleen Connolly writes in Wilfrid Laurier University’s The Cord that despite the decline of independent bookstores in the era of Amazon and Chapters, used book stores are still kicking. Michael Loubert of Old Goat Books in Waterloo told her that it doesn’t pay well, but provides him a lot of satisfaction. Loubert said older books sell because the experience can’t be replicated on an e-reader or tablet. Tom Konyndyk of White Rabbit Books in Georgetown, Ont. told her that there’s a large market for nostalgia books like those we read as children.

Sign in to comment.