In an unprecedented move, the student body government is passing a petition around campus asking for the cancellation of all finals this semester. “To fritter away so much time on standardized testing,” the petition reads, “is to degrade and demean the immense creativity and passion that learning should entail.”
Those backing the petition admit that even if the entire student body were to sign it, the request will probably be no more than a publicity stunt. In fact, a large number of graduating seniors have offered violent opposition to the measure, pointing out that it will cheapen their degree if Mines is made any easier than it already is. Another segment of the student body opposes the measure because they fear it will make classes harder rather than easier, since rote memorization will no longer count for a fifth or more of the class grade.
Faculty members are almost universally opposed. “The system’s not perfect,” said thermo teacher Tara Perry, “I’ll admit that. But you have to balance benchmarking ability with instructor availability. Are there more accurate, nuanced, lower-stressed ways of checking student performance? Now, how time-consuming are they to implement? I mean, I would personally be delighted if each of my students could spend fifty or so years learning wisdom from an old guy who lives in a cave in the mountains, but these kids have to get on with their lives.”
Oddly enough, there are rumors that it is exactly such advice-givers who initially pushed the measure. “Do you think these students could come up with such a brilliant plan themselves?” said a man who asked to be identified only as Old Man, “No, because they are too weak and they smell like flowers and rainbows.” Added another mountain dweller, Urthemiel, “So what if they spend fifty years learning wisdom with me, eh? Actually, they probably wouldn’t because, uh, my minions all want to kill them and have poisonous blood that causes people to either die screaming in agony or else start having vivid nightmares about me until they die in agony a few decades later. But thirty years. Yeah. What’s thirty years, give or take? Besides, I have some really good opportunities for women, way more secure than those engineering jobs.”
Students signing the petition do not seem to be bothered that their signature could be prompted by sinister magical forces. “Not having finals would be cool,” said freshman Cory Cailan, “and I mean, it’s a long shot, but think how awesome it would be if this petition worked! People would talk about us for years to come!”
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