GC’s improved standards benefit U

To be more selective, the General College has decreased enrollment.

Of the colleges on campus, none summons as much emotion and embroiled defense than the General College.

When former University President Nils Hasselmo proposed closing the General College in 1996 he was unfairly lambasted as a racist. When former Gov. Jesse Ventura asked the University to reconsider funding the General College, he too was unfairly lambasted as a racist and elitist. Indeed, the college’s defenders are fierce, but the college’s recent actions justify its existence.

Various arguments have been made against the General College. In the past, low retention rates plagued it. Academic scandals over the years implied the General College was an academic sanctuary for athletes. Some feared the General College was used to house minority students to give the University the appearance of a diverse campus at the expense of those students. Courses have been derided as “remedial.” Many of those arguments were fueled by low graduation rates. But the General College has acted and has seen steady improvement.

The General College does serve a noble purpose by helping under-prepared students in hopes they will eventually transfer to degree-granting programs. The General College admits students who might not have been accepted otherwise. However, that should not be the University’s duty, considering the abundance of community colleges in the Twin Cities and outlying areas.

To be more selective, the General College has decreased enrollment. In recent years students have been more qualified to move on and graduation rates have improved. It is perhaps unfair that the General College must continually justify its existence when its goals are different than other colleges’. By taking measures to improve the quality of education for General College students, it will go far toward quelling calls for its removal.