“Editorial: Two Immodest Proposals”
Law Street Journal Article (February 1990))
By Randol Schoenberg
Choosing courses is an iffy thing at best. There are a few important considerations such as bar courses, scheduling conflicts, draw time, final schedule, no Friday classes and last and least what you actually want to take. But perhaps the most important consideration is the professor. We all know that even the most exciting course can be made a bore by a bad professor and that the opposite is true as well. The professor determines the enjoyment of the course.
Unfortunately, we have little opportunity to evaluate the quality of professors before we enroll in their courses. Many people use the first few weeks of classes as a shopping period. They may end up with classes and professors they like, but they inevitably miss the introductory portions of some of their courses. Others who are unwilling to go through the hassle of changing schedules, stick it out in courses they dislike, often unaware that there are better alternatives.
An obvious solution to this problem is to make the objective portions of the course evaluations available to students. The faculty clearly would object to this system, fearing that certain professors’ feelings might be hurt if their low scores were made public but that isn’t the case for most undergraduate professors who not only face objective numerical evaluations but student-written course descriptions.
Students have a right to access information which they provide. By denying us the chance to use course evaluations in selecting our courses, the administration is obstructing an informed course selection process. Our educational experience undoubtedly suffers because of it.
Drab and dull describe the interior décor of the Law Center. The walls are white on white like a poor imitation of Kasimir Malevich. No self-respecting law firm would leave its halls as blank and unadorned as those in our law school. What we need is a little art to delight our senses and engage our minds as we walk the corridors and lounge in the wide open spaces of the new and improved law center, the cost of art these days! How does a small school struggling to make ends meet decorate? Certainly we can’t expect $57 million to be shelled out for a Van Gogh to be displayed in the Dean’s Office. What can a poor law school do to show its love and appreciation for the arts?
The answer lies in what we have to offer—lots and lots of blank and empty space. There must be hundreds of student artists at USC who would love to exhibit their paintings if only there were a place to hang them. Why not ask the Art Department to decorate some of our walls?
Each semester the students in the art department could set up an exhibit on the walls, and in the open spaces of the law center. Paintings or sculptures that are particularly good or well-received could be donated or loaned to the law school indefinitely. Over a period of years, the law school could establish quite a nice collection from USC student artists.