Another side of UM. This ties in with my earlier post on the importance of soft factors. It seems such soft factors are important not just to attract global talent but also for the morale of the students as well.
Friday September 12, 2008
Varsity hit by complacency
I AM a student currently residing in Universiti Malaysia and would like to share what I believe is in the heart of many UM students. When the results of the apex university were announced, most of us were not surprised that Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) had bettered UM.
We believe that UM is still resting on its old laurels of glory and therefore has become complacent, not wanting to improve or develop itself. Residential colleges and faculties are settling for second best in aspects like infrastructure, quality of academic staff, etc.
The motto “Producing leaders since 1905” only holds true because we were the only university around at that time.
Firstly, despite being in the heart of KL, water supply is still inconsistent. Residential colleges 3rd, 4th and 7th have been suffering from severe water cuts as pipe repairs have not been carried out effectively.
Despite the explanation by the administration that short-term and long-term measures are being taken to solve the problem, students are still forced to walk to the nearest faculty toilets to bathe. Water tankers that are supposed to deliver water to residential co lleges, ensuring a “steady water supply,” have just been empty promises.
After years of appealing and complaints, wireless internet access is still unavailable throughout campus. For example, the faculty of medicine and the clinical students hostel only has access at certain spots and interruptions occur so frequently that most students give up trying to access the Net.
Only 10% of the rooms in the hostel are able to access wireless network. Certain colleges even charge their students a fee to use the Internet, something that is readily available in fast-food outlets, Starbucks and even car service centres.
We feel that as a university, especially one that is the oldest in Malaysia, wireless internet access is a necessity. Besides that, handphone reception is also poor or even unavailable at certain spots in UM.
UM claims to be a “smoking-free” campus but smokers are seen throughout the campus, from medical students to security guards. How can we expect students to adhere to the rules if the enforcers themselves are breaking it?
I myself have seen smokers in Universiti Hospital. When this issue was brought up during a quality forum with the deputy vice chancellors, the reply we received was, “All we can do is make the rules, it is the smokers’ choice in the end.”
Isn’t this indirectly advocating smoking? What happened to the fine that is supposed to be imposed on smokers then?
Finally, UM lacks basic infrastructure such as covered walkways. Some students live a good half an hour’s walk from their faculty and the path they take has no covering at all.
Many either have to wait the rain out or brave it and end up being drenched for class.
Road signs are so small that visitors almost have to bring their cars to a complete stop to read them, causing a mini traffic jam.
There is so much more to be said but we as students suggest that the administration take time to consider these basic, fundamental pressing issues that are facing our campus. I would also like to suggest that more dialogues be held to enable students to be heard in UM. We, too, wish to see UM rise up again to be the best in this country.