St. Mary's College can't be compared to UM College Park

As a student at St. Mary's College of Maryland, I suspect a lot of us have a problem with Anne D. Neal's recent commentary about the school even though it's title was catchy and concise ("Cautionary campus tale," May 30).

It's true we've fallen on hard times; after all, in this hard economy fewer people want to learn the less profitable skills of writing, music or biology. It's interesting the article started with a quote by Charles Dickens and not his accountant.

Perhaps if Dickens had focused on more lucrative endeavors, such as criminology or economics, which are two of the most popular majors offered at the "flagship" University of Maryland College Park, he wouldn't have been such a miserable failure.

It seems that UM is held in high regard by Ms. Neal compared to our tiny school. Although both UM and St. Mary's are public universities, however, her article fails to observe some key differences. St. Mary's offers a private-university ratio of faculty to students of 1 to 12, whereas UM has massive class sizes.

At UM, 49 percent of classes have 20-49 students, and an additional 16.3 percent have more than 50 students. Ask a St. Mary's student if they've ever had a class with 50 students. Most St. Mary's classes have fewer than 20 students.

It's curious that Ms. Neal cites a study from her own council. Couldn't she couldn't find a different, obviously unbiased source to buttress her arguments? The fact that St. Mary's has some classes that may seem too narrowly focused is not a valid indictment of the institution as a whole.

Christopher Joyce

The writer is a member of St. Mary's College Class of 2014.

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