Letter To The Editor

Jake Tapley

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Dear Editor,

I’m a transfer student, and this is my first semester here at USI. I really can’t believe my good fortune in coming here. At my last college, we weren’t allowed to cite Wikipedia as a source in any of the papers or research we did. But here at USI, not only can I cite Wikipedia in my work, but I actually have an assignment to write an article for Wikipedia. I’ll be an author in a real encyclopedia. I’ll already have something impressive to add to my resume.

Never mind that all of my old instructors used to tell us students that, while Wikipedia might be useful to get an idea or two, it was pretty much unreliable because anyone from twelve-year-old kids to people with an axe to grind could contribute to its entries. A lot of the information wasn’t verified and misinformation was rampant on the site. It sort of boiled down to depending on people to tell the truth on the internet. My instructors assured me that relying on “if it’s on the internet, it must be true” was a recipe for disaster.

But now I can see that all of my previous instructors were wrong. Here at USI, I can cite Wikipedia. No less a person than the head of the journalism department says so, and you know how journalists are full of integrity and sticklers for the truth. All of their facts have to be verified nine ways to Sunday before they are considered reliable. So if Wikipedia is good enough for Dr. Tew, the Department of Communications, the College of Liberal Arts and USI, I know Wikipedia is good enough for me, too.

I’ve got a hot tip for the university that it can use in its recruiting materials. Just let any prospective students know that they won’t have to do any of that difficult research or analysis stuff in their classes. They can just use Wikipedia and take the no-hassle, easy way out. I heard USI is looking for ways to brand itself and differentiate this institution from its competitors. Why not use “USI: We’re the Wikipedia of Universities,” or maybe “Come to USI: Because It Doesn’t  Get Any Easier Than This,” or perhaps “USI: Wikipedia Cited Here” for our university’s new slogan? I can’t think of anything more different that USI does from other universities than this.

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