SIUC is no longer a top-party school

Seetharaman Narayanan — this name won’t mean much to most people even if they could pronounce it correctly.  That is, unless you are like me and find yourself staring at the loading screen of Adobe Photoshop more than once a day.

He happens to be the lead engineer at the most popular image processing software in the world. And he is a graduate of SIU.

I commend the Daily Egyptian for reporting on the difficulty for international students to get visas to study in the U.S., an exhausting process  not many Americans are aware of. The work International Programs and Services continue to do for the international student community certainly deserves recognition. Carla Coppi, its director, has personally helped me keep my documents in check and its refreshing to know SIU is doing something right.

But why did Seetharaman, a 2009 Photoshop hall-of-fame inductee, decide to get a graduate degree in computer science at SIU?  The school was on the list of Playboy’s Top Party Schools in 1987.

It is no secret that, in the 25 years since, the SIU administration has tried to suppress this image of a party school. Chancellors upon chancellors have recognized the best way to increase enrollment is to build new buildings and have what can only be deemed as the worst athletics program money can buy. If meteoric rises in tuition and fees are icing on the cake given to incoming freshmen, then classrooms with outdated equipment and an under-stocked library are the cherries on top.

In my four years at SIU, I have seen my services cut and my teachers disregarded, all the while the number of administrators increase, especially in a certain building named after Susan B. Anthony that shall remain unnamed. But then again, the declining enrollment really may be a cyclical thing, based on 18-year-old birth rates.

Criticizing the university’s commitment to administrative excellence and academic mediocrity may seem fashionable these days, but that is not the trend I am trying to continue. Regardless of what my emails and letters say, SIU is no longer a top-party school. If anything, this has become a school of cover-ups and scandals.

Two and a half decades later, I honestly believe being named a top-party school is still the best thing to ever happen to the image of SIU, perhaps since the infamous “college” sweater. I am not the first to say that, and I certainly won’t be the last. But unfortunately there are those who would rather forget this legacy and in doing so, may have turned away the next Seetharaman — if he is not denied a visa, that is.

Ahmed Ali
senior from Maldives studying aviation technologies

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