Talk:Washington University in St. Louis/Archive 1

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Citation Question

Is the head of WUSTL really the highest-paid university head in the United States? Where did this fact come from? I can believe that fact, but it seems to me that it needs a reference. It does not state in his article that he makes more than any other head. Zeus1233 10:38, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

°Yeah, I agree. I feel that it should be removed until there is any substantiation of this. 07:58, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

This information is demonostrably false. The least modicum of effort spent searching Google for "highest paid" and "university president" shows the claim to be incorrect, no matter how you twist the data. He is not the highest paid among private school OR public school presidents. The highest paid private school head is William R. Brody of Johns Hopkins University ($897,786 in university compensation), and according to the New York Times, "[a]t least five other university presidents earned more than $800,000." The same article at the Times notes that "Mark A. Emmert of the University of Washington is the highest-paid public university president, earning $762,000 this academic year. Carl V. Patton of Georgia State, who receives $722,350, and Mary Sue Coleman of the University of Michigan, who receives $677,500, rank second and third." So there's a list of 9 poeple who clearly make more than the Chancellor of Wash U. I changed the article to say, "among the highest paid," in the spirit of collaboration and leaving the information as intact as possible, but I think that even this concession is misleading and overstates the chancellor's compensation package. I would guess that Wash U's head is not even in the top 15. Bjsiders 20:07, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Begin Category for WU??

It might be time to start a category for WU (as has been done with Saint Louis University). Certainly the growing list of well-known alumni could be farmed out to become its own article in a new WU category, as it's now getting kind of unwieldy for the WU main article. People associated with the university (such as Mark S. Wrighton) could also be placed in this cat. Comments? Ropcat 20:49, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

  • Never mind this post. I've already gone ahead and done these two tasks. (Setting up WU cat, and moving famous grads to own article.) Ropcat 22:57, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

Removal of US News rankings

On 04 April, User removed the sentence on the University's rankings in U.S. News and World Report, explaining that s/he "removed irrelevant info (this is not a top university). it appears that including this information was a non-neutral attempt to elevate this school's low reputation." I have restored this information because it is clearly nothing more than a rendering of facts. No subjective evaluation is made of the school's quality or prestige vis-a-vis other institutions (although such evaluations would not necessarily violate Wikipedia NPOV rules). I'd also note that User added to the article on Duke University that that institution is "highly overrated" (since reverted), a statement that is a NPOV problem. I'm not quite sure what this user's agenda is, but the U.S. News rankings should clearly remain in the Washington University article, as in other university articles. Ropcat 03:56, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Is there any way we can substantiate these? Perhaps a link to the US News listing? - jredmond 04:04, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Here's why including the ranking in this article is pointless: nobody cares whether Wash U is ranked #43 or #29. It's not relevant. Besides, including this information actually has a negative effect on the reputation of the school. It implies that the school is low-ranked, so it's ranking must be shown. Do you see the ranking in the Harvard or Stanford article? No, because everyone already knows that those are top universities. By including the ranking here, it's like saying, yes this school is not a top university, so let us show how great it is by including some irrelevant ranking. This article would be more useful without that distraction.

Please sign your posts on the Talk Page. Actually, you are wrong: the U.S. News ranking is indeed given in the wikipedia Harvard article. Just doing a random search, I found that the Columbia and Princeton articles both incorporate some sort of ranking details as well, either U.S. News or Atlantic Monthly. Perhaps the ranking (as you note) says, "Yes, this school is not a top university" -- but not by virtue of the ranking being in the article; rather, by virtue of the ranking not being that high. I think you've mistaken my reversion for booster-ism; I just find it useful information, as it equally would be in an article about Cal-Berkeley or Swarthmore or Emory. In fact, the U.S. News rankings are a common feature of many American university articles on wikipedia. On another note, I'm not sure I understand the point of many of your edits. For instance, on the Stanford page, is it not an interesting historical sidebar that a full half of Stanford's original faculty were drawn from Cornell? Why would one delete that and label it "an attempt to elevate Cornell's prestige; we all know it's the worst of the Ivy League"? And what about the article comment on Duke being "highly overrated"? Generally, I'd guess that people visit university articles for information on the schools, not for users' editorials on their quality. Ropcat 07:50, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for putting those rankings back in, they are valuable information. As a St. Louis resident who is considering options for graduate school, I turned to (among many other sources) Wikipedia for some encyclopedic information, and the rankings were informative, helpful, objective, and accurate. I disagree strongly that "nobody cares whether Wash U is ranked #43 or #29." I care, because it's an expensive place to get an education, and I want to know what collegiate journalism has had to say about it. I'd be even more interested in rankings assigned to the school and its various programs by other sources. (Updated with legitimate sig) --Bjsiders 15:17, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Lots of people care about rankings, including current and prospective students, parents who want their kids to go to top-flight schools, recruiters, and perhaps most importantly alumni like myself. Might as well ignore NHTSA scores when you're looking to buy a minivan.Shapu 21:04, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Forget the Rankings!!

You cannot base your decision for college solely on the "U.S. News" rankings. Knowing that professors are knowledgeable, accessible and generally interested in their students welfare, is what students are really looking for in a college. Washington University in St. Louis does pretty well in this area. Here's a quote from a current student...

“Some teachers here are fantastic! Depends on the class really—also they’re really great about giving teachers and not TAs. The only class you'll have that will be taught by a TA will be your English composition freshman year class. Especially awesome teachers (that everyone knows and loves)—Richard Smith (he teaches intro to evolution and is apparently phenomenal), I've also loved Prof. Bernard (physics teacher who moves discussions at a nice, steady pace), Prof. Friedman (history/women's studies is probably the best woman teacher here), Prof. Huck (teaches art school-mostly printmaking and has a knack for the arts), Prof. Sabraw (teaches art school-mostly drawing and will work tirelessly with each individual student), and John Stewart (the chorus director who is also a phenomenal human being).”

from College Prowler's guide book, Washington University in St. Louis - Off the Record

Student Association of Missouri in "See Also"

I just removed the recently added "see also" section, which was created by BCV as a place for a link to the Student Association of Missouri. The new article on this organization is interesting, but the Washington University article probably shouldn't have links to every organization that a few WU students have ever belonged to. The Student Association of Missouri existed for only four years, and seems to have had no WU students among its leadership. Unless the organization was of particular significance to WU history, or unless the link works into the text itself in a logical way, it seems best to avoid cluttering the article with this or other links with only peripheral significance to WU. But I'm open to discussion on this, of course. Ropcat 09:28, 03 May 2005 (UTC)

Admissions Practices

There were clear neutrality problems with the edits done by Wtnoob. I am copying the section written up over here so that if I am wrong in removing it, it can be put back up. While there are rumors that WashU does use aggressive admissions (and the school probably does to some extent), there's no evidence to claim that they turn down "overqualified" applicants to improve their yield. Show some real concrete evidence, and then put the section back, not a Harvard research report.

"In recent years WashU has skyrocketed in the U.S. News rankings due to the admission's office practice of strategic admissions. This has been done in two ways: The first is through an aggresive marketing process that sends a flood of information to prospective college students who score even moderately well on the PSAT. The effect of such heavy recruitment has been seen in the significant drop in its acceptance rate in recent years. The second is through yield protection, whereby the school waitlists thousands of those who are overqualified (and have not shown active interest in the school) because they feel as though they will likely turn it down in favor of more prestigious schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford (see the Harvard University study entitled A Revealed Preference Ranking of U.S. Colleges and Universities for more information regarding this issue). Students on various college admissions forums often debate whether such deliberate manipulation is a legitimate practice or not, and thus the credibility of U.S. News & World Report college ranking itself."

Sareen eng 07:37, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

The "Tufts syndrome" which Washu now seems party to is spoken of frequently in ad com circles. Google Washu spam and you will get a row of pages. I think the paragraphy should be reworked, but needs to be on some level maintained. ~crimsonmaroon

Admissions Practices

I have attempted to make it more neutral, please comment -Wtnoob

I still think this section does not belong in an encyclopedic article. Even the University of Pennsylvania and Emory University have had rumors circulating around them claiming that they manipulated admissions to boost their USNews rankings, but you don't see sections on their articles concerning this. Furthermore, yield is NOT a factor for the USNews rankings as of last year (Methodology). 2003 was the last year that yield was used as a factor, and WashU's rank went from T-9th to T-11th, hardly a noticeable difference. And acceptance rate is only 1.5 percent of the score, which I think is quite low. So if the WashU admissions people used aggressive techniques by mass-mailing (which they do) and waitlisting overqualified applicants (rumors), then they're putting a lot of money into a 1.5% chunk of the USNews pie, and I don't understand how that could possibly cause their ranking to "skyrocket" Sareen eng 17:33, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
Discussion of these tactics employed by various universities to boost US news ratings is probably better suitd to the US news article. In any case, the rhetorical style of the text in question is certainly unencyclopedic.--Bjsiders 16:17, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Chancellor's Salary

There seems to be an ongoing edit war over the mention of the chancellor's salary in the lead section. This information seems to be properly sourced. Those editors who think it ought to be removed should discuss their reasons for excluding it (or thinking that it is incorrect) here, rather than simply reverting it. Removing proeprly sourced content agaisnt consensus can be considered to be disruption. Please discuss and try to achieve consensus, rather than simply reverting. DES (talk) 21:45, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Believe me, I've tried, as has at least one other user. We have called for discussion in this very talk page, in the summaries for our reverts, and on the talk page of the user who keeps changing it. When we began to do that, the user quit making the changes under his/her login and instead makes them anonymously. We have offered ideas for how to come to a consensus on what should be there, but the user has declined to participate in any kind of community discussion and continues to simply remove the information. Bjsiders 21:48, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I suspected as much. This was a public warnign from a previously uninvoilved admin that future undiscussed reverts can be treated as disruption, and may result in a block as per the blockign policy. I came here as a result on the mantion on the admin noticeboard. DES (talk) 21:51, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah that was me that posted that, I forgot to sign it, sorry. Thanks for the prompt response. I see he got your edit, too. :) Determined little bugger. At this point I don't think he objects to the information so much as enjoys batting the community around like a cat playing with a mouse. By the way, is there a fast way to do a revert for stuff like this, or vandalism? I find myself opening the last good version in one tab, cutting and pasting, and having to juggle multiple windows, etc. Very laborious. What's the fastest way to do a simple and minor revert? Bjsiders 22:04, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
See WP:REVERT. Basically, go to the huistory tab, open the last good version, edit, and save with no changes. Use a proper edit summery starign with "Rv", and beware of the three-revert-rule. Admins have a faster one-click method, called "rollback". On User Scripts you can find a script that emulates this, called "god-mode lite" IIRC. the 3RR still applies. DES (talk) 22:12, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Excellent, thanks for the tip and thanks for your quick response to the problem here. Bjsiders 22:23, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
The same user has removed the same data once more, and it's been reverted. I don't know what Wikipedia policy is on this, but I hope it's nearly time for it to kick in and take action. Bjsiders 13:34, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

I have added a comment next to the paragraph to see if that catches the attention of the anonymous editor (it may or may not work, but it's been effective for me in other situations). Also, since I'm in St. Louis myself, if there's any other way that I can help, please let me know.  :) Elonka 19:33, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I know we're supposed to assume the best, but this person clearly understands what he's doing and continues to do it as a form of harassment. He used to have a login, and when people started posting on his talk page, he quit using it and has gone anonymous. He's been banned once for breaking the three-revert rule, so now he just changes it once every week or so. Seems pretty clear that he's clowning around. Bjsiders 22:20, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
I dunno, I've seen a lot of vandals on Wikipedia, and this guy (or girl) doesn't seem to fit the pattern. They're not leaving profanity, they're not posting dumb comments, they're just removing that one section over and over. Maybe it's somebody concerned about privacy issues, or maybe it's even the Chancellor's secretary, trying to follow somebody's directive to remove the information, but being completely oblivious to how Wikipedia works? They may think that their changes aren't getting "saved", which is why they keep re-doing it. And I could easily see a newbie completely ignoring the "You have new messages" header if they weren't familiar with things (it might just look like an ad to them). If their goal was truly to vandalize, I don't think they'd be so focused on that one paragraph. Elonka 23:06, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
  • It is kind of clunky as written. Here's what it says now: At over $600,000 a year, he is among the highest paid university heads in the United States. [1] (In 1998-99 Washington university's Chancellor had the ninth-highest salary among private school presidents, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. [Issue dated November 24, 2000]) Since the issue date is contained in the linked Chronicle page, we don't necessarily need the bracketed issue date, and some of the rest is kind of awkwardly worded. Couldn't we collapse the information into a slightly more succinct version, such as: The Chancellor's annual compensation of over $600,000 makes him one of the best-paid university heads in the United States[1]; the Chronicle of Higher Education listed his 1998-99 salary as ninth-highest among private school presidents. (And no, I'm not the vandal; I've never touched this passage!) Ropcat 03:03, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree, some rewording might be appropriate. Also, is it possible that it's just not true anymore? The 1998-1999 figure looks credible, and the $600,000 number is plausible, but keep in mind that it's from a student newspaper, so the fact-checking is not certain. And even if it's correct, it's still only valid as of 2002. My own stab at a rewrite would be:
The position of Chancellor at Washington University has been noted as one of the highest-paid such positions in the United States. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, it was in the top 10 list of highest paid private school presidents in 1998-1999[2], and according to the Student Life newspaper, the 2002 annual salary was over $600,000.[3] - Elonka 04:27, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that wording sounds fine, although I'm not sure why this fact deserves to be in the top-most section of the article, which usually is reserved for broad-brush overviews, explanations of a topic's significance, and so on. And why such a large portion of that top-most section is taken up with this particular facet of the institution. Could it go somewhere else in the article? Ropcat 05:35, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I've also thought it is a bit clunky where it is in the article. Some of us have talked about moving it further down in the body of the text. It should go wherever we talk about the chancellor. I also have considered moving the info to Mark S. Wrighton. TMS63112 07:12, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Ropcat that this fact doesn't need to be in the topmost section. The salary of the Chancellor is not one of the most important things about the University. I also agree that the information would be appropriate at Wrighton's article, but I think it is worth keeping on the main University page, since the salary is often discussed as "the Chancellor's salary" and not just Wrighton's salary. Though I did find a reference that his predecessor, William H. Danforth, "only" made $147,475.[4] It may mean, however, that the $600,000 salary was a one-time thing, and not a persistent pattern. For example, the salary may fluctuate depending upon university donations that Wrighton is credited with soliciting (in other words, he may get a percentage). As a further datapoint, there have been some recent disputes about money at the University. There was a student hunger strike in 2005[5] where many students were protesting about how low-paid some of the University contractors were, and I've seen reference to where the Chancellor's salary has been discussed in recent Faculty Council meetings.[6] All of which are circumstantial, but do lend to the inference that the subject of his salary has probably been controversial lately. Elonka 17:20, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
As a current Washington University student, I can attest that there's really no dialogue on campus currently about the Chancellor's salary. Someone on the campus (you can tell by the anon's IP address, it's in the 128.252.x.x range, which is WUSTL) has made it his/her mission to disrupt Wikipedia. That's all this is. No one is talking about living wage or University contractors anymore. -- Barfooz 21:05, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Chancellor's Salary, Redux

Quote: I agree with Ropcat that this fact doesn't need to be in the topmost section. The salary of the Chancellor is not one of the most important things about the University. -- Elonka 17:20, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Elonka sums it up. This information is not about the University. This information is about Mark Wrighton. Ergo it should be in the Mark Wrighton article, and this "anonymous user" should go over to Wrighton's article and edit over there. It's a waste of space on the WUSTL article. -- Barfooz 20:47, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
There, done. -- Barfooz 20:53, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Housing Information, etc

I have noticed on other university pages that there is a fairly sizable amount of information about housing, greek life, and other student groups. The info on this page about housing is nonexistant, and the info regarding student organizations has been squished into one short paragraph. I can add the majority of the information, as I am a current student and know specific info about housing and groups, and I can ask around for other info. However, I'm trying to come up with the best solution for formatting the article. I was looking at the Harvard, Saint Louis University, and Yale pages, and think their various layouts are pretty good, but in order to replicate them here would require major revamping. Anyone else have any suggestions? I don't want to just completely rearrange this article without outside input. Thanks!--Ecurran 01:49, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

NPOV Problems

This article has problems with POV. For example, consider this sentence: "The university's Hilltop campus is known for its gorgeous collegiate Gothic architecture." Thanks. Courier new 05:32, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand why that's POV. If I say, "New York is known for its distinctive skyline and tall buildings," is that POV? [Yes, it is.] I mean, if the campus IS noted for its architecture, how is it POV to say so? Do we need to go dig up a quote or citation to prove that it was Gothic architecture and that it's known for it? [Indeed] Bjsiders 22:22, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Such vacuous statements are clear violations of Wikipedia's policy against NPOV. Noted by whom exactly? Plus, "gorgeous" is not an inherent quality but an opinion ({{peacock}}). We are all surely familiar with the timeworn adage "one man's trash is another man's treasure." Courier new 02:27, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Re: To Courier New

"The university's Hilltop campus is known for its 'breath-taking' collegiate Gothic architecture."

Is that better?

Or would "awe-inspiring" sound better? "Magnificent" maybe?

...We COULD have a look at the picture of the place and then, try to agree on a word that accurately describes the architecture...

-- JJ

Campus size

The article states that Washington University's campus is only 169 acres, however that is only the size of the Hilltop campus and this does not include the 59 acre medical campus, the east and west campuses and the tyson research center. The actual size of the campus is 2267 acres and I respectfully request for the editors to change this.Astuishin 01:35, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Feel free to change it yourself, don't wait around for somebody else to do it! If you have a source for your figure, include that too. Sounds like a good edit to me, I say go for it. Bjsiders 15:56, 3 April 2006 (UTC)