A well-known Chinese university is facing criticism after forcing civil engineering students to pick their majors at random through a lottery.
Second-year students enrolled in the urban planning school at the University of Southern China are required to choose one of seven majors. Because some majors are more popular than others, measures had to be taken to enroll the surplus of students, according to Xinhuanet.
Last week, hundreds of students gathered in the school’s auditorium to be assigned one of seven different engineering majors through a lottery. Lu Qinghua, a spokesperson for the institution, said:
“We were forced to take these measures. If choosing a major is solely based on students’ wants, some majors will be overcrowded and others will have difficulty enrolling enough students. There are some other colleges that use this method.”
Some critics and students are furious about the policy, calling it “discrimination” and branding the school’s administration as “lazy.”
While many disagree with the policy, one student told Xinhuanet:
“I think it is quite fair. Students are encouraged to study hard to gain the chance to freely choose majors. Even if we get a dissatisfying major after the lottery, we can exchange it with others.”
Incoming freshmen in the school’s urban planning department must often resort to majors assigned through lottery. The university allows their best students to re-select their major after their first year, but the lower 90% (over 300 students) of the department are forced to stay with the majors they selected their first year.