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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 19, 1969)
THE DAILY NEBRASKAN
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1969
Ken Wald: Conscience Conscience
: ' 4
"And further, the curriculum committee
- has complied with point 73 of our de-
- mands and as of today you are getting
five hours credit for Student Union 145."
At most universities in this nation, the demand
"student power" is a legitimate one. The ra
tionale offered to support this demand is a relative
ly simple one: students, having a legitimate concern
for and interest in the quality of their general
educational environment, deserve a voice In what
is vaguely labelled the decision-making process."
To fulfill this desire they demand and generally
receive inclusion in those assemblies and com
mittees which legislate and execute in areas of
student concern housing, publications, social
regulations, ad infinitum.
The situation at Nebraska, as situations at this
university are wont to be for one reason or another,
is unique. We have achieved a voice without really
deserving or demanding it.
Our student body can be roughly divided into
two sections: a small group which is sincerely
seeking a meaningful education in its years here
and a much larger segment which could care less
about everything not related to its physical com
fort. Activist deUte
It is the first group, the activists, which votes
in ASUN elections, presses for educational reform
and reads the Rag to learn more than sports scores
and times of social events. This elite attends
cultural events and actively follows the political
scene, both local and national. Its members enjoy
talking to professors and find distinct intellectual
pleasure in a stimulating lecture.
The second group, which we may call the
floaters, encompasses most of the campus. This
group can be characterized primarily by a desire
for a degree instead of an education. To them,
a university is no more than an arena for making
social contacts and a four-to-five year exercise
in avoiding any sort of academic achievement over
and above a GPA of 2.0. Members of this estate
can much more readily name the starting lineup
of the football team, both offensive and defensive,
than name the individuals who comprise the Board
of Regents. Classes are viewed as an obstacle
to a good time rather than as stepping-stones on
the road to individual enlightenment.
To return to the implication in the first
paragraph, members of the activist camp demand
power in the name of the floaters who are actually
not at all interested.
Thus the only possible justification for student
power, the concern of the masses, is totally lacking.
If one believes in the tenets of pluralistic
democracy, as it is assumed the majority of persons
associated with this institution do, then we students
do not deserve the power we possess.
Power without principle
We have a student-dominated general Council,
a reasonably-powerful Senate and a voice in cur
riculum matters but there are, by acceptable
standards, no reasons we should.
I am not advocating that the Council on Student
Life and the like be abolished. What is desirable
is that the rationale for it be brought into tangible
existence. The floaters must enter the realm of
the activists until the latter are In the clear major!
Until such a situation is reached, we are like
(the man who discovers a $5 bill on a deserted
street in possession of a fortune he did nothing
to deserve. Will we not then, like the man. have
a difficult time in wisely spending our windfall?
Irslebirsiskaini edlofoiroai page
Omaha summer riots
matter of concern
It is no news to anyone that the city of
Omaha had the country's worst riot this summer.
The facts of the riot three days of violence
in late June, a 14-year-old girl shot to death by
a city policeman and about $1 million in property
damage are all a matter of record.
However, the question Why were there rio
ts in Omaha? Is more pertinent
Comparatively speaking, the summer In
American cities was a quiet one. The U.S. Depart
ment of Justice said there were five disturbances
which can be termed as riots during the summer.
This compares to seven in 1968.
None of the 1969 riots can compare to the
S4 fatalities and $40 million property damage in
Watts in 1965 or 43 killed in Detroit in 1697.
The lead story In the Sept. 12 issue of Time
Magazine said that cities are "cooling off" because
of a "new sense of responsibility," a new direction
toward "jobs and political power." money "flooding
into the ghetto" from federal and private sources,
a more liberal "white attitude," and that "fear
and fragmentation have worked to keep the ghettos
quiet, even though police behavior has generally
Former vice president Hubert Humphrey said
In a syndicated column the reason for a "peaceful"
summer is that "federal programs of the past
five years are beginning to take hold."
Somehow, something isn't working In Omaha.
The mood of the black community is one of
anger and mistrust. Blacks say that few steps
have been taken In improving integration and im
proving living conditions since the 1966 riot. Such
programs were promised by city officials.
Former black schoolboard candidate Ernest
Chambers blames the city police and said that
Omaha police and city officials are deliberately
attempting to arrest key black leaders on framed
Paul Allen, unsuccessful candidate for the City
Council in 1965 and 19C9 and a more moderate
black than Chambers, said black bitterness toward
the police Is widespread and he urges greater pro.
fosslonalism on tho force.
Police officials, say, however, that they have
made great changes In the past few years, having
expanded the community relations department. The
Officials deny charges of racism.
In examining the Omaha riots, the Christian
Science Monitor said that Omaha suffers from
many of the problems of other American cities
rising racial division, high unemployment among
blacks, subitandurd housing and de facto school
But the Monitor goes on to say that political
and social changes come much slower to Omaha
because It's in the heartland of American political
The lagging can be seen In many areas. Most
or the city's 40,000 to 45,000 blacks are jammed
together in 460-block area on the near north
Omaha has had no major public-housing pro
gram since the 19,r0's, even though IS per cent
of all housing Is believed to be substandard.
The city has no major busing program for
its schools. About 13 schools on the near north
side are between 50 and 100 per cent black.
Black unemployment is as high as 18 to 25
per cent, partly a result of many assembly-line
industries exemplified by the meat packing in.
dustry leaving the city.
Omaha Mayor Eugene Leahy says he is aware
of the problems.
But what worries many observers Is nothing
substantial Is being done. Instead of piecemeal
attacks on city problems, a total community effort
is needed "the type of an all-out effort a com
munity at war would take" as the Monitor puts
One does not need to go to Watts, Newark
r Detroit to find the American racial revolt. Out
needs only to look in Nebraska.
"I AM doing something about bousing . . . !"
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This is Friday afternoon. This is Friday After
noon Column, which, if your memory is adequate,
win db remembered for Its incisive penp'.ration
of Nebraska. On second thought. Nebraska is an
Today, for want of anything else, let us talk
about the great statesman who has so long typified
everything that Is Nebraska
William Jennings Bryan? No.
George W. Norrls? No.
Frank Morrison? Who?
Actually, let us consider Roman Hruska.
Roman Hruska. Now that we have considered
everything about him that Is reasonable, let us
dwell on the more unbelievable things.
Take, for instance, the standing joke about
him. (Actually when he arises from his chair to
speak In the Senate, he is the standing joke.)
The joke is a riddle:
What state has a senator more conscrvatve than
Nebraska's Carl Curtis? It's Nebraska Roman H.
The joke wasn't funny. But neither Is
Roman Hruska. But for him, the ABM might have
failed. But for him, and men like him. a more
moderate president might be gracing the White
But things, bad as they are, may get worse.
Think, for instance, about Roman Hruska as Senate
minority leader. The only good thing about that
would be that he Is, Indeed, in the minority. A
majority leader like Roman Hruska would be the
20th century apocalypse.
Or consider Roman Hruska as President of
the I'nlted Slates. Instead of the San Clcmcnte
White House, the nation's press dutrlincs would
originate from "The Summer White House, Ord,
And the stories would read like this:
"Ord, Neb. -President Roman Hruska. after
conferring today with the top men in his ad
ministration, has proposed a final, last-ditch defense
against the Commies, should they ever penetrate
our 23 various missile systems.
"I have just signed into law," the President
said, "a $3.5 billion defense bill to protect tlie
last vestiges of our American heritage."
"The appropriation, according to the
President's Secretary of Defense, Cecil Sludgcpump
(former chairman of the Midwest Hog Feeders
Association), will go for stringing a 112-foot barbed
wlrc fence around the state of Nebraska.
" 'That'll keep the gooks out," the President
remarked In his normal perceptive manner.
"President Hruska said the new defense
system, commonly railed l int, Is designed to save
Nebraska, even If the rest of the country Is wiped
out by Commie missile attack.
" 'The Inspiration came as I was walking
through a cattle feeding lot. I looked down and
there was the essence of the greatness of this
state . . . right there on my boots. I knew that
that was something the Commies would try to
"But now we have saved Nebraska with the
new last line of defense."
"Secretary Sludgepump said the plans Involve
chasing out of the state nil University of Nebraska
students with hair longer than three inches. Then
the barbed-wire barrier will be erected. Within
the wire walls will be hoarded the true riches
"Among other tilings, Sludgopump said, thrse
American treasures will be preserved:
All virgin University of Nebraska coeds, berth
All the back Issues of Reader's Digest.
And such American heritages as the crib
in which Roman Hruska was rocked as a bahy,
and In which he still spends his sleeping hours
with his ted ly bear; a nickel-plated centennial
stamp honoring (Jen. Lewis B. Hershey; and three
"Well, I'd hate to have to go out and
make a living with the courses I'm teaching."
by Michael Egger,
and Tom Seidell
"It is essential that the student acquire an
understanding of and a lively feeling for values.
He must acquire a vivid sense of the beautiful
and of the morally good. Otherwise he with
his specialized knowledge more closely resembles
a well-trained dog than a harmoniously developed
A new form of educational doctrine espoused
by persons who declare that our universities should
be made "relevant" at the expense of a traditional
liberal education has arisen on college campuses
In recent years.
On the surface, the preachers of relevancy
aim at social problems and their solution, but In
practice they seek to remove those curriculum
requirements which can produce the well-rounded
Individuals capable of giving continuity and real
progress to society.
Actually, relevantism is not so new as it seems
at first glance; rather, it is the outgrowth of the
educational philosophy of such "progressives" as
John Dewey. To such persons the Important ques
tion to be asked when determining the desirability
of a course is "Is it relevant, is it of immediate
practical importance?," or more precisely, "Is it
what everyone's talking about?"
A Longer Look
There are three main objections to this. First,
college work so oriented easily degenerates into
a series of modern problems course. Some stu
dents clamor for courses In current urban dilemmas
without ever having taken the basic economics,
political science and history courses which can
make possible more effective discussion of these
Further, the fact that our specific problems
are temporary makes absurd spending a semester
of study on them, when we have only a short
time to prepare for a lifetime of work and
Second, without the proper background of study
which a liberal education can provide, today's
relevantist has only one place where he can find
the simple solutions he seeks: Ideology. By ideology,
we mean a sociopolitical scheme, dogmatically
adhered to, often Utopian, which pretends to explain
tho world and set the course to change the world.
There is nothing so destructive to true scholarship
as this kind of fanaticism, for with it academio
freedom, the objective search for truth, must be
subordinated to secular demands.
Lack Of Depth
The third objection Involves an Interesting
paradox. "Relevant" courses, while offering study
of very specialized concerns, actually encourage
a typo of academic dilettantism. The relevantist
student, finding fewer and fewer prescribed courses
in humane studies, is left to pick and choose that
which seems to him pertinent.
He selects one from column A and two from
column B in a kind of Intellectual Chinese dinner.
And yet, as with the proverbial Chinese dinner,
he may find himself starved the next year, due
to his failure to study anything In depth and the
reluctance of experienced educators to act as a
In this atmosphere of relevantism, then. It is
easy for the student to lose contact with knowledge
Inherited from past ages.
In the eleventh century Bishop Fulbert of
Chart res wrote that "We are dwarfs mounted upon
the shoulders of giants," and It Is no less true
today. We cannot afford to forget that our only
hope for finding the solutions to our urgent pro
blems and at the same time giving continuity to
our society Is In providing education grounded in
our heritage of knowledge and in an atmosphere
of academic freedom.
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