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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 17, 1996)
To be distinguished,
Who says they’re out of our league?
Yale, Princeton, Harvard... what do they
have that the University ofNebraska-Lincoln
Well, right now they have rankings as
the top three national universities in the
countiy, according to U.S. News & World
Report’s recently released annual guide to
“America’s Best Colleges.”
UNL sits in the distance, a “third-tier”
school ranked somewhere between 116th and
172nd among 229 schools in this class. The
rankings are based on reputation, selectiv
ity, faculty resources, financial resources, re
tention and alumni giving.
“Most ranking colleges and universities
possess at least one special niche or com
parative advantage that can and should be
exploited commercially,” the magazine re
For Nebraska, that commercial niche has
been the university’s stellar football program
—and even that had humble beginnings with
a noncompetitive team named the
Now that Nebraska has established itself
as nationally competitive in athletics, it is
time to tackle the school’s academic status.
Chancellor James Moeser acknowledged
this concern at the beginning of the semester
during his state of the university address.
‘To be a great university, we must have
outstanding faculty and outstanding stu
dents,” Moeser said in his address.
That’s easier said than done. To attract
outstanding faculty and outstanding students,
the university must be recognized as great.
It is time UNL found its niche in aca
demics — whether that be in engineering,
education or architecture. Whether it be ge
netics, journalism or agriculture. The univer
sity needs to hone its resources in further de
veloping these and other already thriving pro
Rather than spreading itself too thin by
trying to do it all, die university needs to earn
some national recognition and respect in se
lect fields of study.
We don’t need the Ivy League to com
pete. But we do need focus.
And patience. Change doesn’t come eas
As U.S. News explains, “If the televi
sion industry, for example, had evolved at
the same pace as higher education, Howdy
Doody would still be a star and the 10-inch
black-and-white TV would be a living room
It’s time for UNL to move away from its
Howdy Doody image in the academic world
and to set goals — realistic goals — for it
Even the Ivy League schools had to start
“Clearly, 360 years after Harvard as
sembled the nation’s first college class in a
Cambridge, Mass., cow yard,” U.S. News
reports, “higher education is reaching a ma
jor turning point”
UNL would be wise to follow suit
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of the Fall
1996 Daily Nebraskan. They do not neces
sarily reflect the views of the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, its employees, its student
body or the University of Nebraska Board of
Regents. A column is soley the opinion of its
author. The Board of Regents serves as pub
lisher of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
die Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by the
regents, supervises the production ofdie news
paper According to policy set by the regents,
responsibility for the editorial content of the
newspaper Ikes solely in die hands of its stu
The Daily Nebraskan wekxnoes brief let
ters to the editor and guest columns, but
does not guarantee their publication. The
Daily Nebraskan retains die right to edit
or reject any material submitted. Submit
ted material becomes the property of the
Daily Nebraskan and cannot be returned
Anonymous submissions will not be
identify themselves by name, year in
school, major and/or group affiliation,
if any. Submit material to: Daily Nebras
kan, 34 Nebraska Union, 1400R St Lin
coln, Neb. 68588-0448. E-mail:
letters @ unlinfo.unl.edu!
As C :zma!s election results tallied,
fiiend watches, wonders and worries
I have been watching the news a
little closer lately. Not for a class, no
for any peculiar fetish. It is because 1
■ I am nervous for friends thou
sands of miles away from Lincoln. I
am nervous for a country that has a
piece of my heart.
In February, I went to Bosnia, the
war-tom land that is merely images
on the TV for most I sat down and
lived with our troops there, the
refugees displaced by war and the
youth of a city that was without
electricity and phone service for
, three years.
And I fell in love with a beautiful
land and the most generous people I
have ever encountered.
When I was there, the national
elections that took place this Satur
day were just whispers. The plans
were not completed, the details
needed to be worked out.
But now I sit and wait for results.
Results that will determine the future
Voters went to the polls on
Saturday to try and elect a multi
ethnic government. That government
would be given the task of forming a
government that all Bosnians could
To make this easier, here’s the
breakdown: Everyone in Bosnia is
Bosnian—simple enough. But from
there you have three groups—
Muslims, Serbs and Croats.
As it stands now, the Bosnian
Serbs control more than 50 percent
of Bosnia and are calling their lands
Republika Srpska. The remaining
lands are Muslim and Croat con
The time I spent in Bosnia was in
Tuzla, an area under Muslim control.
I traveled with former Daily Nebras
kan photographer Staci McKee to
Tuzla and lived there for a week,
thanks to the good graces of the UNL
College of Journalism and Mass
When I watch the news, I see
places where 1 have been. Every time
I read a story by The Associated
Press from Tuzla, I think of their
office in the Hotel Bristol, a shell
ffagment-pocked modem hotel.
But who I mostly think about is
Mehmed Atic, my friend, guide,
translator, miracle worker and
adviser. Without Mehmed, Staci and
I would have wandered around Tuzla
without a friend in the world. We
would have starved and never
experienced what we experienced.
Mehmed got a nickname from us.
We called him the Madman, partly
because it was easier to say than his
name (yes, we were ugly Americans)
and partly because he drove like
Mario Andretti smoking crack.
His car was named the Yellow
Bird—a two-door Yugo that spewed
black exhaust and, for a sub
compact, drove like a truck.
I know that the Madman and the
Yellow Bird wait to the polls. He
was a veteran of the civil war,
spending three years on the front
lines around his home.
Thanks to the international arms
embargo, Mehmed spent much ofhis
time in the army without a weapon.
He carried the dead and wounded
away from the fighting. That was his
job, and he did it well. He escaped
being wounded for three years.
He cares deeply about his country
and its future. His friends, all college
studoits like you and me, also care. I
know they voted.
I know that others we met did the
Like Halid Hodzic. Halid sur
vived ethnic cleansing. He was
blinded and beaten by Serbs. He
wept when he told us his story and
begged me to tell the world about his
I kept my promise and wrote
about Halid in the Daily Nebraskan
in February. I will never forget him.
I know he went to the nearest
polling area to his home, a small
former dorm room in a refugee camp
for the elderly and invalid.
For so many people, this election
is extremely important. For the future
of a war-tom nation, this election is
If the new government fails, war
I can’t have that. The Muslim
refugees I spoke to and touched can’t
In just a short time, I fell in love
with Bosnia, its people and its
culture. I swore to the Madman that I
would come back.
I have even taken the Koran I
received as a gift in Bosnia and
prayed to Allah, the way I was
instructed. I figure the more help and
prayer I can muster, the better.
I pray that one day, I can go back
to Thzla. I pray that I can take the
Madman for dinner at the Albatross.
That we can eat Mucklalica and
drink Tuzla Pivo and laugh.
For me, there are people involved
in the news. For me, the elections in
Bosnia are not so distant.
For me, the elections are the
difference between seeing my friend
again or seeing war tear apart a
Waite is a senior news-editorial
major and a Daily Nebraskan
34 Nebraska Union, 1400 ”R” St, Lincoln,
^liJa phone number for verification^_‘ - .'.i
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