The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 27, 1998, Page 5, Image 5

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Update the Husker state with sex, drugs and rock V roll for all |
KLAUS MARRE is a senior broadcasting
major and a Daily Nebraskan columnist
Lincoln is the most boring place I have ever lived.
Most people don’t even know this city or the state of
Nebraska exists (well, other than during football season, of
course, but even then most people couldn’t point out
Nebraska on a map if their lives depended on it).
Still, I have had good times here. The people have
treated me well and I haven’t been shot at in more than six
months. This column is my way of saying thanks to the city
of Lincoln, the state of Nebraska and its people. I have
come up with a few ways to put them on the map and to
make the Comhusker state the pride and joy of this nation
(well, I am guessing more joy than pride).
First of all, I propose to make Nebraska the Amsterdam
of the United States. The state should legalize marijuana
and lower the drinking age to 14. This would attract all
underage spring-breakers to Lincoln and create the rev
enue that would make up for the loss of federal assistance
for roads and other programs.
Sure, the national government would hang us out to
dry (literally), but we’d have a hell of a time doing it Have
you ever listened to people talking about Amsterdam as if
it were some magical place, a mystic city where hash
clouds can be cut with a knife?
Or how people marvel at the low drinking age of
Germany? Their eyes light up, and they get this enchanted
look of longing for booze. This would be the result of such
People would talk about Nebraska as if we were the
entertainment Mecca of the country. Screw New York or
Los Angeles, the action would be right here in the Bible
Belt. '
There would never be any talk about a brain drain,
nobody would ever want to leave the state, and people
from all over the country would want to enroll at the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Recruiting for the
Athletic Department also would be a breeze because we
would have something no other school could offer.
And here is the craziest part People would actually
want to live in western Nebraska. I know, it sounds silly
now, but just wait Farmers would have to make minor
adjustments, like growing cannabis plants instead of com,
and eventually our athletic teams would be known
as die Hemphuskers, but what
is so bad about that?
The loss of all federal
funds would only be a tempo
rary setback. Eventually, I
expect more than 50 percent of
the population to live in
Nebraska; then we would have;
majority in both houses of
While the Legislature is at il
also would waive such stupid
laws as a speed limit or any
restrictions on gambling other than cer
tain card tricks.
One problem is the geographical
monotony. Nobody is ever going to come
here if we don’t have beaches and moun
tains. Still, it is nothing to really worry
about We could find every unemployed
person in die state and have them dig a
huge hole nod to Omaha, Lincoln and Grand
Island, creating the Osborne Ocean.
All the dirt could be piled up somewhere and just like
that, we have created the North Platte Ski Resort Good old
Franklin D. Roosevelt did something similar in the 1930s,
and I admit I have copied this part of my master plan.
Talking about presidents, Nebraska would probably
need a more flamboyant governor. Sorry, Ben, you would
n’t cut it as a Hemphusker. Ernie Chambers comes to
mind, but maybe we wouldn’t ward a politician.
How about an actor, such as Homer J. Simpson? Sure,
he is only a cartoon character, but he could run die state as
well as anybody. After all, Ronald Reagan was president
for eight years.
. If anybody would ever complain about such a progres
sive state, Nebraska could always go independent. Who
needs the federal government, anyway? What have they
ever done for us? Sure, as an independent nation, Nebraska
would have to come up with its own scandals, but there
could be a clause in the Constitution which requires the
legislators to sleep with interns. I’m not really clear on this
part just yet, but somebody will come up with an idea.
Well, there you go, my proposal to make Nebraska the
Valhalla of the United States, die Eden of the Midwest and
the bong of the world’s pot basket.
I’m sure some bright political science student will take
it from here and run with it - somebody with the vision
and determination to really bring the “Good Life” to
The grade escape
UNL’s no-minus policy harms our academic reputation
chemical engineering
major and a Daily
Nebraskan columnist
The Great American Job - you
want it, I want it, and right now every
graduating senior is trying to get it
Career services, Internet listings,
and connections with friends and
family are our paths through die for
est ending at mountain villages of
cushy leather seats and electric pencil
sharpeners. Let’s face it we would rid
ourselves of our booze for the right
job (OK, probably not I used die
booze thing to stress the point).
About two weeks ago I had a job
interview with a chemical company ip
the Queer Services office. During die
interview, he asked the typical inter
viewer questions:
“Why did you decide on chemical
“What made you interested in our.
“How can you see a damn thing
with that fat-ass Portuguese nose of
However, that day he asked a very
different question. He said, “Why
does your transcript not have minus
grades? Where are the B- or the C-?”
I had no answer for him. For the
fust time in my life, my big fat mouth
was involuntary shut He continued
about how his alma mater had minus
grades and that our scale must be
inflated compared to other universi
I had no idea what to say, what to
think, what to do. I was at a loss. After
the interview, I decided to investigate.
Rummaging through the hollowed
student government office for some
information about grading scales, 1
compared our university’s grading
scale versus the rest of the nation’s
universities. I found that our grading
scheme of A+, A, B+, B, etc. falls
quite short; 54.7 percent of all univer
sities have a five-point grading sys
tem of A, B, C, D and F, and 31.1 per
cent have a 13-point system of A+, A,
A-, B+, B, B-, and so on.
The percentage of universities that
use our grading system is 7.8 percent,
with the remaining 6.4 percent having
varying grade scales. I’m not saying
we should change everything because
very few universities use our grading
system, but what deserves attention is
why many universities contain minus
es or don’t contain pluses. The numer
ical values for the letter grades are
also different With the 13-point sys
tem, a B+ is 3.33, whereas a B- is
2.(57. A grade of B in both five- and
13-point scales is 3.00.
The problem with the University
ofNebraska-Lincoln’s scale is that it’s
skewed on the positive side; thus the
scale is possibly inflated, which
cheapens the value of our GPA in the
national scope. For example, a friend
of mine who is applying to law school
used a national service to distribute
his grade information to different law
schools. This national service normal
izes the GPAs of students across the
nation. The service, taking into
account UNUs reputation, approxi
mately lowered his GPA 0.2 points in
relation to other universities.
I’m not necessarily correlating
our possibly inflated grade scale to
the nation’s view of our school, but I
do believe our current scale belittles
university attempts in developing aca
demic respect Tliis is why I feel a
change in our grading system also
should accompany the chancellor’s
plans to increase the rigor of our
; While die actual grade inflation
hinders this institution, for us gradu
ating seniors, the mere belief that our
grading scale causes grade inflation is
actually die most damaging. With
career placement, an employment
recruiter looking at our transcripts
and seeing onfy letter grades and let
ter grade ptoses without any minuses
will immediately be convinced that
this college has inflated GPAs, even
through this may not be true.
It is certainly possible that the
simple ease of Classes could be the
cause of inflated GPAs, not necessari
ly the grade scale, but an interviewer
would never know from looking at a
transcript that we have inflated grades
from ease of classes. However, he or
she would certainly assume grade
inflation from the lack of minus
grades in our transcripts.
Next in this journey of academic
marksmanship is: Which academic
scale should we adopt? The majority
of universities use the five- or 13
point systems as i have mentioned
earlier. Which scheme would help our
university and students the most? I
personalty condone die five-point
system of A, B, C, D and F.
Fast, I seriously question a pro
fessor’s ability to make accurate dis
tinctions of individual accomplish
ments in a class when a variety of
choices exist In the 13-point system,
an 87 would be a “B+” and an 83
would be a “B-.” Does a difference of
four points justify a 0.67 difference in
the class GPA for someone? A profes
sor, or anyone for that matter, could
not make a fair and honest decision
with the i3-point system. f: " :
With the five-point system, a pro
fessor could locate clusters of stu
dents with similar grades at the end of
the semester. The cluster of students
with the highest grades would receive
scores of 90 and above and thus
receive an A, the second-highest
group scoring 80 to 90 would receive
a B and so on. With die five-point
to a minimum, and the possibly of
GPA inflation from the grading scale
is nullified.
As a flip side to this academic
coin, how would the five-point sys
tem benefit students? Since there is a
difference of one GPA point between
grades, this will invariably force stu
dents to rely on personal achievement
rather than on a half-hearted push
with the hope of lady luck for one
half of a GPA point
Trust me, I am also condemning
my collegiate lifestyle by stating this.
I prefer to view this as swallowing the
bitter academic medicine. At first it
will taste like dorm food, but then tak
ing everything into account, it is for
the best The extra effort outreaches
our own personal academic standing,
and our heightened work ethic |
increases the value of this university
and therefore increases the value of
our degrees. j
The time has come for UNL to
take a step in become a more mature
campus. Personally, I do believe that
the mean GPA of this campus will
drop 04 to 0.3 points with the five
point system, but I would welcome
this change. Instead of our alumni
gloating about their college days say
ing, “I graduated with a 3.85!”, they
should say, “I graduated from the
University of Nebraska!”
A grading scale change to die
five-point system is a step in this
direction and would rid us oft
and university.