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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 7, 1999)
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Fall 1999 Daily Nebraskan. They do
not necessarily 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 solely the opinion df its author.
^ The Board of Regents serves as publisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by
the regents, supervises the production
of ttie paper. According to policy set by .
the regents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely in
the hands of its student employees.
to be true
Stadium is only
sweet deal on paper
We like sweet deals.
And the new proposal regarding a
baseball a^d softball complex for
Nebraska’s respective teams seems like a
pretty sweet deal ... on paper.
On paper, the NU baseball and softball
teams get brand new ballparks, complete
'with all the amenities. It’s a heck of a
recruiting tool, too.
On paper, the proposal, which was
approved last Friday by the NU Board of
Regents 7-0, doesn’t ask for a cent from
the UNL students. Instead the $10.6 mil
lion the university has to put up will be
supplied through private donations, that
NU Foundations, the fund-raising arm of
UNL, must get.
Yep, a sweet deal. On paper.
But on the practical side there are prob
lems to consider, the same old problems
that come up whenever there’s another
glut of spending like this one. Spending
usually leads to more spending. More
facilities beget more facilities. That’s the
way competition Works.
The Nebraska baseball and softball
teams were successful in 1999. For the
baseball team, it was the first time in
years. The program seems to be moving up
•under Dave Van Horn, but, in fairness, it
was about the last sports team at UNL that
had truly earned new digs, sort of like the
Nebraska men’s basketball team didn’t
really earn the new HuskerVision boards.
But so be it. Clearly, the baseball team
needed an upgrade from Buck Beltzer
Field. The softball team, while its current
facility isn’t the worst, could stand an
The key here is wondering just how
many more programs will ask for more
money. They, too, could use upgrading.
And the football team could always stand
to have a little better equipment, even
though the team is among the best now. At
what point does the spending ever stop?
Meanwhile, the academic side of UNL
is in the doldrums. Since NU Foundations
raises money for all UNL-related issues,
time and money will have to be diverted
from academic fund-raising to find money
.for the complex. And frankly, academics
needs all the fund-raising it can get, con
sidering recent cutbacks.
The baseball and softball stadiums will
be built. Of this, there is no doubt. The
baseball complex; of course, has to be
built, since a Northern League profession
al team will play there.
Does the spending stop here? Which
team is next on the docket? What will it
want? And if the spending doesn’t end
here, when will it?
On paper, a sweet deal doesn’t ask
those questions. But that doesn’t mean the
questions go away.
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief
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but does not guarantee their publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to
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Submitted material becomes property of
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returned. Anonymous submissions will
not be published. Those who submit
letters must identify themselves by name,
year in school, major and/or group
affiliation, if any.
Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 20
Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. Lincoln,
NE. 68588-0448. E-mail:
WT'S NoT So BAD
■ AT FIRST... BUT
I after a whilf,
A You CAN RFALLy
And Speaking of Tongues...
I just finished reading Cliff
Hicks’ column entitled “Speaking in
Tongues” (DN, Friday) and was com
pelled to write. Though I do not agree
with all of Mr. Hicks’ positions, I do
agree that a review of UNL’s foreign
language requirement is in order.
While I agree with Mr. Hicks that
some working knowledge of a for
eign language should continue to be
part of the requirements for gradua
tion at UNL, I also think UNL should
not be teaching entry-level foreign
Students should be required to
have a minimum level of institution
ally established proficiency in for
eign language before they are admit
ted and, in most cases, those and any
additional requirements should be
completed before a student ever sets
foot on campus.
In recent years, UNL raised its
entrance requirements. Entering
freshmen must have achieved a cer
tain level of proficiency in English,
math and science through their
I respective high schools or from some
other educational source in order to
The idea for this was to help raise
the level of academic rigor, improve
retention rates and elevate the overall
quality of students attending UNL.
Clearly, that has begun to be
achieved and has resulted in fewer
remedial classes because students
who di<d not meet the minimum stan
dards have either gone to institutions
with less stringent entrance require
ments or to community colleges to
improve their skills.
However, the modern languages
department continues to be forced to
teach students who come to 101 for
eign language classes with little or no
prior understanding of the language
they are trying to learn.
Granted, many incoming fresh
men do take some or all of then- for
eign language requirements bdfore
they get to UNL, and they should be
applauded for doing so. However,
there are great numbers of students
who must muddle through once they
get to campus.
For the most part, these students
have no desire to learn die language,
and it has been proven that the later in
life one tries, the more difficult lan
guages are to learn. As a result, get
ting through the foreign language
requirement becomes a frustrating
chore. Students soon learn that
understanding the language is not
important, getting out with your sani
ty and maybe 16 hours of “C” is.
This is not a condemnation of the
modern languages department. In
fact, I have great respect for these
people because they are forced to
teach section after section of students
who, for the most part, are frustrated,
angry and looking for a way to end
The instructors in the department
are caught in a classic paradox: They
can never truly teach the kind of pro
ficiency that would allow one to
capably converse in another language
in 16 credit hours, yet, because of the
requirement, they must keep up the
pretense that they can.
These instructors should be
teaching students who have chosen
foreign language as a major or minor,
or those who truly wish to expand
their skills in another language.
May I make a few suggestions:
1: Establish some minimum level
of language proficiency as terms for
admission and strongly encourage in
coming freshmen to fulfill all the for
eign language requirements before
they come to campus.
If these students fulfill their
requirements through an acceptable
agency (high school, community col
lege, etc.) they should be exempt
from taking the foreign language
placement exam and need not take
any additional foreign language
classes as terms of graduation.
2: Partner/contract with the com
munity college system to provide
entry level foreign language educa
tion to high school and college stu
dents. In general, community col
leges can do this for less money and
with more efficiency, while maintain
ing a high quality of instruction.
In the long run, resources in the
modem languages department would
be freed to spend on motivated stu
dents and provide additional support
for graduate students, faculty and
3: With minimum entrance
requirements met, lower the number
of credit hours to fulfill the foreign
language requirement from 16 to 10
and make it a requirement for every
student at UNL. Currently, some
majors do not require a foreign lan
guage to graduate. This will standard
ize the terms of graduation across
campus and make up for any lost rev
enue due to the loss of billable credit
4: Place more emphasis on teach
ing practical skills and cultural
understanding. What’s more impor
tant for most students? The ability to
discuss complex concepts in six
Spanish verb tenses or the ability to
ask where they can get a meal in one?
J. E. Buchanan
arts & sciences, 1997
More ‘Tongues’ Talk
I am writing to comment on the
article about foreign language studies
by Cliff Hicks.
I could not agree more. I am a
transfer student from the University
of Nebraska at Kearney, coming here
for more technical classes offered in
my major, geography. Instead of
being able to take a full load of these
classes, which would be beneficial to
my career, I am stuck wasting some
of my precious credits, and money, on
this foreign language requirement.
I work full time and go to school
full time, so my time is very limited.
Therefore my foreign language class
always gets shoved to the side so I can
concentrate on the classes that mean
something to me. These are the class
es I should be taking and paying for.
I understand that UNL wants to
get their two years out of me, and
that’s not what bothers me. Let me
take two years of classes that I am
going to use.
Two semesters of this foreign lan
guage requirement is plenty. My
graduation has been bumped up one
year as a result of this.
Thank you for letting me get this
of my chest. It has been pissing me
off for three semesters now.
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