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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (May 1, 2000)
Work with driven staff lightens load ofUNL mediocrity
The state has said, ‘Nah, we don’t want
a top university in our state. Average is
just fine as long as the football team is
That has been my answer all year
when anyone wanted to know how
many hours I worked each week as edi
tor of this newspaper.
I always seemed to find something
in that wasteland of papers, which
claimed my desktop long ago, that had
to be done before I could leave.
Now, as I clear away the year’s
debris in preparation for the next edi
tor’s mess, I realize what a year this has
We all attend a headless university.
Five college deans, k vice chancel
lor and the chancellor himself decided
to leave the university this year.
Another vice chancellorship was vacat
ed by an unexpected death and a third
vice chancellor is fighting serious ill
On Monday, April 24, law profes
sor Harvey Perlman was named interim
chancellor because several of the posi
tions behind James Moeser are vacant.
Despite Perlman’s earlier experi
ences as interim vice chancellor for
academic affairs and law college dean,
he was well outside the normal succes
Interim and lame-duck administra
tors are not known for starting new pro
grams or leading anywhere because
they are jug occupying space until the
real guy (or woman), is named.
And the university is left to floun
der without leadership.
That is a problem at this second- or
third-tier university, where mediocrity
has long been the ultimate goal. - . |
Administrators and legislators like
to talk about bringing the University of
i Nebraska-Lincoln up to the midpoint
[ of its peers.
Translated, that means they would
like us to be average because in many
] ways, we’re not even that now.
The goal is mediocrity, and that is
‘i evident throughout the university.
Just walk over to Love Library and
| try tolook up the latest journal articles
; in your field of study. Odds are the
library doesn’t even subscribe to sever
al of those journals.
University officials like to exhort
research but deny professors and stu
dents access to the most recent find
Every time the Legislature receives
a university request for money and
reduces or denies it, that sends a mes
sage to die university.
The state has said, “Nah, we don’t
want a top university in our state.
Average is just fine as long as the foot
ball team is winning.”
Within every department of the
university, you can find people who are
merely going through the motions.
With little incentive for excellence,
some professors and staffers play their
roles but care little about the result.
And students notice. When a pro
fessor puts forward a half-hearted
effort, students Will respond in kind
Students become accustomed to
the standard of mediocrity, so that they
may not know what to do if a professor
were to challenge them.
How often do you see lively class
discussion on this campus ?
Have you ever seen the discussion
carried out of class by students impas
sioned by the subject?
But within this sea of mediocrity,
there are talentedpeople who are trying
to make a difference. Perhaps they
stand out more because of their sur
roundings, but you’ll know them.
They are the administrators who
stay late just to listen to student con
cerns or go out of their way to*$nake^
sure the best faculty members stay here.
They are the professors who not
only know their material, they know
how to teach it well. They can make the
Dark Ages or molecular structure come
alive, and they’ll push for students’ best
They are the staffers who help you
make sense of the world and the univer
sity bureaucracy and go out of their way
- When you find these people, be
sure to recognize their efforts (even if it
means your class may be harder
because of diem). All too often these
people, especially the professors, are
leaving the University of Nebraska for
someplace where excellence is valued
Tills year I have been fortunate to
work in a place where mediocrity is not
In its relentless pursuit of the news,
the Daily Nebraskan staff challenged
itself and the campus.
There is an old axiom in the news
paper business that says if somebody is
not upset with you, you’re probably
doing something wrong.
By that standard, the Daily
Nebraskan has done a lot of things right
We have refused to serve as a wing
of the university’s public relations
As the student newspaper, it is our
job not only to report on what the
administration is doing, but question it.
Sometimes what we published
stirred up controversy.
And people started talking.
By definition, a newspaper should
be a community in conversation with
The issues and events that are of
concern or importance to students
should be reflected in the pages of the
This is true for all students.
At times this year there were some
groups who did not feel comfortable
bringmg their concerns to the newspa
Ideally, our reporters already would
have scoured the campus and learned
about everything that’s going on, but
our reporters are also students, and it
just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes
weueedahifit. • m '
And; the Daily Nebraskan staff
members did more than challenge the
administration and this campus, they
I thank diem for all the countless
hours they were supposed to be in class,
but decided instead that the news and
their readers were more important.
Looking ahead to the Daily
Nebraskan’s 100th year of publication, I
know that the paper’s tradition of excel
lence will continue, driven by a staff
who will settle for nothing less.
I’ll even be around for a semester to
see it all again. But if you have any
complaints about the opinion section
tomd youtttetter talk to the new
editor because FH bejust a reporter
then. -r>-/ ' ' -
Josh Funk ts a senior news-editorial major and the Daily Nebraskan editor.
. . ■ ’ v:
OF THE YEAR
“Winning national championships doesn’t necessari
ly make you an effective legislator.”
Kevin Smith, a UNL political science professor, on Tom
Osborne s possible lack of competency.
“This is not an issue of academic freedom, it is a ques
tion of ethics.”
Students for Life member James Andrews on ASUN s
decision to lobby the Legislature to vote against LB1405, a
bill that would have banned the use of abortedfetal tissue in
research at state institutions.
“It scares the hell out of me to think the state can dic
tate what I can and can’t research at school tomorrow.”
ASUN fine and performing arts senator Erin Reitz, in
opposition to the ban on aborted fetal tissue research.
“I’m not interested in smoking this product; I’m
interested in growing it”
Sen. Ed Schrock of Elm Creek on his bill to legalize
“He’s like jam and bread when it comes to people.”
Alumni Association employee Kathleen Buechle, on stu
dent leader Eddie Brown and his extraordinary people
“Do we want ASUN as it has been: dominated by the
uninspired - a non-visible force on campus?”
ThenA-Team presidential candidate Joel Schafer while
campaigning for ASUN president.
“We spend our whole day going beyond our comfort
zone. White students don’t.”
Senior news-editorial major LaSharah Bunting on being
a minority at UNL.
“Perhaps we should have two Obermeyer comics
printed every day: one for the students and one on the
level Moeser can understand.”
Juniors Justin Jackson and Rana Smith on the chancel
lor s inteipretation of a Neal Obermeyer cartoon.
“I pity the next son-of-a-bitch in here.”
Former NU Basketball Coach Danny Nee on his succes
“The DN got what they wanted. They wanted a candi
date to win, and he won.”
Former Empower presidential candidate Heath Mello,
referring to the Daily Nebraskan s endorsement of A-Team
“I think pigs are better off working at the circus than
on someone’s plate.”
James Plunkett, Shrine Circus producer, in response to
the PETA protest of the circus performances in Lincoln.
“Say you paid $2 a day ... that’s $320 a semester.
That’s a liver.”
Tom Silik, a sophomore math major, on the effects of the
city’s increase in parking meter rates.
“Usually trash is dirty, but sometimes it comes out
Columnist David Baker, from an old family motto.
“Next time, they should invite Holocaust survivors
and have them talk right before Li’F Red stands on his
Columnist Samuel MeKewon commenting on the prob
lems with the Schoo fis Cool Jam .
“What’s the Daily Nebraskan?”
Presidential hopeful George W. Bush, upon meeting
Daily Nebraskan staff writer Brian Carlson.
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of the spring 2000 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 col
umn is solely the opinion of its authoi1. The Board of Regents
acts 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 publication
of the paper. According to policy set by the regents, responsi
bility for the editorial content of the newspaper lies solely in
r the hands of its student employees. The Daily Nebraskan
strives to print fair and accurate coverage; any corrections or
clarifications will fee printedxH*page>three.
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