The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 08, 2001, Image 1

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February 8,2001
Volume 100
Issue 104
Since 1901
A high-speed train
between Lincoln and
Omaha hits a slow-down
In News/3
A monster game from
Cookie propels the
Huskers past a tough
Oklahoma State
In SportsThursday/12
Mylow, comprised of UNL
students, make music
tonight at the Grove
In Arts/8
Minuses could boost reputation
■The administrator heading the tran
sition says the new grading system
won't be implemented this semester.
University faculty members hope to
increase academic rigor and up the ante
on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s
public perception with the Academic
Senate’s Tuesday approval of a plus-minus
grading system.
But two days after the senate’s adop
tion of the system, faculty members are
pondering how a few kinks will be worked
out before it’s implemented.
The system would move from a 9
point scale with a half-point reduction for
each letter grade lower than an A, to a 13
point scale with a third of a point reduc
tion for each letter grade lower than an A.
It was proposed to the senate by
English Professor James Ford in
Associate Agronomy and Horticulture
Professor and Chairman of the senate's
Grading and Examinations Committee,
Don Lee, said he was concerned about the
C- grade, assigned a GPA of 1.67. Currently,
students must maintain a C average, or 2.0
GPA, to stay off academic probation.
“I think it’s important for teachers to
recognize that a C- doesn’t mean a low C, it
means below a C,” he said. “That cutoff has
some pretty important implications.”
One solution solve the
problem was to lower the minimum per
formance level from 2.0 to a 1.67, he said.
Lee said he also disagreed with the
example percentage distribution pro
posed by the senate. Under the senate’s
example, a 93 percent to a 100 percent is
Lee encouraged professors to establish
their own percentage scale pertaining to
letter grades instead.
“Teachers need to do some good
thinking ahead of time,” he said.
Earl Hawkey, director of Records and
Registrations, the office that would put the
system into action, said implementation
and cost of the system was still up in the
“We have no plans at this point,” he
said. "We have no budget at this point”
He said when the plan was implement
ed, it would be at the beginning of an aca
demic year. He said the system would def
initely not be adopted this semester or this
The motives behind the move, Ford
said, were to move to a more standardized
system of grading, to provide professors
with more grading options and to decrease
grade inflation.
He said that as the university stood
now, too many students were graded at
above-average levels, leading to grade
inflation. He said distinction between low
and high percentage letter grades should
be more defined.
"There is some evidence that plus
minus does stop continuous grade infla
tion,” he said.
He said the new system should drive
students to work harder and be proud of
that work.
Please see GRADES on 5
A new scale
The new grading scale will
add pluses and minuses and
change the corresponding
point values.
Current minus
grading grading
scale scale
A+ 4.00 A+ 4.00
A 4.00 A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.50 B+ 3.33
B 3.00 B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.50 C+ 2.33
C 2.00 C 2.00
C- 1.67
F 0.00 F 0.00
Jerry Morgan/DN
The Reunion
building at 16th
and W streets
sits empty. The
building was
used as an inde
pendent stu
dent union and
more recently
for university
art classes.
Jennifer Lund/DN
A near empty building sits on the comer of 16th
and W streets.
Students who pass under the flickering neon
sign rarely pause to wonder what secrets the build
ing holds.
But 10 years ago, the Reunion - as the building
was known then and is known today - was the
place to be.
Built in 1925, the building has housed a watch
factory, various warehouses and a food court.
Today, it’s empty. But traces of its storied histo
ry remain in bits and pieces throughout.
For three years during the late 1980s and early
1990s, the Reunion played an integral part of
University of Nebraska-Lincoln student life.
Jason and Shannon Jenkins, both 1995 UNL
graduates, remember the time they spent at the
“It had a little of everything,” Jason Jenkins
said. "Mostly it was a place to grab a bite to eat”
David Hunter, president of the Hardy Building
Corporation, transformed the building into a pri
vately owned student union.
“We felt those services were needed on that
part of the campus,” Hunter said.
Complete with food vendors such as The
Plump Tomato Pizza Company and Joyce’s Subs &
Pizza, the building served as competition for the
Nebraska Union.
Hunter received a license to sell beer in the
Reunion’s food court, the Daily Nebraskan report
ed in 1990.
University officials questioned the conse
quences of such a license, but Hunter gained the
support of the Association of Students of the
University of Nebraska.
“There was a huge issue about alcohol on cam
pus,” Jenkins said. “Everyone was talking about it.”
No one was allowed to buy more than one beer
at a time, Hunter told the Daily Nebraskan in 1990,
and no pitchers were sold.
Beer was sold in one area of the building, called
“The Pub,” which catered to students of all ages,
but a metal fence separated those who had sur
passed the magical age of 21.
The Reunion was open as a union for three
years until it was decided there was a better use for
the space, Hunter said.
The university rented the upper floor of the
building in July 1989 and used it for storage for
Morrill Hall, the NU State Museum.
UNL purchased the building in 1997 from the
University Foundation, which purchased the
building initially, said Linda Cowdin, UNL
Property Manager.
Today, the first floor sits vacant. But traces of art
students who used the building as a makeshift
workspace while Richards Hall was under con
Please see REUNION on 5
As Sen. Kermit Brashear of Omaha sees it, the
Legislature has two options - allow an “imperfect”
law to “whither on the vine” or perform a “mercy
killing” to better the state.
Brashear’s spirited remarks were part of testi
mony heard Wednesday on LB485, a bill that
would abolish the Campaign Finance Limitation
The limiting act, enacted in 1990, is a one-of-a
kind creation because it sets voluntary limits on
campaign spending. Other states and the federal
government have taken up the campaign finance
debate on the contribution side of the issue.
Brashear, who introduced the bill aimed at
repealing the finance act, said Nebraska shouldn’t
laud its unique law.
Rather, he said the state should do away with
the act to avoid further embarrassment
“They (spending limits) make Nebraska
appear to be an economically pathetic backwa
ter,” he said.
r The senator is so adamant about his cause he
has also challenged the law in court.
Late last year, Brashear, who also practices law
privately, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Randy Ferlic,
a recently elected University of Nebraska regent.
In his quest for a regent seat, Ferlic dumped
$300,000 into his campaign dwarfing the financial
efforts of his opponent, Rosemary Skrupa.
Ferlic’s suit, which hasn’t hit die courts, main
tains the Nebraska law violates his First
Amendment right of freedom of speech.
If Nebraska doesn’t repeal the law, Brashear
said the courts would soon force the state to kill it.
“When litigated with finality,” similar limits
never make the cut in court, he said.
Jack Gould, a spokesman for Common Cause
Nebraska, a political watchdog group, wasn’t con
vinced the Nebraska law was destined for failure.
In fact, he lauded the statue, which gives can
Please see CAMPAIGN on 5
Students: No to new grades
Joel Schafer, ASUN president, said many unan
swered questions remain surrounding the grade
changes. ASUN passed a bill Wednesday that recom
mends Academic Senate inform students about the
changes that would occur.
Students are concerned about changes to their
transfer credits, scholarships and the minimal aca
demic standards for good conduct, Schafer said.
Many students are against the changes to the
grading system, Schafer said.
MA lot of students are upset about the changes in
academic grading,” he said.
ASUN did not support the grade system changes,
he said. But many students think the Association of
Students of the University of Nebraska encouraged
the changes, Schafer said.
“A lot of rumors are going around with students,”
he said. “There's a lot of misinformation out there.”
In November, ASUN defeated a bill that recom
mended a change from a plus system to a plus-minus
grading system.
Schafer said he understood some students were
upset, but said the issue had to be dealt with eventual
“I know this is tough for students to stomach,” he
said “But I think it’s something that was on the hori
zon. It was going to happen; it was just a matter of
In other news, a bill was passed that would send
the Government Liaison Lobbyist chairman to push
for a bill that aims to lessen workplace discrimination.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha will present LB19
to the legislature. The bill would add the words “sexu
al orientation” to Nebraska’s employment nondis
crimination act.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln includes sex
ual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy.
Angela Clements, Human Rights Committee
chairwoman, said discrimination in the workplace
was still a big problem in this country.
“It’s important becausetn 38 states it’s legal for
people to be fired because of sexual orientation,” she
Seth Botone, left, and Shane Geraghty, members of the Xtreme team, perform their aerial dunking routine during halftime of the
Nebraska-Okiahoma State men's basketball game Wednesday evening at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.