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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 19, 2001)
Daily Nebraskan Monday, February 19,2001
Editor Sarah Baker
Opinion Page Editor Jake Glazeski
Managing Editor Bradley Davis
Is that all?
Small number of chancel lor
finalists cause for concern
Two chancellor candidates are mulling
whether they want the top seat at the University
of Nebraska-Iincoln this week.
After NU President Dennis Smith announced
the finalists for the chancellor position - Interim
Chancellor Harvey Perlman and University of
Minnesota Regent William Hogan - we’re left
with one question?
Where are the rest?
Don’t get us wrong-we’re not saying that both
Hogan and Perlman aren’t the best candidates to
lead this university. But in a Daily Nebraskan
story, Joe Rowson, NU spokesman, said he
expected six or so names to be forwarded to
Smith by the chancellor search committee.
But on Monday, Smith let out the names; and
the list was down to two.
Of course, the short list isn’t really so short
when compared to the last time UNL searched
for a chancellor. In 1995, former Chancellor
James Moeser was a finalist with only two other
out tne discrepancy in Kowson s and bmitn s
numbers leads us to wonder whether the actual
pool was bigger and why more candidates
weren't included in the final cut
A couple weeks ago, the Omaha World-Herald
announced that it was pressing the university to
release the names of all the finalists, saying state
public records law required the university to
hand over the list of finalists it was pouring over
and planning to interview.
Smith promptly released the list a few days
later. The World-Herald was clearly anxious to
get its hands on the list only the chancellor’s
search committee had access to.
But we’re wondering if the paper’s drive to get
die information led to the university making its
decision on the finalists in haste and some
potential candidates dropping out because of
It’s obvious why a candidate would want their
names kept under wraps qntil they have
advanced into the last stages of the interview
After the university found out its own Moeser
was a candidate for the University of Florida
presidency position last year, speculation that
Moeser was looking to leave the university
spread. He took the top job at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill instead a few
It’s understandable why The World-Herald -
or any news organization - would want to know
what’s going on behind closed doors at the chan
cellor's search committee meetings. But we won
der whether the World-Herald’s push to get
names actually hurt the search process.
Other questions arise as well. When it came
down to it, maybe the six or so who were being
considered decided the position wasn’t worth
enough to go through the interview and dropped
out when they got the offer to be on the short list
When Moeser said he was leaving the
University of Nebraska, he said the position
would be attractive to applicants and would
draw talented candidates.
But issues still remain when it comes to
recruiting talented administrators to the state.
Pay is one of the biggest ones. The University of
Nebraska-Lincoln paid Moeser $180,000- a drop
in the bucket compared to what chancellors and
presidents across the nation make.
The short list is final now, and both candi
dates’ appearance on campus will be widely
But we’re interested to know if we’re missing
Sarah Baker, Jeff Bloom, Bradley Davis, Jake Glazeski, -
Matthew Hansen, Samuel McKewon, Kimberly Sweet
The My Nebraskan welcomes brief letters to the ecltor and guest columns, but does not guaan
tee their publcalion. The Daly Nebraskan retains the right toed# or reject any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of the Daly Nebraskan and cannot be returned. Anonymous
submissions wM not be pubfehed. Those who submit letters must identify themselves by name,
year to school, major and/or group affifation, if any.
Sub0* material to: Daly Nebraskan, 20 Nebraska Union, 1400 R St Lincoln, NE 68588-0448
Unaigned edtoriais are Ire opinions of the Spring 2001 Daly Nebraskan. They do not necessarty
reflect the views of the University of Nebraska-Uncoln, its employees, its student body or the
Urtverely of Nebraska Board of Regents. A column is solely the opinion of its author a cartoon is
soMy the opinion of to artist. The Board of Regents acts as pubisher of the Daly Nebraakan; pofr
cy is set by the Daly Nebraskan Edtorial Board. The UNL Publications Board, estabished by the
regents, aiptrviees Ihe production of the paper. According to policy set by the regents, reaponai
bflty far the edtottt content of the newspaper las solely in the hands of Kb empioyeea
Behind closed doors
“The government being
the people's business, it nec
essarily follows that its oper
ations should be at all times
open to the public view.
Publicity is therefore as
essential to honest adminis
iranon as jreeaom oj speecn
is to representative govern
- William Jennings
Last week, a controversy erupted over a sug
gestion Timothy McVeigh made in a letter pub
lished by the Sunday Oklahoman.
McVeigh, observing the problems prison offi
cials were having in finding room for relatives of
his victims (more than 250) to view his execution,
suggested that "a reasonable solution seems obvi
ous: hold a true public execution.” (OWH,
Predictably, Bureau of Prisons spokesman
Dan Dunne said: "It hasn't been considered. It
won't happen.” (OWH, 2/11/01) Instead, the
prison system will set up a closed-circuit televi
sion system for the relatives to view McVeigh's
many newspaper commentators oppose
showing McVeigh's execution publicly because
they believe it is playing into his vision of himself
as a martyr.
Of course, it's bad policy to promote general
rules based on exceptional instances. The “nor
mal" convicted murderer is certainly not happy
about being executed and would probably be
adverse to having his death seen by all.
Id fact, public executions have gained support
from people oi\both sides of the political spec
trum, including liberals such as Jesse Jackson and
Nat Hentoff and conservatives such as George
Will and James Philip (President of the Illinois
By turning from an unusual instance
(McVeigh) to a general policy applied to all con
victed murderers, it seems clear that both sup
porters and opponents of capital punishment
should favor public executions.
Supporters of capital punishment are moti
vated by a variety of factors, but at least publicly
they espouse three reasons for their belief that the
death penalty is justified: deterrence, “closure" for
victims and retribution.
The idea that the death penalty deters future
murders has never been supported by a shred of
evidence (in fact, recent studies show that 10 of
the 12 states without it have homicide rates below
the national average, even when one controls for
demographic differences), but.even if it somehow
does prevent crime, presumably, deterrence
could only take place if people know about it
Public executions would increase public
awareness that evil people get what’s coming to
them and would thereby increase the deterrence
effect of capital punishment generally.
A belief in "closure” also should entail a belief
in capital punishment. The victims of a crime
include far more than one’s close relatives; they
include friends, coworkers and the public in gen
eral (often we hear about how a murder was a *
crime against an entire community). By this logic,
the more people able to view the murderer’s exe
cution, the more "closure” will be available.
And for those who believe in some cosmic
notion of retribution or justice, public executions
will have the exact same effect in ensuring that
the offender gets what he or she deserves. For
those who believe that capital punishment is
unjust, the major objections (e.g., its violation of
religious law or its racist and classist application)
are not changed by having public executions.
Some concerned citizens, except those who
support a deterrence rationale, may be afraid that
it will make the public bloodthirsty or that it will
harm children emotionally. But death by lethal
injection, for example, is tame compared to the
gruesome deaths we can all see on cable televi
sion or in comic books or, for that matter, on
“Faces of Death," available in most rental outlets.
Like tne public s choice tor ail other forms of
media, those who wouldn’t want to watch it
wouldn’t be forced to.
There is, however, an important benefit to
having public executions: increased awareness of
exactly what the government is (or is not) doing.
There is often much confusion over what hap
pens during executions: Does the convict feel
pain? What exactly were his last words? Was the
execution team gentle or rough?
According to some reports, inmates have
burst into fire during electrocution or gone into
convulsions after lethal injection; if denied by
prison officials, how do we know who is telling the
truth? Allowing the media access to executions
would solve these problems.
According to Justice Brandeis, “Publicity is
justly commanded as a remedy for social and
industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best
of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient
Government action, especially action that is
so potentially fraught with abuse such as capital
punishment, needs to be in the public’s view.
Justice cannot exist in a world of lies or in a world
When prison officials refuse to even consider
the idea of public executions, one wonders what
exactly they are afraid of.
As Camus said, “One must kill publicly or con
fess that one does not feel authorized to kill.”
plastic chair. You
are there. You are
In a room,
noat on top oi i
the mercury in -
their glass box. .
It never fails, ^^J^jamen
I can catch her in
the breeze. Poetry in the slices of sum
mer sun that filter through the thick fog
of winter. Collapsed is the season,
tucked away in a closet like an old
The candle I lit grows. It is bobbing
in the air - jabbing at the sky. Maybe it
wants to go home. The snow outside
drips like blood from die branches and
tree limbs that tear into the flesh of the
The drops are like little storms, left
by mother, glimpses of spring as they
fall, trickle down the invisibility like
pieces of the
shattered dia- 11
mond sky. I am He
static in the air, questioned,
reveTberaUng jUSt OS / OMC6
around my did, and
^He stretch- through it, he
es his legs back has found the
around the fa[0f his
were giraffes’ OWn heart
necks. The which Will
afloat in is stale! "'O' him.
It is warm with beyond his
the buzz of moments of
I sit on the faithless
desk. I walk the doubting.
concrete out- _
side. I am here,
where I want to be. Walking away - in
my silent nobility. My feet seem to push
to each step - and me, I'somehow fol
My shadow grows long - to be sized
up, like meat, and cut by the night. I
tread upon the wisps of flowers’ hair
that dust the wind. Into the sun I ven
ture - maybe I am not fading, but
becoming just as brilliant
I steal all that I can. I have to hold as
much as I can close to me, for I need
them to travel, to go where I am going.
“What is faith?” he asked. A pro
found question, I suppose. What is it to
have faith? What is it to believe in
something? To instill in a being or a
presence - instill in a fairy tale - the
very essence of which that fairy tale is
to be the creator of?
Isn’t it ironic that to have faith, we
must give it to that which is already?
"What is faith?" he asked. Faith, I
believe, is the unseen. It is the inexpli
cable. Faith accounts for the things that
don’t exist - the feelings we cannot
experience. Faith is of the sensations
we touch not. Faith is of the whispers
we hear not - the words we speak not
Faith is not to be known.
raiui is iu iciuaiu 111 me siiem
ocean of the poetic chaos of the duality
of man. Faith is to define, to draw the
lines between peace and war. To make
left and right, black and white. This is
faith. Faith is to draw out the long blade
and dig into the bade hide of the human
mind as if it were two lovers carving
their initials in some aged tree’s flesh.
With faith, we do not understand -
we have no answers. When he asked
God to tike him if there was no God, he
lived because his belief in God was
stronger than he would ever know.
This is faith because faith is the
blind beggar with his hand out
stretched into the shadows of the stiff,
“What is faith?” he asked. What it is,
is that he already knew and understood
faith in a sense which he could not
adapt into his reality.
He questioned, just as I once did,
and through it, he has found the faith of
his own heart which will carry him
beyond his moments of faithless
doubting. When I reach the horizon, I
find myself all alone with the provoked
and now settled sun.
I dare not look over my shoulder -1
don’t - but instead take a prominent,
definite, brash step into the seasoned
salts of the seas that spill below with
the setting of the sun.
I step out onto the lip of the dawn. I
unfold outward, rolling toward the
edges of existence. The cold breathes. It
is raw and dry. I think about him almost
The jagged night with the twinkling
lights in the periphery of my thoughts. I
wish, sometimes, to just break down
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