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BACK IN the day before his uber-politico status, Tom Bednar was my editor. He taught me the cardinal rule of op-ed writing: Never let "I" or emotions play too big a role in an article. I listened to him for two and a half years. Now it's time to break the rules.
DURING his 2000 State of the University speech, President John T. Casteen III relayed a quote by John Ciardi: "A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students." Casteen claims that's not what the University is now, and it's not where it's heading, yet many actions of this University have indicated precisely the opposite.
MONEY. Some call it the root of all evil, but in the College of Arts and Sciences it has become a vital issue in the quest for a new dean. The faculty overwhelmingly has declared that the new dean of the College must be able to raise a significant amount of cash for the College's capital campaign.
THE DAY after the presidential election, the partisan lines were drawn across our nation and the map was permanently dyed in electoral shades of blue and red. It was a stark picture the networks showed us - a country split between two parties, two men, two ideologies. This picture was not only oversimplified and overstated, but it also created a grievous misconception about our nation: that these are colors that define us and divide us.
SHE WAS walking to her door, probably fumbling with her keys, arms full of groceries, when it happened. It could have been anyone walking through this particular hallway at the wrong time - we all carry tons of groceries home, making noise in the hall, perhaps sweating a little under the weight of milk, juice, food. What we don't expect is to be attacked by a vicious dog a few feet from the safety of home. Diane Whipple died that day - mauled by a rare Presa Canario Mastiff that lived next door. It's up to the courts who's at fault - who should have known about the dangerous capacity of these dogs, and who should have kept them restrained.
EVER LISTEN to the comments in a crowd? This particular crowd said things like "Wait! I need my arm!" and "I can't breathe!" "Ouch" and "cut it out" were popular as well, but my favorite was "I hate every person at this #$!&ing University who didn't camp out and is in front of me right now!"
SEXY LEGS or not, Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon's comment about Condoleezza Rice was inexcusable. Some may consider his acknowledgement of an attractive female to be a non-issue, but for millions of women breaking down barriers in the professional world, his off-hand remark proves there are still many obstacles to overcome.
PART OF the Republican mantra is that people should be trusted with their own money first, and turn it over to the government second. The appropriate time to turn it over is the tricky part, and should be the sole motivation for a possible tax cut by the Bush administration.
PICTURE this: a board meeting. The new recruit, fresh out of U.Va., is busily scribbling, taking note of everything important. The boss finishes his talk, then turns to the table for suggestions. He needs help - the company just realized their toughest competitor is planning to steal their government contract.
OUR NEW president has an aggressive agenda for his first days in office, but so far his major announcements have been in the area of domestic affairs. The U.S. is not Texas, however, and President Bush must immediately turn his focus outward as well. For one area of the world in particular, timing is essential. Bush must mimic some of the past administration's actions while avoiding some of its mistakes, all the while walking in the political minefield of the Middle East with little foreign policy experience.
IT'S LIKE the national Catholic anthem this time of year. Every Sunday, four weeks in a row, right before Christmas, Catholic churches everywhere will sing "O Come All Ye Faithful." Families have huge meals of ham and turkey and brightly colored cookies. Ornaments adorn twinkling Christmas trees - symbols of "evergreen" life. Children eat candy canes - hooks shaped like a shepherd's staff and decorated in white and red to symbolize the pure whiteness of Christ's birth and the blood shed at his crucifixion. At mass a priest lights the next candle on the Advent wreath, and one more week will be marked off the long wait for a special birthday that occurred long ago in a land far, far away.
EVERYONE has heard the adage "publish or perish" whether or not they are a member of an academic community. Now some publications are threatening to perish the purpose of a university - education. The future of Virginia's universities teeters on the brink of questionable calculations of academic worth and resulting misplaced priorities.
THE MOST surprising yet least surprising thing said was, "No, really, we're sick of being first!" It's no wonder. They were the first mom in space, the first president of the WNBA, the first African-American woman at the law school, the only woman in the med school class, the only prominent female spokesperson for the Palestinian cause, one of the few female Admirals. These women are the pathmakers, and last Thursday they were honored as "Shapers of the World" by the University's Women's Center.
WELL YOU see, John Q. Public, it's complicated. That's what Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) and Vice President Al Gore have been telling us for well over a year. They would be happy to sit down and tell us the details of their plans for the power of the Oval Office, but it's too complicated to tackle in the short time we have today. (Add large honest smile.) Recently, however, someone called their bluff.
AS IN EVERY election, voters must put together a puzzle of issues, then choose the closest fit. This year's Virginia Senate race between Senator and former Governor Chuck Robb and former Governor George Allen is a particularly colorful puzzle giving voters clear choices in every issue except one: education.
FINALLY, an intelligent, exciting plan for encouraging diversity comes out of the administration. The new International Residence College on Sprigg Lane will not only accomplish the mission set out for it, it will develop an entirely new, more appropriate mentality for the future of the University.
SEPTEMBER 22 marked the first day of fall, three months until winter, 12 inches of snow in Wyoming, and 46 days until the presidential election. It also meant an average of $1.62 per gallon for gas and $38 per barrel for oil. For President Clinton, all these numbers added up to two very large sums: 30 million and $400 million.
THE CRY goes up in class: "Does everyone have a chair?" More often than not, the answer is no, and students are sent out into the hallways like daylight thieves. They creep from doorway to doorway in Cabell Hall, hoping to find a room without a class and with respectable desks that can be pilfered for an hour. They drag three or four back and the scraping begins - everyone pushing a little farther into corners or squishing a bit closer together. An hour later, some other student will sneak in and move the chairs around again.
FIRST-year students may think they are gaining more control over their lives when they leave home for school. Because of a recent proposal by the administration, however, that could change.
TO THE uninformed eye, a comparison of the construction on both sides of Alderman road looks horrible for the University. The stadium on the left is gorgeous and almost complete, waiting for its all-star debut this weekend. The other is besieged by construction delays and will remain empty until November 15 -- three months behind schedule -- pushing first-years into more crowded housing.