Posts Tagged IU

The commencement address you won’t hear

I wrote the following speech for a high level IU administrator to deliver at the 2001 commencement. Then I decided to share it with you readers instead.

Dear graduates,

Congratulations on reaching this milestone. Four or five (or in some cases six or more) years ago, you arrived in Bloomington to attend Indiana’s university, IU. For some reason you chose the remote Bloomington campus instead of our new main campus in Indianapolis.

We’re not sure how you lost the directions, because we have been making all major announcements from our media headquarters at the IUPUI campus an hour north of here, including some major announcements concerning our athletics programs in Bloomington. Of course, our general rule is that sad firings are announced in Indy, happy hiring announcements made in Bloomington.

Be that as it may, we are pleased you have completed your degree program and are moving on from Bloomington. This mass exodus will help free up apartments and dorm rooms for this fall’s incoming class, which probably will be the largest class in IU history.

There will not be enough dorm rooms or on-campus apartments for those who wish to live on campus, so we will arbitrarily reject all graduate students who apply to live on campus, in particular those who are moving here from Japan. They will be encouraged to live on the streets for the first several months until they find accommodations.

Enough of this focusing on the future. It is time to reflect upon the past and think about all the things that have happened in your time here. For example, did you realize that no large open space at IU has gone without construction while you were here? It took awhile, but we finally managed to dig into Woodlawn Field during spring break — so this summer it will be as muddy as Dunn Meadow. Amazingly, the Arboretum recovered from its sprinkler installation fairly quickly, although if you look closely you can see where some of the pipes were buried.

We’ve also managed to hang on to some of our other traditions — every April, like clockwork, we turn on the heating system and turn off the air conditioner, while in November we turn on the air conditioner and turn off the heat. With regularity like this, you will never need Milk of Magnesia, just lots of sweaters in the winter to help keep your fingers from turning blue.

You should also remember IU’s greatest tradition: parking operations. IU has managed to assemble the finest staff in the state, collecting $1.7 million a year from people who have parked illegally. This compares to the entire city of Indianapolis, which collects only $3 million a year from a population base 10 times larger. We can be proud of the efforts of these fine men and women, some of whom park illegally for lengthy periods of time in a valiant effort to ticket the rest of us. But for some reason, they never seem to get parking tickets.

Now a comment about our student body government: A corner appears to have been turned! We have now had a few clean IUSA elections in a row. Unethical behavior by student leader candidates is at an all-time low. We are striving to eliminate all unethical behavior in the future, but until we can manage to change the rules governing the fee review committee, the IUSA president will still chair the committee that decides what fees students are charged, including, conveniently, the fee that IUSA charges.

Which brings me to a closing thought; this would not be a commencement address if I did not ask you to remember IU as you continue through life. We ask that you keep your mailing address on file with the IU Alumni Association and with the IU Foundation, as they will mail you special announcements about alumni and foundation events. Examples of such events include golf events at $85 per person and special fundraising campaigns to help boost the Bloomington Academic Endowment Campaign over its $350 million goal. We ask that you make your checks payable to the “Indiana University Foundation,” and mail them often, or remember to donate frequently online. Remember, every cent counts.

Thank you for your attention and congratulations on your graduation. We know that your time here was well spent.

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IU must be held responsible

The recent discovery that someone downloaded 3,230 names and Social Security numbers, including mine, from the Bursar’s computerized records has shaken my confidence in IU. What upsets me most about the situation is the amount of time that passed between discovery and notification. In my case a total of 18 days passed between the time my information was compromised and the time I received the letter telling me that an unknown user had downloaded my name and Social Security number.

What is additionally upsetting is that the Bursar’s office kept this information within its office until Feb. 20 — a full 14 days after they discovered this information. Only then did the staff tell the University administration — 14 days during which mass publicity could have put the University on alert and helped us protect and safeguard ourselves.

Without a doubt, the Bursar’s office let down the 3,230 students whose names were compromised.

The initial letter I got from the Bursar offered no apologies, no details and no real assistance, other than two Web addresses. It was the news stories that came out after the letters that started to provide additional information — the dates of break-in, the number of students involved and the assurance the problem has been fixed.

Let me say right now I am glad the problem has been fixed, but I am still dismayed at the response of the Bursar’s office and of IU administration in general. As such, I believe IU must take tangible actions to assure students this will not happen again and that there is genuine concern on the part of the administration, as opposed to platitudes that came out in the first few days. It was not until Wednesday at the meeting organized by the Graduate Student Organization that I heard anyone from the administration apologize.

This type of incident has happened before at IU and other universities, including the University of Utah. The major difference between IU’s response and that of the University of Utah to a similar situation seems to be the level of caring. At the University of Utah, exposure happened two and a half years ago, and involved more than 23,300 students, faculty and staff. The university contacted local media even before sending out letters, to give people a heads up.

Here’s my proposed deal with affected students — it is a plan that will help assuage the fears of those students whose information was compromised and a plan that will help send strong signals to University staff members.

  • IU should provide free credit reports to affected students twice a year for the next seven years, if not longer. This step will help assure affected students IU is being responsible for its gross error — and minimize student costs associated with a mistake beyond their control. It will also bring peace of mind to many affected students.
  • Additionally, IU should compensate students for the time they have spent working on protecting their names. I would estimate that each student spent about four hours on the phone calling credit card companies and checking their credit reports, and at an average rate of roughly $10 an hour, or $40 each. This is real time people have lost from other productive uses of time.
  • IU should eliminate student Social Security numbers from the University’s computer systems. There is no need to have these numbers as identifiers on Bursar accounts. There is certainly no need to put them on rosters and to use them in computer systems. I realize students at the forum were told new identification numbers were going to be issued in two years, but this could actually be implemented by the end of the semester, if the University wanted. The only place IU needs to use Social Security numbers is on federal financial documents.
  • IU must reprimand the Bursar. I realize Susan E. Cote is not directly responsible (University Information Technology Services has taken blame for the actual breach), but she is ultimately responsible for everything that happens through her office. This step will help send a strong and significant message to all University staff and faculty who have access to Social Security numbers that they will be held accountable for their mistakes.

IU can learn a lot of lessons from this mistake, and I do believe it was just a mistake. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

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Correction: During the editing process an error was introduced to this column, and the following correction was printed on March 6, 2001:

“An opinion column, `IU must be held responsible,’ (March 2) contained misinformation.  The bursar took responsibility for the breach of its database.  The IDS regrets this error.”

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IUSA campaign season upon us again

Starting this week, we will be assaulted by candidates in the IU Student Association elections, which will be held later this spring. As a veteran observer of people running for office in student governments (this is my ninth year of collegiate experience), I am willing to bet that, like the last eight student government elections, people are going to run on unimportant issues, nonissues and issues about which they could not make a difference if they really wanted to.

So instead of settling for somebody who pledges to lower tuition (something IUSA will never really change, but the state legislature might), or a group that promises to increase IU’s national ranking, think about issues student government can have an effect on and vote for the people who want to make a positive difference in our daily lives as students.

With that in mind, the key issue for any IUSA administration will be the infamous bus plan. I am a strong supporter of the bus plan, but from what was promised to what was implemented, it has been badly fumbled. The next leader of IUSA must be committed to getting the bus plan we were promised at a reasonable price. This isn’t rocket science. Whether you walk, ride, drive, take a bicycle or levitate across campus, the bus plan will benefit everyone once properly implemented.

But the rest of the details are important: rather than pledging to decrease tuition, IUSA needs to focus on real problems and offer solutions that are within grasp. So here are some simple ideas for tickets to work on:

Why do we pay $19 if we register for classes by phone? Does it really cost the Registrar more than if we trek to Franklin Hall and register in person? I’d bet it costs the Registrar less to have us register by phone, so why are we paying $19 to do this? IUSA should work on eliminating this silly fee.

The litter problem around campus needs to be addressed. More garbage cans along popular pathways and more frequent pickups of cans that overflow would be a start. Or how about working on getting the sand cleaned up after the snow has melted? During the winter, there is more than enough sand on the sidewalks around campus to fill the sandboxes of every kid in the county.

It would be nice if IUSA took the time to convince the campus physical plant to mow and water lawns at times other than lunch time. People like to sit outside and enjoy the expansive green spaces on campus, and there is no reason they should acquire a wet bottom when they sit down, or be pushed away by lawn mowers.

Another issue, and you might laugh at this one, but we do need more pencil sharpeners around campus.

We need an activist IUSA that reaches out to faculty and staff to encourage amicable relationships among everybody on campus.

IUSA needs to push for a safer campus: better lighting and snow shoveling along key pathways.

Better food options in the main library’s cafeteria and reasonable heating and air conditioning of classrooms across campus: It’s hard to learn if you’re sweating or freezing.

The election rules this year, as in previous years, seem a bit insane, so candidates probably cannot avoid violating them. Right now it is a bit early for an endorsement, because the scandals that can (and will) come about, have yet to materialize.

Some of the ideas discussed by the parties that have already declared their candidacy seem good. Of course, there are still several weeks before the election. More parties will probably appear and existing parties can (and probably will) put their feet in their mouths.

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Finding a Common Purpose

If bad things happen in threes, IU is due for another catastrophe.

The University has already lost two prominent men in the year 2000, and neither experience has been pleasant or pretty.

The first catastrophe was the death of a man who meant much to IU — Herman B Wells. Wells defined IU. He built the University from an average state school to a world-class institution known around the world.

The second catastrophe, of course, was the firing of former coach Bob Knight. Knight defined IU to the rest of the world. Without him, it is likely IU would be a world-class school with the low profile of St. Olaf or Dartmouth, unknown outside the state.

Without either of these men, IU would be a vastly different place.

Wells, during his tenure at IU (starting in 1921), built up the University, setting a number of precedents that put IU at the forefront of higher education. As a strong supporter of the School of Music, Wells made a concerted effort to ensure IU had one of the best music schools in the world.

He also made IU a good campus, where students could live and study comfortably. For example, as University president he helped oversee the expansion of the Indiana Memorial Union. In 1957, under Wells’ leadership, the IMU remodeled the bowling alley and the Commons.

Wells also left a strong natural legacy by creating a beautiful campus. He consistently opposed cutting down trees in Dunn Woods and building over the Jordan River.

He made important strides in integrating the campus, putting African Americans and other minorities in the classrooms together with non-minority students. IU was the first University in the Big Ten to have African-American athletes because Wells thought it should be so. If we remember Wells for only one reason, it ought to be this one.

The linkage between Wells and Knight was the library. In five years, IU will no longer have the Main Library, but instead the Herman B Wells Library. It’s a fitting tribute to a man who requested money be donated to “The Herman B Wells Acquisition Fund” for the libraries instead of flowers for his memorial.

Bob Knight supported the libraries as well, making donations each year and by creating “The Bob Knight Library Endowment,” which has more than $1 million.

Ironically, Knight’s firing allowed IU to remove one more major racial barrier at IU. Mike Davis has become IU’s first black head men’s basketball coach. This is a significant step in the integration of the IU campus, and something of which Wells would be proud.

The loss of these two men was bad for the heart and soul of IU, whether you liked either one. One clearly represented the heart and soul of the University to those of us here, while the other represented the vibrant image of the University to the world. One was key in making IU a world-class institution, while the other made sure people all across the United States knew IU existed.

It is important for universities to have somebody or something to rally around or about. Everybody rallied around Wells — I remember telling my friends about the first time I was in the same room with him. Everybody rallied around Knight, debating whether he should be our basketball coach and whether he was good for the University.

To lose both of these prominent men in the same year is an unfortunate thing. It means we are left without our beloved University chancellor and an irascible general.

Right now it appears IU doesn’t really have anything to rally around. In a few months, once the furor over Knight has completely died down, we will have neither of these strong figures. We will be left looking for common ground.

It will be difficult to find: Myles Brand does not endear that same kind of support. Neither does the retiring Kenneth Gros Louis.

There doesn’t appear to be anybody who can fill the role both Knight and Wells performed so well. There are no burning issues for students on this campus to rally around or debate in a meaningful way. One can hardly call the campus parking problem, for example, a burning issue.

Until we can again find that unity in a prominent leader or on a particular issue, the IU community might be a bit aimless in its purpose and direction.

Without that sense of purpose, we are lost.

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A Love Hate Relationship

I have a love-hate relationship with Bloomington. I hate the heat and humidity of this quiet Midwestern town, but I love the vibrancy and spirit this city has. It’s the latter that keeps me happy. And it’s going to be a September to remember in this place I now call home.

It started Friday with a trip to the Live it Up Late Nite at the Indiana Memorial Union, where I got a wonderful character sketch by a local artist, free with a student ID. She managed to capture me perfectly, and I now have an awesome present for my parents, although the parental units will probably only get a copy. I like the original too much to give it away.

I wandered next door and watched Full Frontal Comedy, a group of IU students who do comedy sketches about life in the world and at IU. It’s the latter that is particularly impressive. Friday night in a discussion of Napster, the group managed to get several sacred IU cows ‘ including Myles Brand ‘ in compromising positions.

The group is Bloomington’s best and brightest star on the improv comedy circuit. Its willingness to take on hot potato issues makes members leading cutting-edge observers of the city and campus. They outdo all the columnists in The Herald-Times and the IDS, so go see them before you leave this campus.

During the weekend, I wandered downtown for another Bloomington event: the Fourth Street Festival, an annual arts festival held every Labor Day Weekend. This particular festival reminds me of how far I have to go in life.

My apartment is filled with the typical trashy furniture and bad poster art you would expect from a college student. But at the festival, I discovered real art that I want on my wall, starting cheap ($50 for a photograph) and soaring to the expensive (thousands of dollars).

But even at the cheap end, this art is beyond my budget. I’m at a stage in which $50 is better spent on my electric bill or trips to the grocery store. But it was free to look and free to enjoy. My favorite items were the huge, hanging glass ornaments, so huge that even if I could casually drop a few hundred dollars for one, I wouldn’t have a place to put it in my apartment.

What’s particularly impressive about all of this is that this is only the first weekend of September. There is more to come, with the best coming the last weekend of the month.

Saturday, we can enjoy the first IU football game of the season. IU will be host to North Carolina State. Women’s soccer will also compete in two games next weekend.

The last weekend of the month will bring us the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, arguably the best festival in Bloomington all year. This event is five days of musical performance by groups from around the world, capped on Friday and Saturday nights by live performances at seven stages around downtown. This is a great way to learn about bands from around the world, such as Wimme from Finland, Lila Downs from Mexico and Dhagha from India. This might not be the Backstreet Boys or Madonna, but you will appreciate the difference.

That brings me back to the beginning: my love-hate relationship with Bloomington. I hate the Midwestern heat and humidity. But the vibrant life that exists here makes this one awesome place to live. The trick is balancing the school books with the festivals, and that’s no easy feat.

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Moving thoughts

Being a nomad for several years, moving in and out of dorm rooms, my parents’ home and apartments, I have finally come to rest, not moving once this summer. That sedentary state has allowed me to enjoy something I have not been able to enjoy before: the spectacle of people moving.

Now I’m not sure whether the moving spectacle is a comedy or a drama. But I know from personal experience it can be a horror show for those involved ‘ either that or a comedy of errors.

My worst mistake in moving was not having a moving truck on the day I needed to move, and I felt lucky when I was able to find a U-Haul in Martinsville ‘ it was about three times the size of what I needed and much more expensive because I had forgotten to make a reservation. All of this occurred on a day when the temperature soared past 107 degrees, not counting the heat index.

But this seems mild compared to a problem I had not previously been aware of, although I could have fallen into this trap: temporary homelessness. This occurs when somebody’s lease expires before his or her next lease begins. This might be one of the worst possible things to happen to somebody, as they are compelled to find someplace to store all their stuff, and that’s often not easy.

It becomes a question of how many friends you are willing to impose upon, and how much free space your friends have to store your stuff. It’s doubtful a friend will be able to store an entire living room set, but they will find space for that 25-inch television. You also have to be careful that you keep your clothing together, because there is nothing worse than having taking a shower at Susan’s place, finding your pants, but discovering you left your underwear at John’s apartment, five blocks away.

So you resort to a suitcase with your clothing and a storage unit for your furniture, which really isn’t that bad a deal … or is it? At one storage company here in town, the smallest space goes for $25 a month, with a $15 nonrefundable processing fee. That’s pretty pricey for two days, and you can’t rent for less than a month.

Clearly there is a winner in this game: the companies that own storage units ‘ they must make a huge profit in August, the month when most of these temporary homelessness situations occur.

The dorm room experience is also interesting to watch and less exasperating for me because I no longer drive to work. There is nothing quite like watching an incoming dorm resident, especially a freshman whose parents don’t really want to see their offspring leave the nest. Upon arrival into town, 10th Street becomes unbelievably clogged with cars as traffic crawls to a complete halt. This is probably the one day a year that campus has a legitimate traffic nightmare.

I realize it’s not amusing for the people involved and that it is quite stressful, but I remember the first time I moved into a dorm room: The elevators were rickety and I brought too much crap. Of course, not everybody at IU has the benefits of an elevator; a lot of people at IU have to haul their stuff up the stairs, one large object at a time. It’s moments like these that you suddenly appreciate the 13-inch television and the beanbag chair your friends brought instead of that 35-inch television and EZ-Boy recliner you brought.

Of course, the whole scenario starts up again next May when people move out of the dorms and apartments. What I constantly find amazing is how much more stuff I can acquire in a year and what took one trip to move this summer will take Mom and Dad two trips the next. I hope I will be on the sidelines yet again.

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Flag not appropriate for carnival

With so many choices last weekend, it was hard to pick what I wanted to do. I could go to the arts festival on the square, Taste of Bloomington at Showers Plaza, or the Fun Frolic at Memorial Stadium.

Naturally, with the kid in me, I chose to go to the Fun Frolic at the stadium, and it was like taking a step back in time. With bumper cars, a Ferris Wheel, and a Tilt-o-Whirl, there is strong evidence that the frolic stepped out of an age long-past when things were simpler, easier to understand, and out of touch with reality.

Yes, I mean out of touch with reality, for the Fun Frolic seems to present to its patrons the 1950s instead of the dawning of the 21st century, and I don’t mean in the good, idyllic “father knows best” kind of 1950s. I mean the KKK kind of ’50s, when America, and especially the south, was out of touch with the notion that all men are created equal, the kind of south that I thought really only existed in South Carolina today.

Yes, the Confederate flag was for sale either in the traditional form or as a t-shirt at the Fun Frolic.

This is the same flag that has provoked the NAACP to encourage a boycott of South Carolina until the flag is banished to a “clearly historical position,” far from the South Carolina State House Lawn. Although the boycott started with a tourism boycott, it is in the process of expanding to the movie industry, labor, and college athletics.

I suppose one could argue that the flag being for sale at the Fun Frolic is merely an example of reminding us of the Confederate heritage, however, there was at least one flag for sale with the phrase “the south will rise again.” Somehow, I doubt that the person who created the flag actually is in favor of equal rights for all, regardless of race.

The South Carolina Heritage Coalition argues that the flag for the past 37 years (which is as long as the Confederate Flag has flown atop the South Carolina state capitol) has not been a racial divider. Obviously some people are oblivious to what the flag symbolizes, just like the Fun Frolic.

The Confederate flag is not a flag that needs to be displayed willy-nilly and sold for “fun” at a carnival. It is a flag that is best left in museums and historical displays that convey the divisive message of the flag and ensure those that viewing the flag understand the many messages that it conveys.

The part of this that surprised me the most was that IU Child Care and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Monroe County, the two organizations that brought the Fun Frolic to Bloomington haven’t stopped the sale of Confederate Flag-emblazoned items at booths in Bloomington.

The part of this that saddens me the most is that Cumberland Valley, the people who own and operate the rides, would even stock these items in the first place. There is no need for these items to be sold at a family event anywhere in the world, not just Bloomington.

I don’t want people to think I don’t support IU Child Care or the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Monroe County, but I suggest you contact them and tell them you don’t want the Confederate Flag sold at future Fun Frolics.

IU Child Care can be reached via Campus Child Care Support Office — and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Monroe County’s phone number is.

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Elections without substance

Election season is upon us, and we’re not talking about the presidential primaries. We’re talking student government.

Wait. You didn’t realize that the IU Student Association elections are here?

If so, you are not alone, because for some reason the powers that be decided to move the elections up to the last day of February and first day of March from the previous time of late March, early April. To be honest, I’m not sure if this is a good or bad development.

What I can say is the IUSA elections this year sound an awful lot like a bunch of credit card commercials; not that the four tickets have been campaigning, but three of the four have named themselves in suggestive fashions.

Take “Platinum,” for example; that name alone sounds like three-quarters of the commercials I see on television for credit cards. “Blue” also sounds like a credit card — specifically the American Express Blue Credit Card; and between the two, that will leave you “POOR,” the third ticket running for IUSA.

I would have incorporated the fourth ticket in there, but their name, “CREW” doesn’t really sound like a credit card; but it does remind me that IU started a women’s crew team last fall out on Lake Lemon.

Of course, as is tradition with student governments across the country, whether at the high school or collegiate level, the candidates are running on unimportant issues, non-issues or issues where they have no chance of making any difference whatsoever.

Blue, for example, wants a “damp” campus; something that the rains last week were able to achieve in a short period of time. Of course, what they really want is a liberalized alcohol policy — something I am sympathetic toward. Unfortunately, it’s not an issue that IUSA can really tackle, making it a non-issue. What we really need is an effort on Capitol Hill to reverse the ill-effects of MADD and other organizations that fought to raise the drinking age to 21 and thought that by preventing access to adults under 21, you could solve the world’s multiple problems.

The folks running under the POOR banner want to reduce the cost of an IU education, and they appear to be focused on this goal with a single-mindedness that would make a baby trying to nurse look like an amateur. I do have to give them credit; they have recognized that IUSA doesn’t directly control tuition costs, which means they are running on an issue where they have little chance of making a difference whatsoever.

Platinum’s goal is “to inform students and to also get feedback from the student body, as a whole.” At least they have something in common with CREW, whose pointless platform is that they are running as a team and that IU needs more leadership. In short, these two tickets don’t really appear to have any substantive goals like Blue or POOR, which means they are running on truly unimportant issues.

I believe that student governments shouldn’t waste their time on issues on which they will only have limited effects.

Our student government should, instead, focus on quality of life issues on campus: more garbage cans to prevent littering, urging the people who maintain the lawns to avoid watering before or during the lunch hour, making sure that receptionists across campus are polite to students when answering the phone or greeting them at their desks or ensuring that students waiting to register for classes aren’t bored out of their gourds while waiting in line in Franklin Hall.

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Club sports full of action

I have to confess, I’ve never been an athlete, but I’ve always enjoyed going to sporting events — especially at the collegiate level. The fact that people are able to balance being a student and being an athlete constantly amazes me.

Yet there is a class of athlete at IU often overlooked in terms of its dedication and commitment. While it is one thing to watch Dane Fife and the rest of the Hoosiers tear up the basketball court in front of 17,000 fans, it is a far different story out at “The Frank” down by Bloomington South High School.

Each time the IU club hockey team plays a home game, attendance will never reach 17,000; it will never even reach 1,000, because the Frank Southern Ice Arena only holds 700 fans.

Participants in club sports are a far different breed of athlete from those intercollegiate athletes who perform at Assembly Hall or Memorial Stadium. Unlike intercollegiate athletes, club sport athletes don’t have the support network that members of the basketball, football or golf teams have.

Athletes of intercollegiate teams get academic counseling, funding and support from the IU administration. Athletes for club sports get little. Club hockey, for example, gets about $6,000 from Recreational Sports; a small percentage of the $50,000 it needs to run its sport each year.

Team members also have other grueling conditions to work under: antifreeze, for example.

Saturday night, about 7 minutes into the game against Michigan State, a pipe broke off of the ceiling and antifreeze poured onto the ice. Naturally, antifreeze and ice are a terrific combination if you’re talking about your car, but if you are trying to play a hockey game, troubled waters are ahead.

The game was delayed long enough that my friend and I went to Blockbuster and rented a movie instead, but not before we got into the hockey experience. It was disappointing to have an hour-long interruption in the game. Much of the crowd dispersed at the same time, wandering out the door and into the parking lot of the Frank Southern Center.

The athletes stayed behind to play the game.

Of course, this flood of antifreeze is another strong argument for the replacement of Frank Southern Center, an option that has been proposed for awhile, and had another delay, as announced in The Herald Times Feb. 5.

Bloomington announced in October it was going to build a new arena on the west side of town, off of State Road 37. It was supposed to open next fall, but because unexpectedly high infrastructure costs it has been postponed. The cost of building a road to the new facility could cost $1 million; accordingly, officials are trying to find alternatives, perhaps even a different site for the arena.

The goal is to open the new arena by September 2001.

In spite of all this, IU hockey has done well this year. The team is fourth in the Southeast American Collegiate Hockey Association rankings and is preparing to play host to the ACHA national championships at the beginning of March in Indianapolis.

IU has a number of club sport teams, for example; lacrosse, Water Polo and Jujitsu. All the players have to overcome a number of barriers to play and to be students at the same time.

Supporting these athletes is worth the time and effort. They appreciate fan attendance.

Check ’em out. Maybe even get involved, if you’re so inclined.

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Celebrate all holidays

Growing up as a child, my favorite holiday of the year was President’s Day: a three-day weekend in the middle of February while I was in elementary school. It was memorable, in part, because it was the one day a year my oldest sister and I hung out together.

Dinner on President’s Day was also always memorable. Mother would cook a gingerbread cake for dessert, and we would share Abraham Lincoln’s favorite dessert.

Somewhere along the way, we started celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day instead of President’s Day. No longer was I able to enjoy a three-day weekend in February because the school authorities decided we couldn’t have that many days off during the spring semester and still have an adequate education.

I don’t think they made the right decision. Part of being an American citizen is participating in American holidays, and President’s Day is one of the most important. The day is between the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington’s, arguably the two most important presidents in American history.

Other days are also important for celebration and reflection: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day.

IU only recognizes four American holidays: Martin Luther Jr. King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day, a fact that might come as a surprise to many people.

Take any new student who assumed we would not have school on Labor Day , a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. This is an important holiday because it celebrates the efforts of the common working individual. But IU has seen fit for students and faculty (but not staff — they have the day off) to work on this day.

We also miss Columbus Day, the day we choose to remember Christopher Columbus, who in 1492 sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and discovered what eventually became known as America. Whether you believe Columbus to be a hero, he is an individual certainly worth remembering. Again, everyone at IU spends this day in class or at work.

On Veterans’ Day, we celebrate the men and women who fought for the freedom of this nation during all the wars: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War, just to name a few. At IU, we do not spend the day remembering the men and women who have fought for our nation and died; we instead spend it in the classroom, doing our regular studies.

Which brings us full circle to examine the four days that we, as a university, have chosen to celebrate, starting with Independence Day. Without a doubt, this is the single-most important holiday on the American calendar. Commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, this day celebrates the independence of the United States of America from King George of England.

Thanksgiving is the next holiday on IU’s calendar, a day established by the pilgrims who came to America for religious freedom. Usually celebrated shortly after the fall harvest, this was a time to gather and celebrate. In most respects, this holiday celebrates the enduring American can-do spirit to overcome the greatest odds.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the newest national holiday on the calendar, added in 1983; this holiday celebrates the man who pushed for a fundamental change in the relationship between the races. The day offers many reminders of the distance we have traveled toward better race relations since the end of World War II, but it also reminds me of the distance we have yet to travel.

Memorial Day, established in 1948, is our designated day to remember those who have died fighting in wars. This is, without a doubt, another important American holiday: a day to pause and reflect upon those who really have paid the ultimate price for your and my freedom.

But is any one holiday more important than another?

I believe none of the holidays are more or less important than any of the others, and as such, we need to celebrate all of them. University administrators should not pick the holidays we celebrate based on a quasi-popularity contest, as it seems to be done now. As a nation, we’ve selected these days to celebrate our heritage, and IU should choose to celebrate these days as well.


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