ALUMNI BLUES: Boy, it's hard being alumni these days. My husband gets word they want to turn his coed Catholic high school into an all-girls' school. My high school apparently couldn't find any alums who weren't too stoned to put together a major reunion--just when I felt like dressing up in retro seventies clothes and having a choice between trout and roast beef.
My sister was in town recently, so we two UA alumni gathered speed on one of our favorite harangues, the UA and how they harass us periodically--get your VISA with us, take a trip to Europe with us, send us money, love us more.
"Remember the time that Spanish professor tried to kiss you?" I stupidly bring up to my sister. "Yeah, I ran across the mall and threw up in the library bathroom," she recalls. "Remember I told you to report it as sexual harassment?" I remind her. "Shut up," she says.
I tell her about a Save the Journalism Department community meeting and fill her in on the U's ludicrous attempt to dump the department during one of the most exciting times in journalism, given the changing technology available. I also tell her how Provost Paul Sypherd, in charge of swinging the ax at the department's throat, addressed a gathering of women at a small conference a while back.
"Remember that slogan, 'You've come a long way baby?' " he asked the women, who barely stifled groans. "Well, that's what you've done. Things are going to get better, just hang in there." Get out much, señor Provost?
But seriously Paul, when you're not busy watching 60 Minutes with faculty members, check out the videotape shot of speakers at the most recent journalism meeting, who told a faculty sub-committee what they thought. Around 50 professionals spoke during the nearly four-hour presentation.
What they earnestly said is that the Journalism Department is vital in a new age of growth in information services; it recruits and encourages people of color; teaches writing and analyzing; and fills papers and press rooms with conscientious journalists. Listen to what the visiting scholar from New Mexico said about coursework in "News Technology" and how this fertile field can bring in research dollars. That's what this is all about, isn't it?
When the UA calls me and asks for money for this or that, I tell them to check on my federal student loan status.
But I have kids now who might attend the UA one day, given the right scholarship. "I'm going to play basketball," says my son, "but maybe I could be a reporter for a back up job." Good idea. Even provosts need something to fall back on.
Dial 621-1856 and tell Paul Sypherd civilization is at the edge of an exploding galaxy of information. Don't kill a state-supported school that can train people to absorb, analyze and deliver it.
See you on those expensive alumni tours, warriors. Not.
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