Course correction: In her March 3 "Collision Course," Patricia Calhoun neatly skewers the University of Colorado from all directions, and rightly so, I suppose. But at a certain point, I guess I start to feel a little sympathy for my poor beleaguered alma mater. Okay, I admit it: I have a BFA from CU and spent some of my hippiest years there. But doesn't my MS from CSU make me a fair and balanced person?
Anyway, I can't help but be reminded that while the media chews on CU's naked ankles, tens of thousands of students, thousands of instructors and unknown hundreds of administrators and workers are going about their business of higher education in dozens of departments. I keep hearing outcries like "What the hell is going on up there?" and "CU is going off the rails!" and "CU is going to hell in a handbasket!" and "What do you expect from a town like Boulder?" I don't doubt there are those who would like to take advantage of these various crises to advance their agendas.
The situation reminds me of those who perceive Iraq today as coming apart at the seams and on the verge of civil war versus those who perceive that country to be 95 percent peaceful and well on the road toward freedom and prosperity. I don't know what Iraq will look like in five years, but I have a pretty good hunch that in five years, CU will still have Nobel laureates on the faculty, still have many truly fine programs spanning the spectrum, still be cranking out graduates by the thousands and still be the beautiful campus that it has always been. (UCD, the Health Sciences Center and UCCS aren't half bad, either.)
Having offered this brief interlude of nostalgic appreciation, I now return you to the media frenzy already in progress.
The goodbye girl: Regarding Elizabeth Hoffman, is "See ya, cunt" a term of endearment?
Bolder in Boulder: Here are twenty more reasons you might be a left-wing redneck:
1) Your mom's hippie poetry made you a centi-millionaire.
2) Your ethnic-studies professor and you both hate white people -- and you're both white.
3) You're fasting in solidarity with the circus animals.
4) Your dreadlocks fall in your Cap'n Crunch.
5) Your poli-sci teacher pours fake blood on stuff. You weep theatrically.
6) You march in the MLK parade. You agree: White people are evil. Your name is Hickenlooper.
7) You know someone who dated the Cowsills.
8) Your nipple ring got caught on your dog.
9) You know "Why the Caged Bird Sings."
10) You read Maya Angelou. You do not projectile vomit.
11) You're sure the Buddhist Poetics degree got you the barista job.
12) Your clothes don't come from Thailand. Your "boyfriends" do.
13) Seventeen-thousand traffic cameras don't harm your civil liberties. One word -- God -- does.
14) Somehow, you always blame the Jews.
15) Yasir Arafat is still on your speed-dial.
16) You cut your penis off, just to spite the White Male Hegemony.
17) Your mom addresses you as Flower-Child Nuclear-War-Victim.
18) You can hear the yeast die in your croissant.
19) Your SUV is not hypocritical. It's Not!
20)Your children vote Republican -- and don't really know why.
U be the judge: There is no question in this reader's mind that the news coming out of the University of Colorado this past year has been both absurd and damaging to the university. Patricia Calhoun, with characteristic wit and cynicism, has made this clear for weeks.
It should therefore be equally clear that this horse has now been flogged thoroughly; what Calhoun has failed to propose with any clarity is how the state's flagship university should go about righting itself. This is all the more apparent given President Betsy Hoffman's resignation. One wonders whether that will solve any problems at all; it certainly will not solve the state's fiscal crisis, which has been damaging to higher education from Boulder to Alamosa. It also doesn't help at a time when the leadership is uncertain at all but one of CU's campuses, including Boulder, and when the CEO of University Hospital is in transition.
With John Andrews calling for privatization of all higher education on the editorial page of the Denver Post and the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph editorial page suggesting that the real problem in higher education is the availability of student-aid money, Westword would do well to provide some solutions of its own.