horse's mouth

The wise men and women of the Academic Senate have harangued the masses.

In an e-mail sent to the UCSD community in December 2001, the Academic Senate explained, “”The Academic Senate Council has agreed with the campus administration that a return to the 10 minute class interval is both necessary and justified. This change will go into effect with the scheduling of classes for the fall quarter of 2002.””

It seems necessary and justified, therefore, to put the Academic Senate’s contention to the test that only 2 percent of students will be adversely affected by the change.

Warren and Revelle Colleges regularly house many students for both lectures and laboratories over the course of the day, and it would not be far-fetched to assume that more than 2 percent of the population must travel between the two areas at least once a week in adjacent periods. Many students have complained that 10 minutes would be an insufficient amount of time to go between Warren and Revelle Colleges.

However, since UCSD is an academic institution, such a theory must be put to a scientific test.

I started around 5 p.m. sitting in an empty York Hall 2622, pencil and notebook open, and started my stopwatch.

With a load of about 16 pounds, I set off toward Warren Lecture Hall 2005, another large room in which I have had three classes over the years. At a brisk walking speed, using properly lit and paved paths, the journey took 13 minutes and 22.3 seconds.

The Academic Senate is made of a number of very intelligent and learned people. As a result, I cannot see it imposing a rule that would result in students arriving late and missing three minutes of important instruction time.

Brisk walking, then, must not have been the implied standard. I set off back for York from Warren still carrying 16 pounds, this time using a standard of full-out running. Although my level of physical fitness is probably fairly dismal, I did indeed sprint the full way, at the cost of near nausea, and made it in 8 minutes, 3.4 seconds, well within the 10 minutes set by the Academic Senate.

The 2 percent must refer to the poor souls who must sprint from Galbraith Hall in Revelle to EBU2 in Warren.

I therefore applaud the Academic Senate’s decision. This is, no doubt, a thinly veiled attempt to force lethargic college students to exercise strenuously — perhaps even three times a week — in light of a report in the December 2001 issue of “”The Economist”” that nearly 40 percent of Americans are overweight. Increasing the overall attractiveness of UCSD’s population, especially when the current population is compared to the denizens of schools such as UC Santa Barbara and SDSU, is an admirable goal. This writer, however, fears and predicts that the strategy will backfire when we all decide that we’d rather just stay in bed.

Dec. 13, 2001: Did anyone else notice that day’s two big headlines? The first: The White House released its translation of the Osama bin Laden video tape that allegedly serves as proof for Bin Laden’s involvement in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Then, stifled under the “”real”” news, Bush formally withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, an agreement that Russia considers a “”cornerstone”” to nuclear arms containment.

In response, the Russians are planning to tip their new missiles with multiple warheads — a fairly useless measure, but it’s as much as they can do. The talk of a new arms race seems rather far-fetched; Russia has no inclination to dump ridiculous amounts of money into fairly useless nuclear weapons when it could be spending money on slaughtering Chechens, and nuclear silos are not on the top of the United States’ list, either, when there are tax refunds to be had.

The timing of it all seems rather fishy. If reports are to be believed, the White House probably knew of the tape sometime earlier in the week (Dec. 13 turned out to be a Thursday), and likewise, the previous Monday, Bush informed congressional leaders of his intent to pull out from the treaty.

Funny, then, that the release of the translation of the tape had to be delayed a day from Wednesday to Thursday — the same day on which Bush announced his withdrawal from the ABM treaty to conveniently smaller headlines.

It seems that the “”moral”” Republicans, foremost among them Bush, who always blasted Clinton’s improper use of international warfare and the subsequent release of information to cover his tracks on more lurid activities (read: attacks on Iraq and Serbia conveniently coincided with sex scandals), have taken a page from his book. Except this time, what’s at stake isn’t a president’s sexual credibility. No, this time, we’re playing with nuclear weapons.

Last, a proposed resolution to UCSD’s fall quarter equivalent to the Chandra Levy story (barely) bears mentioning. Regardless of Koala Editor in Chief George Liddle’s insistence that all speech, no matter how galling, must be protected, it seems a massacre of the Koala’s funding looms on the horizon.

The Supreme Court shares Liddle’s political view on free speech — unless, of course, one’s speech constitutes a threat to national security. In spite of the amount of attention bestowed by the college councils on this “”crisis,”” the matter has yet to reach this degree of levity, but not for lack of trying.

Therefore, in the spirit of the amount of maturity displayed by at least one side in this matter, might it not be wise to allow Liddle and Ernesto Martinez — who represents an irate student government — to settle their differences in a time-honored tradition: the boxing ring?

RIMAC Arena provides the perfect venue for such an event, and with the promotional skills of Jeff Dodge, our A.S. president, perhaps enough money could be raised for a decent WinterFest.

While Liddle, leader of the self-professed bastion of testosterone at UCSD, probably holds the upper hand by conventional wisdom, one might enjoy a scenario in which Martinez puts enough permanent dents in Liddle’s face that Liddle receives “”relentless mockery of [his] physical deformities”” in the press.

Sadly, lack of humor and accommodation by both sides makes it more likely this battle will be fought in the far more boring venue of a courtroom. Too bad — with the coming loss of The Koala at UCSD, the campus could use all the excitement it can get. God forbid that students, especially those on the college councils, might actually have to get excited by schoolwork rather than “”politics.””

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