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March 21, 1988 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-21

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Campus cult
Classical vs.
By Jennifer Jenkins
The Stanford Daily
Stanford U., CA
Claiming that the Western Culture
program core reading list has become
an albatross around Stanford's neck,'
Philosophy Professor John Perry said
the proposal by the Committee on
Undergraduate Studies (CUS) to drop
the core list and establish a new re-
quirement-"Cultures, Ideas and
Values"-will bring "fresh blood" to a
program plagued by rigidity.
Perry, a member of the Western Cul-
ture Task Force, said the list implies
that works by women and minorities
are of no consequence. "Some very in-
telligent students here honestly believe
that if a work on the core list is replaced
by a work by a woman or a minority,
then it is being replaced by a work of
inferior quality. It is making a state-
ment I don't want to make," Perry said.
English Professor William Chace de-
fended a counterproposal that would re-
tain the core list while allowing revision
of the works included in the list. Many
members of the English department
support this alternative proposal.
Looking at the course as filled with
"DWEMs," or dead, white, European
males, is not effective, Chace said.
"Marx was not chosen because Marx
was white." Perry concurred, saying
that critical examination of primary
texts was the main thrust of the original
program, "but there are many roots of

ure clash:
Stanford undergraduates must take a
three-course Western Culture sequ-
ence. Half of the required reading is the
core list; the other half is the instruc-
tor's choice. The core list is:
Ancient: Genesis (Hebrew Bible), The Repub-
lic (Plato), selections from The Iliad or The
Odysseyor both, one Greek tragedy, selections
from New Testament, including a gospel
Medieval/Renaissance: Confessions (Au-
gustine), Inferno (Dante), Utopia (More), The
Prince (Machiavelli), Christian Liberty
(Luther), Starry Messenger and The Assayer
Modern: Candide (Voltaire), The Communist
Manifesto (Marx and Engels), Outline of
Psychoanalysis and Civilization and Its Dis-
contents (Freud), Darwin
contemporary American society, and we
simply did not face up to that fact in the
program's formation."
Chace said the present program con-
tains enough flexibility: Lecturers are
free to include works they might see as
important, but the "spinal stability" of
the core list must be maintained to pre-
serve the program's coherence.
The current structure of the program
gives students a common intellectual
experience, Chace said.
"I also value a common experience,"
Perry said, "but there isn't that common
intellectual experience now, it's an illu-
At the Faculty Senate's January 21

meeting, more than 100 students
gathered in support of the CUS prop-
Black Student Union Chairman Bill
King said that if the CUS plan is not
implemented, "students will feel che-
ated, because they will know that there
is other research and scholarship de-
scribing a broader West and a broader
world. But Stanford will not tell them."
The meeting coincided with U.S.
Secretary of Education William Ben-
nett's comments to the National Asso-
ciation of Independent Colleges and
Universities, where he referred to Stan-
ford's proposed changes as "self-
imposed curricular debasement."
Student opinion appears evenly split
on whether or not the Faculty Senate
should approve the proposed reforms at
their slated February 18 meeting,
according to the results of an Associated
Students of Stanford U. straw poll.
Of students polled, 52 percent ex-
pressed support for the CUS' proposal.

However, when asked how they felt ab-
out the current program's core reading
list, 65 percent said they favor it.
Straw poll coordinator Patty Marhy
said one reason the results appear to he
contradictory is that "people favored the
(CUS) proposal in that they favored
changes, but they thought it a bit ex-
treme and wanted to keep the core list."
Dean of Humanities and Sciences
Norman Wessells warned that without
a common thread linking the different
programs, there could be an "erosion of
confidence" in the requirement, and
possibly "its total demise."
Wessells said: "That would be a dis-
astrous step, one that would be de-
trimental to our educational program,
to our freshman admissions, to our posi-
tion of national leadership in curricular
development and to our relationship
with many individuals on whom we de-
pend forthe support of our students and
our faculty alike."

. guess if could Tracy Staton asked students how they felt
affect me ... I about the Texas A & M U. Honors Program
know people who providing a list of honors students for em-
have a 3.5 or ployers interested in high grade point aver-
better who don't ages.
have a lick of 't think it's a
sense in their gaodthnkiea ee
heads.Jut good idea even
because yoo though I'm not an
honors student. It
know something nnsmr
out of a book rgivesmore
doesn't mean you prestige to hat
have any thgrwhoGPA. f
common sense or the high GPA. It
any knowledge of gives something
how to apply it.' more to the
- DONALDemployer.'


'It might cause
corporations to
someone who
took two years to
mature in

According to a report on page 1 of this issue, most students can't understand
their foreign teaching assistants who have limited English language skills.
We want to know what you think.
To Register Your Opinion
CALL 1-800-662-5511

Campus soap operas
sizle with sex, drugs


By Ron Bell
Daily Bruin
U. of California, Los Angeles
Students at colleges across the coun-
try stole, raped, robbed and sold drugs
with the blessings of school administra-
tors and sometimes for academic credit.
U. of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Fraternity President John Constanza
built a thriving business hawking
cocaine to the brothers. John Crandall,
an English professor, seduced a football
player. A senior at Stanford U. chortled
while his friend was thrown off a cliff.
"Look at Maryland and the Lenny Bias
case. They had a drug testing program
and it didn't prevent that tragedy from
The mayhem was part of student-
produced soap operas, filmed on uni-
versity campuses and broadcast by col-
lege or public television stations.
Student productions like plays and
short films have been staples of campus
life for years, but soaps are more recent
additions to the collegiate repertoire.
"The audience just grooves on it," said
Richard Docket, theater professor and
adviser to Chapman College's (CA)
On some campuses, directors put in
40-hour weeks preparing for the soaps.
"Everything is run just like a profes-
sional soap opera except that we're stu-
dents and we're learning," said Lindy
Laitin, sophomore publicity director for
UCLA's University.

Summerstock adheres to industry
soap format in everything from plot
complications to commercial breaks.
Advertisements are filmed in one
graded course; scripts are written in a
second; episodes are staged in a third.
Docket describes his show as "sort of
Fame at the college level."
"Faculty and staff play the adults so
students learn to work with older actors
and actresses," Docket said. "The chair
of our department even played a pimp."
The all-student University cast re-
ceives critiques from industry profes-
sionals like H. Wess Kenney, executive
producer of General Hospital. Universi-
ty reaches a young affluent audience
most marketing directors would envy.
It airs on public television, plays in resi-
dence halls and circulates through the
National College Network.
Ivan Cury, University's faculty advis-
er, is proud of the show's record but
admits to being troubled by the glare of
the media and the almost fanatic devo-
tion the students give the show.
"People are losing their sense of pers-
pective," he said. "Today the cast and
crew are being interviewed by People
magazine and the Today show. There's
a tendency to forget it's just a class at a
The Stanford U. soap is produced by
the campus television station so cast
members receive no academic credit
and limited publicity.

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