Well, college-watchers — students and alumni, parents and friends, government agents — it’s that time again. Time for Crawdaddy to celebrate the wonders, and wonderment, of American academe. That time when we take a look into the bustling, I-V covered halls of Catatonic State — beyond the PCP accidents, Heisman Trophies and other glittering paraphernalia of scholastic ambition — to commit to record the many obscure, delightfully scurrilous achievements of the roughly 12 million students, half-million professors and instructors, and one million clerical staffers, cafeteria workers and narks who comprise the bulk of this country’s potent intellectual enterprise.
It is, once again, an imposing array — and if you’re surprised or taken aback by some of the personalities and accomplishments enumerated below, well, that’s all part of the learning process.
Er, boola boola–
THE HEINRICH HIMMLER PHYSICAL FOULATION AWARDS: Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, OK
Jack LaLanne would perhaps be impressed with the thoroughness of Oral Robers officials in weeding out the physically unfit. So might Martin Bormann.
According to the ORU catalog, “students who do not make satisfactory progress in their personal health programs, such as being seriously overweight, are subject to being placed on probation.”
This novel policy came to light last winter when the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against ORU on behalf of the Oklahoma Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities for suspending four rather bulbous undergraduates.
ORU officials, for their part, are unfazed. Indeed, campus rules regarding physical appearance have been toughened in recent months, and extended to faculty as well. Thus, hefty instructors will henceforth be required to lost a pound per week until they can measure up to the school’s evangelistic weight standards.
“We’re in the lifestyle business,” a university spokesman explained.
THE JUST-WHEN-YOU-THOUGHT-IT-WAS-SAFE-TO-GO-BACK-IN-THE-SHOWER-AWARD: Billy James Hargis, former president of American Christian College, OK
Several years ago, A.C.C. briefly burst into the spotlight as a result of the scandalous and unwholesome activities of ex-president and founder William James Hargis. Among other transgressions, Hargis was said to have used his position to extract sexual “favors” from several of his male students and to have employed tuition revenues to finance his personal spending sprees. Hargis’ resignation and escape to more tolerant climes was not sufficient to remove the blotch on American Christian’s escutcheon, and enrollment plunged from 228 to an all-time low of 132, forcing college trustees to shut down the accursed academy last spring and sell its rolling, tainted campus to the U.S. Department of Labor.
However, President A. Noebel assures us that he intends to reopen the extinct seminary “in about two years in another state, probably Colorado, under a different name.
THE HOOVERVILLE CAMPUS HOUSING AWARD: Waldorf College, Forest City, IA
Overcrowding has never been a problem at this quiet, co-ed, liberal arts college in the heart of the American heartland — at least not until next year, when 550 eager Waldorfians showed up for classes–50 more than Waldorf has facilities for.
The harried college fathers had two choices: either send the surplus student bodies to another, less cramped institution, or house them in the only vacant building on campus, the old Winnebago County Jail. Which is precisely what they did. The former jail, renamed “Sunshine House,” is said to be the only college dormitory in the country with bars on the windows.
THE BERT LANCE FAT FINGERS AWARD: University of Houston, Houston, TX
Residents of the Lone Star State will understandably be more leery about paying their taxes next year following the recent disclosure of massive fiscal mismanagement at the state-supported Univeristy of Houston. In one of the more memorable episodes of administrative ineptitude in the history of American higher education, officials at the four-campus public university sheepishly admit sustaining a “substantial” financial loss as a result of leaving the school’s short-term investment program to the highly speculative trading devices of one Samuel A. Harwell.
Harwell, counselor at large, is said to have plowed the university’s federally insured mortgage securities into an imaginative, if somewhat flimsy, “pyramiding” scheme. When Sam’s house of card tricks collapsed late last year, so did the school’s endowment.
Chagrined Houston officials won’t say exactly how much money they lost as a result of their imprudence. However, the total reportedly runs into the millions — some say the tens of millions — of dollars. A “no-deposit, no-return” purge of the university administration is currently underway.
THE DO-AS-I-SAY-NOT-AS-I-DO-AWARD: Richard J. Nelson, former president, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Richard Nelson, a staunch advocate of the strict enforcement of campus traffic rules, was forced to resign as president of Northern Illinois University last year after a local jury convicted him of leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license.
The accident in question occurred in May, 1977, when Nelson reportedly ran into a DeKalb bicyclist while driving a state-owned motor vehicle.
The John Belushi Advancement of Higher Education Award: Klan Alpine Club, Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y.
One student dead of acute over-intoxication and two others were hospitalized following last year’s riotous pledge party at this celebrated “zoo house.”
A subsequent report by Alfred University officials absolved Klan Alpine of any direct responsibility or the death and injuries since the pledges were “expected but not required to drink.”
THE WHO’S AFRAID OF CARL SAGAN AWARD: Jeffrey V. Mallow, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Hate/hated college physics? Well, now someone understands. Responding to a sharp increase of science-phobia among his students, Professor Jeffrey Mallow of Loyola University at Chicago has developed what he calls a “science anxiety” course. The course, which stresses “relaxation techniques,” is aimed at alleviating the “fear” and “pain” which non-science majors traditionally experience upon enrolling in natural science courses — particularly physics. (What about biology?)
THE TEACHINGS OF DON CORLEONE/YANQUI WAY OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS AWARD: Oakland University, Oakland, MI
Local Indians placed a death curse on Oakland University after they discovered that several Oakland anthropologists had surreptitiously removed 18 of their ancestors’ skeletons from the tribe’s nearby burial grounds. What effect, if any, the curse will have on university enrollment remains to be seen.
THE SONNY LISTON ACADEMIC STANDARDS AWARD: Frostburg State College, Frostburg, MD
A recent headline in State to Date, the Frostburg State student newspaper, said it all: “Academic Standard Lowered to 0.00.” The newspaper was reacting to Frostburg president Nelson Guild’s recent proclamation to the effect that even if a first-semester freshman fails every one of his courses, a predicament in which 35 Frostburg frosh found themselves last January, he or she will be able to continue his or her studies uninterrupted. President Guild’s new be-nice-to-sluggards policy is, State to Date explained, “a poorly hidden attempt at retaining the $35,000 in fees from these failing students. ”
“We agree the college is in financial trouble,” the student editors went on to say, “but must question whether this problem merits keeping students who obviously do not care to be in college, for financial reasons.” The curiously elastic quality of Frostburg State’s grading system is perhaps best illustrated by the school’s commencement ceremonies. At one recent exercise the college’s honor graduates were asked to rise-whereupon almost the entire senior class stood up as their parents roared with laughter.
THE LITE AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL CITATION: Dr. Cleophus S. Whitaker, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY
Dr. Whitaker, a history professor at Brooklyn College, was recently informed Brooklyn officials that his application for tenure had been denied. The reason: Whitaker is an unreconstructed alcoholic. Nevertheless, Whitaker is fighting back. He claims that his drinking makes him a “handicapped person,” and, as such, entitIes him to protection under the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. Besides, Whitaker says, his drinking has made him miss only three classes.
THE REDD FOXX AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AWARD: Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL
For years, the nation has been concerned about colleges and universities, particularly in the South, which discriminate against blacks. But this is 1978, the year of the Bakke decision, and, to balance the news, we feel obliged to report to you about institutions which discriminate against whites.
Alabama State, for instance.
According to a recent court ruling by Federal Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., A.S.U., a medium-sized co-ed university founded in 1874, has consistently engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against “whites”in hiring faculty and staff personnel. Johnson carne to this conclusion, hearing the complaints white former faculty members who insist, apparently with good cause, that they were simply because of the color their skin.
To be sure, Alabama State’s lopsidedness is hard to deny; Johnson noted in his April ruling, the school employs a mere 36 white faculty, out of a total of 196, and four white administrators, out of 56. Alabama State officials contend that hiring practices are no worse, or better, than those employed nearby, mostly white, schools.
THE CUCKOO’S NEST ACCREDITATION AWARD: State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY
The New York State Health Department recently enjoined scientists at SUNY Albany’s prestigious campus to stop conducting painful electric shock tests and other unauthorized pyschological experiments on unwilling local schoolchildren. Among other things, the researchers managed to burn one child’s face by exposing him to a high-intensity light source. Subsequent investigation found that Albany’s merry testers had indeed broken the law by not submitting a prospectus for their strange experiments to the state’s hum research review board. (Ah, what if they had?)
BERNIE TAUPIN ABUSED MUSE AWARD: Rider College, Lawrenceville, NJ
A group of public-spirited poets at this little-known pocket of higher learning has designed a seven-part poetry outreach program designed to “convince the layman that not all modem poetry is hopelessly obscure and esoteric,” according to a recent bulletin in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The novel lecture series is entitled: “Contemporary American Poetry: The Glory of the Ordinary.”
JUST-WHEN-YOU-THOUGHT-IT-WAS-SAFE-TO-GO-BACK-IN-THE-GAME AWARD: Jerry Tarkanian, basketball coach, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, NV
Jerry Tarkanian is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the country’s winningest college basketball coaches. Twice, “Tark the Shark” has taken over varsity teams with little or no national reputations and built them into athletic powers-first at California State University at Long Beach, and most recently at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, however, the Shark is also temporarily out of work, having been suspended by the Nationol Collegiate Athletic Association as a result of some questionable off-campus behavior.
A recent N.C.A.A. inquiry found that Tarkanian had broken N.C.A.A. ordinances, including providing Las Vegas players with “extra benefits” like free flights home, large monthly cash allowances, free apartments and clothing and free dental care, as well as promising the same to visiting high school senior player prospects. Tarkanian was involved in a similar recruiting scandal at Long Beach, prompting his dismissal there. The N.C.A.A. then moved to adopt a new rule forbidding member institutions from hiring coaches, like Tarkanian and several others, previously found guilty of major ethics violations.
Obviously the rule had little effect, since the University of Nevada decided to hire him anyway. Tarkanian is appealing. In the meantime? “Jump ball!”
TACKY ONE-LINER AWARDS
TOUGHEST ALL-NIGHTERS: Inupiat University of the Arctic, Nome, AK
LAMEST NAME: Isothermal Community College, Springdale, NC
MOST CONFUSING TO OUT-OF-STATE RESIDENTS: Kansas State College of Pittsburg, KA
BUILDINGS AND MAINTENANCE MINIMALISM AWARD: Campus-Free College, Washington, D.C.
BEST PIES: State Fair Community College, Sedalia, MO
HIGHEST TOTAL RECALL QUOTIENT AMONG STUDENT BODY: General Motors Institute, Detroit, MI
SECOND LAMEST NAME: Ohio School of Podiatry, Cleveland, OH
THROW THE BOOK AT ‘EM AWARD: The Judge Advocate General’s School, Charlottesville, VA
NOBODY HIRES A MUTANT AWARD: Perry Normal School Inc., Boston, MA
FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY AWARD: Missionary Aviation. School. Scottsdale, AZ
TIGHTEST ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS: University of Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands
BEST-DRESSED STUDENT BODY: San Francisco College of Mortuary Science, San Francisco, CA
HOME Of THE TIDI-BOWL: Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, WI