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8The Daily Tar Heel Tuesday, February 7, 1989
ufb? Satlg Olar 2
96th year of editorial freedom
Jean Lutes, Editor
Karen Bell, News Editor
MATT BrVENS, Associate Editor
KlMBERLY EDENS, University Editor
JON K. RUST, Managing Editor
Will Lingo, aty Editor
Kelly Rhodes, Am Editor
CATHY McHUGH, Omnibus Editor
SHF.I.I.FY ERBLAND, Design Editor
KAARIN TlSUE, News Editor
LAURA PEARLMAN, Associate Editor
Kristen Gardner, University Editor
WILLIAM TAGGART, State and National Editor
Dave Glenn, sports Editor
LEIGH ANN McDONALD, Features Editor
BRIAN FOLEY, Photography Editor
Kelly Thompson, Design Editor
Require volunteerism from al
Almost everyone has had the urge
to volunteer at one time or another
to rise through the ranks of Boy
Scouts, to please parents, to receive
scholarships or awards from commun
ity groups. But Sen. Sam Nunn, D
Ga., has upped the ante to the price
of a college education.
If Nunn's recently proposed bill
passes, all aspiring college students in
the 1990s would have to perform
community service or serve in the
military before receiving any federal
education aid. Pell Grants and Gua
ranteed Student Loans would be
Nunn and his supporters seem to
envision as many as 1 million civic
minded fresh faces delivering meals to
shut-ins, cutting grass at city hall and
changing sheets at a nursing home. In
return, these volunteers would receive
a subsistence wage of $100 a week and
a hefty voucher toward college costs.
Students would get credit vouchers
worth $24,000 for a two-year stint in
the military and $10,000 for one year
of service in the Citizens Corps a
1980s sort of Peace Corps for Third
Nunn's bill definitely has merit. The
Citizens Corps could provide college
bound students with an avenue to pay
for their education, without drowning
them in a sea of post-graduation debt.
It also makes good intuitive sense
as the saying goes, you get what you
pay for. The aspiring student gives her
aid to the community, and in return
the community sends her to college.
President Bush talks about the 1,000
points of light; this program could
provide the wattage.
But there's a catch: Nunn's bill
would force everyone who needed
federal financial aid to labor in
homeless shelters or struggle through
basic training, while those who had
the money could leap right into
college. In essence, the bill would
amount to mandatory civic military
service for the poor only.
If legislators want to increase
community service, they should make
such service mandatory for all college
bound youths not just the needy.
Widespread community service could
be an admirable addition to life in the
Os. While the volunteer work could
be drudgery, it could also be as
valuable an educational experience as
To their credit, lawmakers don't
intend to implement this proposal
without considerating its implications.
Nunn has expressed hope that the bill
will move slowly through Congress,
encouraging legislators to tinker with
The concept of trading community
service for educational opportunity
has potential. But the service should
be compulsory for all or voluntary for
all not a peacetime draft for the
college-bound middle class and poor.
With luck, Congress members will
hammer Nunn's bill into a useful
educational tool. Matt Bivens
SATurday scores overrated
Each,. year, more than 1.6 million
high school students take the Scho
lastic Aptitude Test. Early on a
Saturday morning, clutching their
number two pencils and their positive
proofs of identification, they descend
upon testing sites throughout the
country to spend three hours answer
ing questions about passages on coral
"reefs and time-rate-distance problems.
They all hope to score high enough
on the test to get into college.
The SATs have been showered with
criticism in recent years, as test scores
reveal that females and minorities
consistently score lower on both the
math and verbal sections than their
white male counterparts. Some say the
test questions are written .with bias
against females and students of non
The ruling of a federal judge Friday
may have opened the door to changes
in this dubious process of standardized
testing. In the nation's first ruling to
declare that standardized tests discrim
inate against any group, federal Judge
John Walker ruled that New York's
exclusive use of SAT scores in award
ing merit scholarships was unfair to
girls and violated the equal protection
clause of the Constitution.
The irony is that the SATs were
created to help, prevent discrimination
against various groups by establishing
a standard and objective means of
evaluating students. But critics main
tain that the tests have simply not kept
pace with social changes since they
were first used in 1926.
UNC admissions officials say that
SAT scores, while required with
applications, don't significantly affect
acceptance decisions, except in the
case of out-of-state applicants, who
must compete for fewer spaces. Thus,
it's conceivable that UNC is discrim
inating against women and minorities
who apply from out of state. .
Some admissions officials say appli
cants SAT scores should not be
considered at all. Indeed, abolishing
the test isn't a bad idea. Obviously,
if it discriminates against various
groups, it is failing in its function as
a standard against which all students
can be measured fairly. And while
nearly 75 percent of all four-year
colleges require SAT scores of appli
cants, most deans say they don't take
the results seriously.
Perhaps it would be just as well to
retire the SAT and let high school
students spend their Saturday morn
ings more productively. Mary Jo
The Daily Tar Heel
Editorial Writers: Louis Bissette, Sandy Dimsdale, Mary Jo Dunnington and David Stames.
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The GRE: a Grueling and Ridiculous Exam
Few other acronyms in the world
11 of studentdom have such ominous
overtones. The three letters loom like stone
monoliths sunk into the quicksand of
academia. "My name is GRE, test of tests;
look on my bubble sheet, ye students, and
And despair we do.
Students spend four years of college
nibbling from a smorgasbord spread of
subjects, finally settling down to really
chew on one or two in particular. The
individual disciplines are important, but
more important still is the acceleration of
thought and the developing power of the
Then, college comes to a close. Some
students go on to careers in medicine,
business, law, journalism and so on. But
a few, excited not only by their field of
interest but also by the whole prospect of
ever-higher education, decide to enter
graduate school, to continue in the grand
tradition of Thought and Education.
But the gates to grad school are guarded
by that slavering fanged GREndel who
wields a rolled-up bubble sheet in one claw
and a test booklet in the other. The beast
howls as he forces the endless pages of
multiple choice questions down the
screaming throats of wanna-be grad
The verbal section, where "pustular" and
endomorph" are the friendliest words on
the list, where "limaceous" is to "esurient"
as "zythepsary" is to , and where
ergasioptiobia" is just the synonym for
The quantitative section, where right
triangles overlap parallelograms inscribed
on oblate spheroids, and where alter
carefully deteraiining the angles formed by
this perverse geometric copulation, the
area of the square on the other side oi
the page can be figured.
The analytical section, where if there are
five offices (ABCDE) and five bosses
(FGHIJ) and five secretaries (KLMNO),
and boss G is fooling around with secretary
N, but secretary O also has a crush on
G and wants to be in an adjacent oltice,
and boss H because of some obscure fetish
must have office B, and secretary L gets
high on her lunch hour . . . then which
offices should have hanging plants?
It's enough to send intelligent human
In the Funhouse
beings screaming from the room, stabbing
themselves repeatedly with sharpened
number- two pencils.
Four hours of General Testing later, and
the bloody-eyed students collapse into
heaps of academic rubble, whimpering and
moaning, rubbing the cramps in their
hands. In other words, ready to take the
three-hour Subject Test in the afternoon.
The Literature in English Subject Test
consists of 230 multiple guess questions
ranging from Chaucer to deconstructionist
criticism. I would never have thought it
possible to write such a test. I was attracted
to English studies for precisely the reason
that there were no multiple choice tests,
that proficiency was measured on the
higher ground of essays and discourse, and
not by merely circling "(E) all of the above."
But there was the first question
"Which of the following phrases is most
indicative of the tradition of the Petrarchan
lover?" with choices A through E below
and the future of my English career
depended on filling the bubbles in "com
pletely, with no stray marks."
Why are students subjected to this
degradation? Few students consider the
GRE a fair litmus test of intelligence or
knowledge. Admissions committee
members are quick . to point out that
transcripts, letters of recommendation and
personal statements are used in addition
to GRE scores. Even the Educational
Testing Service (ETS) itself recommends
that "scores on the test be considered in
conjunction with other relevant informa
tion about applicants."
Is it coincidence that this recommenda
tion sounds remarkably like another such
statement IVe come across in my student
years? Remember that very rich man, Cliff,
who once said, "THE NOTES ARE NOT
A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE TEXT
ITSELF OR FOR THE CLASSROOM
DISCUSSION OF THE TEXT," and then
laughed all the way to the bank? Why is
everyone falling all over themselves to
qualify the accuracy or even relevance of
the test, while thousands of students suffer
through it year after year?
The GRE is not without value it does
provide a rough evaluation of a student's
"aptitude" (another word rarely used
outside of the ETS offices in Princeton,
N.J.) in particular subjects. The key word
there is "rough." More than proficiency in
the actual subjects, a certain kind of mental
process is tested that of cognitive
recognition and elimination strategies, not
sensitivity to language or mathematical
ingenuity. In simpler terms, the only ability
the GRE tests with true accuracy is the
ability to take the GRE.
The idea is almost postmodern a test
created to test whether you can take the
test. The form of the test is the content
of the test; and the content is the form.
A perfectly self-reflexive, self-contained
text. ETS hasn't written an exam; it has
created the ultimate metafiction. Soon the
deconstructionist critics will swoop down
like vultures and prove that the questions
ultimately mean nothing; the Marxist
critics will point out the perpetuation of
capitalist greed in the phrase "(E) all of
the above," the New Critics will insist we
not consider the intentions of ETS at all
But enough English major daydreaming.
Grad school should be a place of
intellectual excitement and discovery, of
ingenuity and leaps of the imagination
the ideals of education. Hard intellectual
work leaves the brain tired yet satisfied,
like a good long run leaves the body.
The GRE is everything that these ideals
are not drudgery, test-taking tricks,
mental harassment, the lucky guess. A
vague hypocrisy surrounds and taints the
test, and inevitably taints the grad school
1. The author's main pojnt seems to be
(A) the GRE is a tool of bourgeois society.
(B) the GRE should have more Beowulf
(C) Percy Bysshe Shelley was a bad poet. ,
(D) bosses should not sleep with
(E) all of the above.
Brian McCuskey is a senior English
major from Los Angeles.
To the editor:
We live in a disposable
society A society structured for
convenience. Everything from
individual soda cans and dis
posable contact lenses has been
produced to make our lives
easier. The result is that we are
left with tons of waste. The
average American uses over
150 pounds of aluminum, glass,
paper and plastic a year. And
that's a conservative estimate.
We are living in a throwaway
society, but is there an "away,"
really? The garbage man col
lects our trash and we never see
it again. But the landfills are
filling up, folks. It is time to
take action. I challenge every
one of you to begin a recyling
project. If every paper from one
newsstand were recycled over
one week, that would amount
to over 125 pounds of paper,
over one month, 500 pounds,
over one semester, a ton.
The paradox of this situa
tion, however, is that it's not
convenient to recycle. But there
are many things that aren't
convenient in this world that we
all find time to do. We cannot
continue to be a consumer
society and expect the earth to
continue producing more and
more for us. We must conserve
as a daily habit. Begin a col
lection site on your hall, in your
suite or in your room for
aluminum, glass and paper.
Every little bit can help and it
starts with you.
To the editor:
I protest. Your editorial
(University needs to shift gears,
VRE THYE REAO.Y
.frK.Irn CflO IKI
TO ND ALL AWHNt
ELVeS (WORK J
That Never- Never Land of
Unlimited Con swuctiom
Feb. 3) wrongfully condemned
a bold and intelligent plan
proposing a nighttime parking
fee. It is only fitting that those
who use the libraries, compu
ters, bookstore, theater,
Cabaret and snackbar after
normal business hours should
pay a price for that luxury.
After all, they are the ones who
drive around in the dark and
wear out the asphalt while the
rest of us sleep.
Indeed, I would go further
and propose that all of the
above-mentioned places and
activities institute similar sets of
fees, perhaps calling them cover
charges, and that they then
provide low-cost entertainment
and beer to attract additional
It is fitting, too, that full-time
faculty and staff not be subject
to these fees. We're already
paying them to come here every
day, and it seems a waste of
effort to have them give the
money back every night.
Make the students pay. I
figure they spend 30 weeks a
year at school, give or take a
few days. Say they are on
campus four nights a week
(hence our national reputation
for scholastic excellence).
That's 120 nights a year, at $2
a night. So it costs each student
about $240 a year plus city,
state and federal taxes. If you
are a graduate student, you
might do this for 10 years or
so. $2,400 is a small price to
pay for the peace of mind
guaranteed parking brings. In
fact, these numbers can only
lead me to conclude that cur
rent parking fees are too low:
right now hardship permits
entitle you to park all day for
only $120 a year. Clearly,
students are taking advantage
of the University's largesse.
The Daily Tar Heel
welcomes reader comments ,
and criticisms. When writing
letters to the editor, please
follow these guidelines:
a All letters must be signed
by the author(s), with a limit
of two signatures per letter.
D Students should include
name, year in school, major,
phone number and home .
town. Other members of the
University community should
include similar information.
n All letters must be typed
and double-spaced, for ease of
D The DTH reserves the
right to edit letters for space,
clarity and vulgarity.
Remember, brevity is the soul
A reluctant Bookie wearing Carolina blue
On Wednesday night, Jan. 18, 1 saw
an amazing feat. I saw first ranked
Duke fall on its face while 13th-
ranked Carolina put on a tremendous
show. As I anxiously sat at home watching
this ever-famous matchup between the two
rivals, I thought to myself, "What's wrong
with this picture?" Dookies! . . . hundreds
and hundreds of Dookies! Too many of
them . . . blurs of Duke blue all over my
television screen. The crowd's momentum
. was to owe itself to the Devilish masses.
However, I saw few Tarheels in the place.
Having grown up in "basketball coun
try" and having acquired an early admi
ration for the game, it was inevitable that
I should become a basketball fanatic. Until
about a year ago, my energies have gone
toward the Duke Blue Devils. I was raised
in Durham and found it the natural thing
to do since Duke is in Durham. By the
age of six I was following the games and
by my junior year in high school, I was
following the team members. I am sorry
to say that I have been to more Duke games
than UNC games.
Then I was accepted at the University
of North Carolina. I knew then that a
transition must be made. I could no longer
be a Blue Devil; I had to "tar my heels"
and support "Carolina" blue attire. I had
struggled with this idea until Wednesday
night. I had never felt as school-spirited
than at the moment when the clock ran
out and we had demolished Duke by 20
It was then that I decided to begin my
journey into "Blue Heaven." I wanted to
be sitting in the stands when UNC met
their next opponent at home. However,
to do this, it would take approximately
15 hours in line at the SAC, to get lousy
seats, lack of sleep, the flu and a general
feeling of being cheated.
I realize the "Dean Dome" was con
structed with private funds, but about
20,000 to 30,000 students pay to go to
school at UNC and we should at least get
the chance to see our own basketball
games. I put my vote in for a much larger
student section and easier access to tickets.
Act soon so that this student can proudly
convert to "Tarheelism." I would hate to
be a Blue Devil in Ram's clothing.
Ashley Bissonette is a sophomore
political science major from Durham.