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October 30, 2000

Chase, Kim discuss the state of University

By Eric Rangus

As traditions go, the annual State of the University Address in Glenn Auditorium, now in its third year, is rapidly becoming a major one.

Its contents—Dooley’s address (and subsequent audience rendition of “Happy Birthday” in recognition of the start of Dooley’s Week), University Secretary Gary Hauk’s history lesson (this year discussing the origins of each school’s “gonfalons,” the banners that decorated the back of the stage), the a cappella rendition of the alma mater by No Strings Attached, the addresses by President Bill Chace and SGA President Moses Kim, and the concluding Q&A session with both presidents—were all features of the previous year’s festivities.

While the subject matter of Kim’s and Chace’s speeches was fresh, its optimistic—yet challenging—themes concerning the future of Emory were consistent.

Chace’s remarks centered on what is the theme for this academic year: reconciliation. And he didn’t mean a touchy-feely type of reconciliation, but a slightly edgier one, something to stimulate—possibly prickly—dialogue.

“Reconciliation, as a human instrument, should bring to the surface differences and polarities,” he said. “The more intense or problematic they are, I say, the better.

“Reconciliation becomes more successful as an instrument [with] the more questions it asks and more irregularities in our constitution—the more folds in the carpet—it brings to view.”

Chace named the reconciliation aspects of the recent forum that grew out of a controversial column in The Wheel as a prime example of this quality.

Kim, who took the stage first, offered several suggestions on improving interaction among the Emory students.

His first proposal was the construction of a pedestrian walkway along Peavine Creek Drive leading to the lower intramural fields. Kim expressed a concern for the safety of students walking down the street.

Several of Kim’s ideas involved Emory athletics. He noted the absence of lights on the soccer field, saying that daytime games hold down attendance. He also proposed increased funding for club sports and the Outdoor Emory organization. “With these financial resources, members of club sports are more likely to develop a greater loyalty to the university they represent at competitions while building friendships with their fellow members,” Kim said.

Kim also suggested that Emory administrative and business offices voluntarily relocate to other buildings (such as Alabama Hall) so that the DUC could become a true student center.

“Space for student organizations and commons areas will enable students of all backgrounds to interact and learn from each other,” he said. “We must be committed to providing opportunities to interact in order to improve student life.

“Year after year students complain that Emory’s spirit is dead. It is not dead. It is alive, well and breathing deeply,” Kim said. “It’s just needs a regular dose of caffeine, just like students and professors do.”

Chace also addressed the subject of school spirit. “What I find interesting about this topic is that, for many students, ‘school spirit’ is perceived to be what economists call a ‘supply-side’ problem,” he said. “That is, students criticize what they see as a lack of things they want to have.”

Chace said he saw the dilemma as more of a “demand-side problem.”

“That is, I am hearing there is a demand for school spirit that I and my colleagues should somehow meet,” he said. “Alas, I cannot provide, as a commodity, ‘school spirit.’ Let me tell you that if I did own a rich supply of school spirit, I would be glad to give it out.”

In effect, Chace challenged the students to be the purveyors of spirit on campus. “You are the only real providers of school spirit,” he said to the students seated in Glenn’s pews. “You can be, and you must be, its primary authors and its primary creators.”

Dooley, for one, was cool with that.

“Here I am the spirit of this place,” Dooley said in his opening remarks through one of the members of his entour-age. “Let me assure you, I haven’t felt this good in 101 years."


Back to Emory Report Oct. 30, 2000