The Chronicle’s View: The best and the worst of times

It could be said of the 2003-04 academic year that “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Several stories made headlines on more than one occasion and promise to be a part of the upcoming academic year at the U-for good or for bad.

The U community has cause to celebrate the success of the football team with their 10-2 record, a Mountain West Conference Championship and a 17-0 Liberty Bowl victory against Southern Mississippi. All eyes will be on the team again this fall. And with the appointment of Ray Giacoletti as head coach of the men’s basketball team, there is promise for good things to come in the Huntsman Center.

Student involvement has improved tremendously the past year, as evidenced by the success of the football and basketball fan clubs (aka The Muss), Crimson Nights and a record voter turnout in the Associated Students of the University of Utah elections.

If athletics and student involvement were the only happenings on the U campus, it would have been a good year. Other newsworthy events-many not as positive-have been a big part of campus life and will continue to make headlines. For example, the U will likely continue its fight against the state Legislature for its share of state monies. Enrollment growth and the reconstruction of Marriott Library alone will require millions of dollars-money the U does not have. And the gun debate on campus is not over yet, though the Legislature would like to put this issue to rest.

The U is still in need of a legitimate recycling program, but the approved student fee for wind power is a boon in the fight to preserve the environment, as is the U’s move toward xeriscaping the campus.

Former U President Bernie Machen made headlines on a regular basis and was an arguably successful president. The lengthy process of selecting his replacement has nearly come to an end and will be announced April 29. The new president will hopefully be even more active in placing the U on the map of outstanding universities. The U has not escaped the almost universal “gay debate,” which has brought about a healthy discourse on campus from students and faculty on all sides of the issue. And who can debate “the power of one?” Freshman Jeremy Beckham made headlines as he challenged the U Animal Resource Center’s policies concerning animal testing. Ultimately, he was granted access to what should have been public records in the first place. What’s more, he opened the debate regarding the ethical treatment of animals and proved that one voice can make a difference.

The 2003-04 academic year really was the best of times and the worst of times. But the show will go on!