The Minnesota Daily

All content by John Hoff

Out of the classrooms and into the streets

May 5, 2008

As Dorothy said in "The Wizard of Oz," "People come and go so quickly here." The whole point of being on a campus is to leave, to go somewhere else and have a positive impact. So, I say, get out of here...

Learning from the ‘Battle in Seattle’

April 14, 2008

Some people are like yeast, a small and vital element which makes bread dough rise, or ferments humble grains and fruits into intoxicating liquor. On Wednesday, in Room 205 of Blegen Hall, the yeast gathered...

Learning lessons from Dru Sjodin

April 7, 2008

There's no definitive, authoritative playbook about how a campus should respond to an abduction or murder. There is no firm and fast rule about how many security measures are enough, versus what would...

This is just a drill

March 31, 2008

When I talk to people about the need for better security on campus, I always find myself bringing up the University of North Dakota-Grand Forks and the murder of Dru Sjodin. I attended UND when Sjodin...

Get in line for free money

March 24, 2008

There's a great way for students to get a bunch of cash after blowing a big pile of money during spring break: file your income taxes. It sounds counterintuitive, but for many people of modest income (and...

I’ve got your ‘branding effort’ right here

March 10, 2008

It took me a while to warm up to the "Driven To Discover" branding effort for the University, but now I think it is a great promotional tool and I am in favor of it, very much behind it and on board. However,...

Don’t all stampede at once

February 4, 2008

If you're planning to get a degree from this University, then the city of Minneapolis would like you to consider living on the lovely north side. Does the very thought fill you with excitement? Are you...

Critical Mass turns the tables on injustice

January 28, 2008

University student Augustin "Gus" Ganley, 20, has very thin shoulders for a hero. For about half an hour last Thursday, I sat behind Ganley while lawyers argued in court about what evidence may or may...

Towing vehicles is not the answer

January 23, 2008

The towing vultures almost got me over winter break, and it nearly cost me a vehicle. Though they missed me this time, I'm quite unhappy with the inefficient system of towing and so-called "snow emergencies." Our...

From student renter to scholar homeowner

December 10, 2007

If you visualized the radical concept of student home ownership, you might get a picture of Thomas J. Ernste, a Ph.D. student at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication who is also a live-in landlord. Ernste...

Visualize student home ownership

December 3, 2007

How will this University become one of the nation's top three research institutions if its students are struggling for decent, affordable housing? Many, perhaps most students live under the oppressive...

Improving scholarly discovery and graduate education

November 26, 2007

Wouldn't it be great if final papers written at the end of the semester had some kind of actual impact on the world? What is the point, I often wonder, of all this effort to put words and ideas on paper?...

Long live the cookie liberation front

November 19, 2007

A radical left-wing revolution broke out at the Humphrey Institute this week over an alleged cookie-snatching incident at a private event held in the atrium. Of course, I prefer to think of it as cookie...

Say no to 7 a.m. construction noise

November 12, 2007

You're sick of hearing about the bridge disaster? Imagine how you'll feel once you actually start to hear the pile drivers every day, the steel hitting steel with a resounding clang that makes the pulp...

Threat evacuation should be voluntary

November 5, 2007

Have you ever had an exciting day you didn't know about until later? That was my Tuesday, Oct. 24, when somebody sent an e-mail bomb threat to the University police making reference to Blegen Hall. To...

Jailed and bailed, but never charged

October 29, 2007

She stood next to her fallen bike, hands raised in a gesture of surrender. This wasn't the way things were supposed to go. Alice Battey, 22, went to the Critical Mass bike ride on Aug. 31 to have fun before...

Brutalized and arrested, but not charged

October 22, 2007

Three weeks after graduating from the University, Alice Battey, 22, was pepper-sprayed by police and thrown into a jail cell with women alleged to be crack addicts. Battey, a slim young woman with dreadlocks...

Nature’s eerie omen of global warming

October 15, 2007

This will be the mildest winter in Minnesota's recorded history. We might barely have winter at all. I know this because an oak tree told me so. For four generations, my family has sought information about...

From twisted steel to inspiring art

October 8, 2007

A new professor came to our campus and - being from another state and unfamiliar with our University - she saw bent, colorful steel girders on the western bank of the Mississippi and wondered, "Is this...

Avista Capital Partners is the devil

October 1, 2007

There was a time when I loved the Star Tribune, and reading its news stories was the highlight of my day. Now, I'm convinced that if I buy a copy I will be putting money directly into the hands of Satan. The...

This labor conflict ain’t over

September 27, 2007

The picket signs might be put away, but the underlying issues and conflicts associated with the recent American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees strike can't be tossed in the back of...

Jailed for asking too many questions, part two

September 24, 2007

Last week, I told the first part of Mike Kirk's story of arrest and incarceration at an Aug. 31 Critical Mass bike rally, right up to the point Mike was arrested. Mike is a third-year computer science...

Jailed for asking too many questions, part one

September 17, 2007

NNow that he is confident he won't be charged with rioting, third-year computer science major Mike Kirk is finally willing to talk publicly about what happened at the Aug. 31 Critical Mass bike rally. At...

Students are trapped behind the lines of a battle

September 10, 2007

How, exactly, do I find myself crossing picket lines? I am asking myself this every day, but I suspect that only makes me like the vast majority of students who are good, decent people. Who is listening...

From the classrooms to the streets

September 6, 2007

Let the countdown to chaos begin. The Republican National Convention is almost exactly a year away. Have you bought your gas mask yet? From Sept. 1 through 4, 2008, our metropolis will be crawling with...

Sit still and look suitably profound

April 30, 2007

Four or five years of paying tuition, hitting the books, pulling all-nighters to finish papers, cramming for final exams but then - during the big graduation ceremony - the announcer mangles your name. I...

This lunchmeat election was a farce

April 23, 2007

If the people in charge of the recent student government election have a shred of decency, they will hold the Minnesota Student Association election again. The election results as of Friday are not to...

Prank candidates make voting worthwhile

April 16, 2007

In this lame and lackluster MSA election, the best candidates might not be, in the strictest sense, alive. Yes, I'm convinced: Your precious vote should be a write-in for "Network and the corpse of FDR." You...

Students need a friend at tax time

April 9, 2007

There are a dozen hard, gritty reasons why a college student should file a tax return, even if you can get away with not filing. My friend David Dermer of H&R Block will tell you some of those reasons...

Planning a party for our Republican friends

April 2, 2007

Maybe it was all the wine my buddy salvaged from some trash containers after a high-class tasting party, and then served up at his own festive blow-out gathering of assorted radicals on Friday night, but...

College is no escape from the war

March 26, 2007

I might possess some small, precious piece of mental real estate where I can still escape for a few moments, and stop thinking about this stupid war. Maybe escape happens when I read about the saga of...

Sighting the elusive campus turkeys

March 19, 2007

A week later, I'm still wondering why two wild turkeys were wandering around on campus over spring break. Yes, wild turkeys. And I don't mean the kind of Wild Turkey that makes you drunk, but the kind...

Fear and loathing at the impound lot

March 5, 2007

My van had already been brutalized prior to getting snatched by a tow truck. When the first wave of the snowstorms hit, I calculated it was better to pay for all night parking on the West Bank and ride...

Our bridge, our corner of the world

February 26, 2007

What an amazing debate has been taking place on these pages about the Washington Avenue Bridge and how to improve life on our campus. Not since columnist Adri Mehra conceived a cheeky little hypothesis...

A bridge can be what we dream

February 19, 2007

One night, at the University of North Dakota, my roommate and some of his friends played a clever prank using a rubber love doll. The prank taught us all some lessons about transforming our everyday environment...

Boynton has really great drug deals

February 12, 2007

It's a good thing I'm a teaching assistant and not an instructor, because I have little sympathy for students who try to use aches, pains, illness or even death as an excuse for missing class or assignments. Broken...

The cost of stopping a killer on our campus

February 5, 2007

Brad Bogard went before a committee of the student government with a smart, cost-effective plan which would almost certainly save the lives of several students over the next few decades. Bogard's plan...

Don’t blog about your fake ID

January 29, 2007

I think most teaching assistants, at some point, Google some or all of their students. There are certainly professors and adjunct faculty members who Google their students. Some will actually give fair...

Dirty dealings alleged in local business

January 22, 2007

Could anything be so basic, so necessary to college students as a place to do laundry? So why is somebody trying to put Gopher Cleaners and Launderers out of business? Doing your own laundry is part of...

Lessons of the Purple Onion controversy

January 16, 2007

I vowed that I wouldn't believe the Purple Onion Café was open again until I sat there, personally, and ate a sweet, gooey bear claw. As it turned out, I had to settle for a sticky, yummy caramel...

Army recruiters tell deadly lies

December 11, 2006

>Along a short stretch of Washington Avenue Southeast, you can join the army, the navy, and the Minnesota Army National Guard. It is amazing to walk into a recruiter's office with thoughts of joining...

Join the Army, pay your student loans

December 7, 2006

This time of year can't help but bring thoughts of student loan debt hanging over your head like the blade of a guillotine, whether you're graduating in December or just registering for next semester....

Avoiding wr*ter’s bl*ck at term paper time

December 4, 2006

There is a particular problem which afflicts writers, and this affliction has a name, but I will not write its name. Many students have term papers this time of year, and so you might hear, more often...

A positive attitude about the University’s ad campaign

November 27, 2006

I confess, at first I thought the University's "Driven to Discover" ad campaign was a big waste of time, effort and $2 million. That kind of money will buy a lot of Ramen noodles. It would buy, for example,...

Fear and loathing in Stadium Village

November 6, 2006

On the weekend before Halloween, I told myself to stay away from Dinkytown. Even normal weekends are crazy in Dinkytown, but outlandish costumes were bound to increase insane drunken behavior. I figured...

A new drinking ritual when turning 21

October 30, 2006

Jason Reinhardt died at a fraternity near Minnesota State University-Moorhead of alcohol intoxication. He had consumed 16 drinks in an hour on the night of his 21st birthday before arriving at the fraternity....

Germain Vigeant: gone but not forgotten

October 23, 2006

There is an amazing article in October's issue of Mpls.St. Paul magazine all about Germain Vigeant, a fun-loving and big-hearted University student who fell to her death from the Bunge grain elevator last...

Who is behind the wave of assaults on students?

October 16, 2006

Most of us have watched popular television programs about criminal investigations, and the recent assaults are probably the most high-profile crime issue on campus right now. The urge to be an armchair...

A scary stop along the light-rail line

October 9, 2006

The Hiawatha light-rail line is a modern wonder and a glory of urban civilization, capable of zipping you from downtown Minneapolis to Mall of America quickly and cheaply. But the most logical point for...

Bike helmets are sexy

October 2, 2006

Smashing into a steel pole made me decide to finally buy a bike helmet. For a long time, I thought a bike helmet would make me look like a dork, and this was always enough to stop me cold. Everybody else...