October 28, 2004

Merit beyond rankings

Last January, the University of Chicago Model United Nations team won recognition for finishing among the top three teams at competitions at both Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. While proving themselves among the best teams in the country, MUN argued that they were insufficiently funded by the University, given the level of funding received by their rivals. A year later, MUN has continued its winning ways, finishing first at the Model UN conference held at Yale University on October 7-9. While funding remains a controversial issue, the Maroon feels that a congratulations is in order.

Model UN is not the only University academic team that merits a commendation. The University's Parliamentary Debate Society won top honors at this year's Harvard conference the same weekend as the Model UN Yale competition. Both teams have steadily improved over the past few years, and the weekend of October 7 was a showcase of U of C student talent.

At a time when college rankings provoke their usual controversy, it is important to keep things in perspective by recognizing solid achievements as opposed to abstract and somewhat mysterious reasoning. We may like to think that the U of C is the most rigorous academic institution in the nation, but such a title will always be a subject for debate. First-place trophies at conferences with the top schools in the nation, however, are unequivocal proof of the intellectual quality of students at the University of Chicago.