Without using the pages of this newspaper to advance the childish objective
of slandering an institution of higher learning, it might be of some
interest to know exactly how our friends at Vanderbilt University feel
about the University of Tennessee - its students, faculty, curriculum,
football team and fans - as the annual intrastate showdown between the two
schools approaches.

This is not a joke. The following barbs directed at UT actually appeared in
the November 15, 1994 edition of The Vanderbilt Hustler,
Vanderbilt's semiweekly student newspaper, as part of its first annual
"Tell us your favorite U.T. joke" contest.

The grand prize of the contest ($4.50 in cash) went to Stephen Turner, a
junior from San Jose, Calf., who quipped, "How do you stop a U.T. student
from masturbating?ÉTattoo the word ÔAlabama' on [a certain part of his
anatomy] and he'll never beat it again."

Again, this was actually published in their campus newspaper. Something one
would think normally reserved for news, or at least intelligent, poignant
humor.

The UT Engineering Department took some undeserved pot shots as well.
Political science professor John Kuzenski, for his part in this
relentless vilification, submitted, "What's a U.T. engineer's most prized
instrument? ... His banjo. Kuzenski, as "reported" by the Hustler,
didn't stop there. Other biting bits included, "How do we know Christianity
didn't get its start at U.T.? ... You can't find three wise men and a
virgin in Knoxville." And this piece of sarcasm, "What's the most popular
class at U.T.? ... Lower." All this from a faculty member.

Vanderbilt alumnus, Ray Higgs, submitted a list of "Top 10 benefits of U.T.
sheepskin," including such favorites as, "It can be used as a handicapped
parking pass (only SEC member states)," and "It's the world's best
substitute for toilet paper."

Of course, there was the deluge of anecdotes and one-liners jabbing at the
UT football team for its inability to defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide over
the past several years. This is vexing considering Vanderbilt's inability
to beat any of the SEC's elite in recent memory. Considering Vanderbilt's
football tradition, or the lack thereof, it should be no wonder that fans
are forced to piggyback on Alabama's phenomenal success as a football
program. You knew we couldn't take at least one shot at Vanderbilt.

The jokes and the stories lined the page, jeering everything about the
University of Tennessee - from academics to athletics. And not just good
natured ribbing. These were the kinds of barbs that would infuriate the
most desensitized reader. There were a few restrained, humorous cracks
presented in the article - but they were the minority.

One would usually find this sort of sardonic, invidious humor reserved for
bathroom walls and barroom banter. It is certainly not the type of
information reserved for legitimate newspapers, which is why this was so
surprising. Much of the Hustler's work is rather salient and
professional.

A small section of a newspaper designed for a funny story, or a tasteful
joke competition is acceptable, especially considering the rather serious
implications of this year's contest - but to print quips that can only be
characterized as nasty is unprofessional.

The "feature's" first sentence reads, "Call it the reign of barnyard
humor." Maybe that's where most of these jokes should have remained.