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Meliocre: / n. or adj. |MEH * lee * oh * kur|

A great student of mine has coined a pretty hilarious phrase that is a play on our University’s motto, which is “Meliora.” Here is what Meliora means:

Meliora is not just our University’s motto, it’s an ethic that we share as a community, a way of life that unites us in a common bond and a powerful description of who we are and what we value

The term is omnipresent on campus, and we use it to mean, “ever better.” I’ll use his illustration as a demonstration of where the term “Meliocre” comes from. During the busy times in our campus dining facilities, it has been known to take 20 minutes to get oneself a chicken sandwich. (Now, I suspect all students exaggerate these sorts of dining experiences, I happened to love my college dining experience). However, during the “busy” times of the day, with parking lots full, it typically takes less than 10 minutes to get oneself a parking ticket.

I have no problem with the University writing parking tickets (students do), and in fact I am virtually sure that our parking spaces cost a lot more than we are being charged for them already, but this is an illustration of the awful agency and incentive problems that pervade the modern mega-versity. What a great term. Meliocre.

3 Responses to “Meliocre”

  1. At Eastern Michigan University, they sell bumper stickers: “When you get to class, tell the professor that I’m still looking for a parking space.” It’s a common enough problem. Sheer growth is fundamental, but the preferences against taking public transportation also combine into it. A lot depends on geography. Some campuses are centralized to themselves, so they have fewer commuters.

    As for the deeper problem, analogous to meliora/meliocre, EMU has an annual “Ethos Week.” We have guest lecturers talk about ethics. We sign our names to statements on huge posters. But, the ethical statements, the problems considered, and the solutions offered are cliches. “I promise to try hard to be good and not hurt anyone.” This watery deontology is never supplemented or challenged by any other theory or method. It would be too much to expect a place for Ayn Rand, but John Stuart Mill would be a welcomed surcease.

  2. Harry says:

    MM, Ethos Week sounds better as a marketing slogan than Sex Week at Yale, depending on who makes the decision about how to spend a quarter of a million dollars on four years of an Ivy League party school.

    I am impressed with the creativity of WC’s student (no implied argument here), very clever in coining a new word. Perhaps he or she is a bit cynical, and should appreciate more the freedom that made him or her to be so clever, and to be around other smart, thinking people.

    MM, I bet EMU has somebody there that managed to look up the Greek meaning of Ethos, which is different from the Californian to describe La Jolla.

  3. Harry says:

    Should have said, “…ON an Ivy League party school.”

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