Friday, July 24, 2009

Non-Contiguous Congruity

2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the addition of Alaska and Hawaii as the 49th and 50th states to these United States of America. Their additions apparently created the need for the phrase “contiguous states” when speaking about the first 48 states, the last of which, New Mexico and Arizona, by the way, will be celebrating their statehood centennials just three years from now in 2012.

But the evolutionary path to American statehood shows that “contiguous” was, by no means, a requirement for admission. Louisiana sat by itself with no other states on its border for several years. There were no states west of Iowa when California was admitted to the Union in 1850 – and there was little coincidence that the Gold Rush occurred just the year before. (Although the miners of that era are the namesake for the San Francisco 49ers, the team would not be born until nearly a century later. But I digress…)

This is all to say that for something to be “united” (as in the United States of America) does not require its parts to be contiguous, be the same size or shape, have similar histories, or need, in any way, to be joined at the hip.

But certainly a campus must be contiguous, right?

Dictionary.com has five definitions for the word “campus”.
The grounds, often including the buildings, of a college, university or school

A college or university

A division of a university that has its own grounds, buildings, and faculty but is administratively joined to the rest of the university

The world of higher education

A large, usually suburban, landscaped business or industrial site

I will draw your attention to the fact that none of those definitions contain the words “contiguous”, “adjacent”, “abut” or even “smack dab next to each other”.

UIC is a campus of the University of Illinois. There are two distinct sides to the UIC campus. UIC also has campuses in Rockford and Peoria.

Let’s get over it and move on…

Aloha and Tavvauvusi. (“Good-bye” in Hawaiian and Inuit, respectively.)

Until next Friday…

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