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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 56, Number 10 (Feb. 15, 1955)

Looking through the iron curtain,   pp. 14-15

Page 14

  The University of Wisconsin again
holds its position as America's sixth
largest university in full-time enrollment
of students.
  That's the word in the 35th annual
statistical study of the nation's 846 uni-
versities and colleges made by Dr. Ray-
mond Walters, president of the Univer-
sity of Cincinnati.
  Wisconsin  moved   from  eighth in
1950 up to sixth in 1952, and has main-
tained that position since. The figures
include students on all campuses (except
Illinois, which did not file complete
  Dr. Walters lists Wisconsin as enroll-
ing a total of 14,952 students taking 12
or more credits this year. The Univer-
sity's official figure, which does not in-
clude part-time night students, is 16,461,
but this total includes some students
taking less than 12 credits in regular
daytime classes on the Madison campus
and in Extension Centers. The additional
UW Enrollment Stands Sixth
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Looking Through the Iron Curtain
Prof. Gasiorowski
  Khruschchev and Co. don't know it,
but many aspects of Russian life are
under continuous observation at the Uni-
versity of Wisconsin through a typo-
graphical slit in the Iron Curtain.
  Prof. Xenia Gasiorowski of the de-
partment of Slavic languages is obser-
ver-in-chief and she regularly reports
to her students and her statewide radio
audience what average Russians are eat-
ing, wearing, saying, and doing.
  "I think the best way to fight com-
munism, while staying objective, is to
learn as much as we can about what life
without freedom is doing to 200 mil-
lion Russians," she says. "My students
on the campus are full of eager ques-
tions on how the Russians live. By
answering them, and by my weekly pro-
grams broadcast over the Wisconsin State
Broadcasting Service, I am doing what
I can."
  Mrs. Gasiorowski's pipeline to the
heart of Russia is the stream of Soviet
magazines and newspapers issued by the
Soviet government for home consump-
tion. Her knowledge of Russian life,
language, and literature is her unique
qualification for interpreting these docu-
  "The publications are full of propa-
ganda, yes," she admits. "But it's very
revealing propaganda to anyone who
can read between the lines, especially
now when the new rulers have decreed
a policy of extensive self-criticism.
   "Make no mistake about it, the gov-
ernment considers itself above reproach.
But the leaders obviously feel that com-
plaints about poor local administration,
red tape, bureaucracy, the inferior qual-
ity of goods available, and   housing
shortages are  safety valves for the
people. Since  Soviet society is con-
sidered to be a team engaged in build-
ing socialism, an individual criticizing
any short-comings of the system is sup-
posed to be criticizing himself," she
   "For the first time, the man in the
street is allowed to write complaining
letters to the editors, and cartoonists are
encouraged to ridicule selected subjects.
Special correspondents are sent out to
the provinces to reveal "deplorable"
situations. These items appear side by
side with the usual boasting about the
wonderful achievements of the Soviet
   "The new criticism and complaints
are revealing, but so is the boasting,
since things which are being boasted
about so often fall far below the stand-
ards of the Western world," she says.
  In 'Soviet humor magazines today,
Mrs. Gasiorowski explains, cartoonists
are lambasting everything from the poor
quality of food and clothing to the
nature of children's toys: balls which
deflate at the first bounce, rocking horses
which fall apart at the first ride, rubber
dolls whose cross faces frighten little
Misha and Masha.
   Magazines are full of pictures of smil-
ing girls in Moscow factories, posing
alongside machines which turn out tons
of dumplings or frankfurters daily; of
dumpy    models  wearing   the  latest
fashions designed by the Old Soviet
Union House of Fashion.
   "Materials for women's dothing are
students would not change Wisconsin's
place in the standings, even if they were
counted by the Cincinnati president.
  Wisconsin follows in size California,
New York State University, Minnesota:
Michigan, and Ohio State, in the same
order as last year. California has a total
enrollment of 35,273 full-time students
at its various branches.
  Following Wisconsin among the top
10 are New York University, Michigan
State College, Pennsylvania State Uni-
versity, and Indiana.
  Dr. Walters' survey, made annually
since 1920 for School and Society, na-
tional educational publication, shows a
grand total of 1,895,280 full and part-
time college and university students in
the country this year, an increase of 6.8
per cent in full-time students and 9.7
per cent in part-time students.
   This year's figures continue the up-
ward trend in student registrations on
American campuses for the second con-
secutive year, Dr. Walters pointed out,
in contrast with the preceding five years
of descending enrollments following the
exodus of World      War II veteran-

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