As a graduate of the venerable School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I take my role as a trained observer very seriously, and my responsibility as a grammatical invigilator no less so.
Last week, I arrived at the University of Miami to begin work toward a master’s degree in multimedia journalism in the School of Communication. I was immediately provoked by a prodigious punctuation error that is disturbing not only in its grammatical magnitude (really bad), but also in its physical dimension (in letters about five feet tall) and geographical reach (all over campus!).
I am writing, of course, about the green-and-orange Hurry ’Canes shuttles that ferry students and faculty about campus. Even the casual observer would note that a comma must appear after the word “hurry.” The phrase “Hurry, ’Canes” directly addresses the campus community of “’canes,” imploring us to “hurry.” Thus, a comma is required before the name of the person(s) to whom the admonition is directed.
With the comma, “Hurry, ’Canes” is grammatically correct. (That bothersome capital “C” and the purloined period at the end are matters for another discussion.) Without the comma, “Hurry ’Canes” means…well, I don’t think it means anything at all.
I have read that our school is now No. 50 in US News and World Report’s annual ranking of universities.
I trust that action will be taken to correct UM’s glaring grammatical gaffe; hopefully before the editors at US News find out about it.
-Charles “Stretch” Ledford, Multimedia Journalism Graduate Student
EDITOR’S NOTE: While it may seem grammatically incorrect in other circumstances, the Hurry ‘Canes shuttles are a play on the word “hurricane,” in reference to our sports teams.