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As some American students crowd Copenhagen for the U.N. climate summit, Ohio students are still working at home to kick coal off of their campuses. Over 25 students from around Ohio continued work begun at a regional Power Shift conference in November, gathering at the Ohio State University campus in Columbus this past weekend. Students slept outside and hosted speakers to help plan for clean energy.
Mattie Reitman, the founder of the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition, spoke about Ohio’s coal-centered history.
“We need to obliterate the false assumption that dismantling our coal industry will wipe out jobs.”
The Ohio Coal Association directly disagrees. A statement on their website reads that legislation restricting carbon emissions would “have a drastic impact on Ohio's economy by eliminating jobs in eastern and southern Ohio.”
Other coal researchers at the Ohio Coal Research Center, a branch of Ohio University, are still looking for ways to make biofuel and coal less polluting.
But OSEC students and their allies think that any kind of biofuel is the wrong kind.
Nachy Kanfer, a represenatative of the Sierra Student Coalition’s Beyond Coal Campaign, touched on the recent cancellation of a proposed local coal plant. “We need to stop funding coal projects in Ohio,” said Kanfer. “As Ohioans, we are calling on decision-makers to invest in truly clean energy, like solar and wind.”
The Sierra Club is running campaigns to get coal off of college campuses in 11 states around the country.
Students from OSU, Hiram College, and Oberlin College are working together under the banner of OSEC to make strong demands of the Ohio state legislature. They are calling for legislators to end state subsidies to coal, reinvest that money into clean energy, and pass a stricter carbon emissions ceiling.
The students have been communicating with the office of Ohio Governor Strickland, who said that the state of Ohio used $84 million of federal stimulus money to invest in non-coal advanced energy projects.
OSEC is planning to continue their work in the spring, with organizer Tim Krueger applying for funding from Brighter Planet to have regular sleepouts at the state capitol.
By Levi Pine
Subprime lending may have brought the world financial market to the brink of ruin, but several higher education advocacy organizations argue student lenders are continuing the same practices.
In a report released Dec. 1, “Subpriming Our Students: Why We Need a Strong Consumer Financial Protection Agency,” the organizations outline the need for borrower protection in the student loan industry. The report was produced by U.S. PIRG, the United States Student Association (USSA), and Demos, groups that advocate for students and consumer protection.
The study showed that 67 percent of last year’s bachelor’s graduates had student debt, at an average of $23,200.
The study also showed that the number of students taking out loans is rapidly increasing. In 2008, 3 million American students took out private loans while in 2007 only 1 million took out loans.
The groups blame the increase on aggressive marketing by unregulated lenders, especially by for-profit schools. Those institutions offer loans to help increase their enrollment levels. Many students take out high-interest loans offered by those schools first, before they have reached their limit on low-interest government loans.
Rich Williams, U.S. PIRG’s Higher Education Associate, likened taking out private student loans to incurring credit card debt.
“Students using private student loans to pay for college may as well be putting their degree on a credit card,” said Williams in a press release Tuesday. “Like credit card debt, these student loans carry high penalties and fees.”
Several for-profit institutions have been convicted of loan fraud. Right now, the U.S. Department of Education is working on new regulations for for-profit schools.
On Dec. 1, one former student’s bankruptcy was back in the news when the Supreme Court began hearing a case between Francisco Espinosa and United Aids Student Funds, Inc. Espinosa declared bankruptcy when he realized he couldn’t pay back his student loans on time, and the bankruptcy court excused him from paying $4,000 in interest under the repayment plan. United now claims the bankruptcy court’s ruling was illegal, and that Espinosa still owes the money.
Groups Call for Consumer Protection
The groups behind the report are calling for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency that would regulate companies like United. While a version of that agency is already proposed in a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives, “Subpriming our Students” sees a problem in the legislation. A legal loophole in the bill would allow for-profit colleges to escape from the CFPA’s regulations on private loans.
“It is essential we have a consumer watchdog to ensure that students don’t plunge headlong into financial risk to pay for a college degree, and it is critical that private student loans are covered by the agency,” said Williams.
Critics of the program say that the CFPA would suppress innovation in business. But Williams and his colleagues see this kind of consumer protection as necessary for the overall health of the economy.
“If we let profit-seeking companies target our students with ‘easy credit’ that they’ll be struggling to pay off for years, our economy will suffer in the long-run.”
By Meryl Dakin and Levi Pine
Now that the dust has settled on the roughly 7,000 person strong G-20 protest at the University of Pittsburgh, many are crying foul over police conduct towards student protesters and bystanders.
Last week, protesters from around the country, many of whom were college students, demonstrated outside the G-20 economic summit held at the University of Pittsburgh campus. Among their objections to the meetings were complaints that such important economic decisions are made by a handful of people behind closed doors.
While the protest itself has gotten widespread coverage already, many protesters and reporters are now accusing the police force of acting improperly and targeting students. Central Connecticut State University student Jeff Bartos was among the 110 arrested, and is one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU case to be brought against Pittsburgh and its police.
According to the Associated Press, University of Pittsburgh Police Chief Tim Delaney acknowledged that some of the students arrested “were just trying to get into [their] dormitories.”
66 students have joined the Facebook Group “I got tear-gassed at Pitt”. The group’s description reads “[This group is] for everyone who saw the ridiculous, unprovoked attacks by police on students.”
Oberlin College student Stella Byrne told that students were disproportionately victims of excessive police force.
“Cops probably outnumbered students three-to-one. [They] chased students onto campus and shot them with rubber bullets in the quad,” said Byrne over the phone. “Thursday night was totally horrifying to see because nobody was expecting this level of violence. [Students] were coming home from parties and getting gassed.”
“The line was blurred between protesters and citizens,” explained Byrne, who said that the police used tear gas, pepper spray, smoke bombs, dogs, and helicopters to control crowds.
"Some man who came up to us…said if we didn't leave, they would tear gas us," said Pitt student Angela Gorno.
Byrne described how riot police surrounded several hundred people and threatened tear gas if they did not disperse, and then “made it completely impossible to leave.” A video of the incident is posted on the Pittsburgh Police Brutality blog.
A petition from Democracy In Action has 1185 signatures, requesting that all charges against protesters be dropped, and that the City of Pittsburgh launch an investigation on police tactics at the protests.
More from Kent State University’s Kent News Net
More from the “I got tear-gassed at Pitt” Facebook group
More from the Pittsburgh Police Brutality blog
More from the New Britain Herald
More from the AP
More from the Pitt News at the University of Pittsburgh on the use of tear gas, acoustic weapons, and the city investigation into police conduct
By Michaelia Fosses
Historic activist group Students for a Democratic Society is back in the spotlight in a new incarnation, but with the same focus.
SDS began in the mid-1960s and developed into a prominent student activist group before its dissolution and segmentation in 1969.
In early 2006, a group of high school students teamed up with SDS veterans and reestablished the group. A website called students across the country to action, and in just one year, the group has garnered more than 250 chapters in high schools and colleges across the country.
A national organization with many local chapters, SDS also has a non-student counterpart, the Movement for a Democratic Society.
Since the organization is regionally based, different chapters participate in different events, but all with a focus on participatory democracy.
Currently, the Chicago chapter of SDS is focusing on peace work, especially countering military recruiters on campuses through teach-ins, rallies, and advocacy work.
In Chicago, other anti-war organizations started affiliating with SDS. Students for Social Justice at the University of Illinois Chicago and the DePaul Students Against the War were among the groups that joined says Nick Kreitman, an organizer for the Chicago chapter of SDS/MDS.
According to Kreitman, the Chicago chapter is more an amalgam of other groups than an organization of new recruits. “Right now, we're still kind of nebulous.”
Though the group's newest incarnation is different than the old, the ideals are still the same.
“A lot of the philosophy of the old SDS revolved around participatory democracy,” said Kreitman.
Though Kreitman believes stopping military presence on campus is important, “We need to expand beyond being a single-issue organization.”
In Chicago, SDS has yet to expand beyond the anti-war movement, though they are looking at options for the future. Kreitman says SDS may join up with Rainforest Action Network or other environmental organizations as one way to move beyond the war.
The SDS of the 1960s was more male-dominated and more centralized, but Kreitman believes the group became too power hungry, and people took advantage of the structure until it collapsed.
The SDS/MDS in Chicago is trying to make the new SDS more gender friendly, and trying to empower the people who weren't involved in decision making before.
The group is also working on developing a new strategy to recruit more students into the organization, as the movement is smaller in the Midwest than in the Northeast and the Northwest.
Many people aren't active now, in Chicago, says Kreitman, because of a “lack of a clear way of how they can influence events” in the world.
“A lot of it is that they don't see the cause and effect, and that's why I think we need SDS right now.”
The SDS/MDS in Chicago is planning a national conference to draft an organizational constitution. The Chicago chapter is also planning for a summer of heavy recruitment at various festivals, as well as a Chicago convention. SDS can be found online at www.studentsforademocraticsociety.org
By Sam Dolgin-Gardner, NSNS staff writer
A University of Chicago
group called Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (STAND) is engaging in
aggressive public protests—and guerrilla protests—to convince the
administration to divest from companies that support the Sudanese
Khartoum regime. Members have organized protests on campus, engaged
newly-appointed President Robert Zimmer directly in town hall meetings,
and snuck into a meeting of the Board of Trustees in an attempt to
bring their case directly to the Board.
The University of
Chicago has had a longstanding policy, elucidated in the 1967 Kalven
report, which states that the University will “maintain an independence
from fashions, passions and pressures.” The Board of Trustees used
this as a rationale in their decision not to divest. Instead, they
have created a $200,000 “Darfur Action and Education” fund to address
issues related to the conflict in Darfur and are welcoming proposals.
STAND has called this “blood money” and put up posters on campus with a
picture of a bullet and the message that the University has paid for it.
University does not divulge the specific nature of the investments of
its more than 5 billion dollar endowment, which has risen almost 2
billion dollars since 2003. Consequently it is impossible to know if,
in fact, University funds are being invested in companies with
unscrupulous practices. STAND, for its part, has not released the
names of companies it considers unacceptable.
Divestment Taskforce, the worldwide divestment advocacy group, does not
publicly release the names of companies “under scrutiny.” Instead, it
works directly with entities that wish to divest their funds. Last
year, under their guidance, the University of California system
divested from numerous companies, including Bharat Heavy Electricals,
Sinopec, and Petrochina. Many of these companies see excellent return
on investment. Bharat Heavy Electricals, an Indian manufacturer of
power generating and transmitting equipment, gave a 142% dividend last
The University of Chicago, in its investment
strategy overview, states that it invests 12.5% of its endowment in
international equities in emerging markets. If only 1% of that $625
million had been invested in Bharat Heavy Electricals, it would have
been enough to pay for the entirety of the newly created “Darfur Action
and Education Fund” many times over.
By Sam Dolgin-Gardner
Chicago-area Muslim Student Associations
(MSAs) have been attending the trial of Mohammed Salah, a resident of
Bridgeview, Illinois whom the US Government is accusing of fundraising
for Hamas. MSAs from the University of Chicago, DePaul, Northwestern,
and University of Illinois-Chicago are attending the trail to provide
moral support for Salah and his family and draw attention to what they
believe is a deeply flawed government case.
Students point to
the fact that the prosecution relies heavily on evidence gathered in
Israeli prisons—using methods that would be unacceptable in the
American justice system—as one major flaw of the trial. Another
criticism of the case surrounds the admission of closed testimony by
code-named Israeli agents. Finally, students feel the prosecution’s
case conflates the trial with the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
rather than dealing with the individual merits and evidence of this
“The government is not trying to separate this
trial from issues of Israel-Palestine as a whole,” said Afshan
Mohiuddin, a 3rd-year undergraduate who is coordinating trial
attendance from the University of Chicago. “The defense lawyers have
to start from to ground up, and they have to tackle the assumptions
that the American general population has—which is what the jury would
have—about terrorism and about Hamas: that Hamas necessarily equates to
a terrorist organization.”
Salah, a U.S. citizen of
Palestinian origin who was born in Jordan, ran the Quranic Literacy
Institute, an organization that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars
for causes in the Occupied Territories. On a 1993 trip to distribute
money there, Israeli authorities apprehended Salah and accused him of
giving that money to Hamas, a Palestinian group that has called for
Israel’s destruction. Although Salah claims he gave money only to
humanitarian causes, the Israelis jailed him for five years before
returning him to the United States, where he was considered a
“Specially Designated Terrorist” by the US Treasury Department.
Although Hamas—currently the democratically elected leadership of the
Palestinian people—was not considered at terrorist organization by the
United States in at the point Salah was arrested in Israel, it is
considered such today.
Many believe that if the US Government
prevails in this case, they’ll use this case as a precedent for further
prosecutions of American supporters of Hamas and other designated
terrorist organizations. This worries many American Muslims who wish
to send money to their homelands, but are concerned that the U.S. may
label legitimate charities as terrorist organizations. Compounding
this worry is the prevalence of organizations in the Muslim world that
have both militant and charitable arms, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and
the Muslim Brotherhood. A well-meaning American Muslim who gives money
to charities with innocuous names might find himself prosecuted for
supporting terrorism, his assets frozen and his job taken away.
the reasons for Muslim students to attend the Salah trial are obvious,
Mohiuddin wants encourage non-Muslim students to attend as well, citing
Muslims’ deteriorating civil liberties a reason for all citizens to be
concerned. “The defense lawyer came and spoke to us,” Mohiuddin
explained, “and he said that twenty years down the line, everyone’s
going to look at this trial and be ashamed, just like we’re now ashamed
of the internment camps. That really struck me, because once a group
loses civil liberties, it affects everyone.”
By Peggy Mansperger
“There’s nothing I can do.”
“It won’t make a difference anyway.”
These are just a couple of the phrases that have given our generation
the stereotype of apathy and self-centeredness. But according to Paul
Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While,
students are neither apathetic nor self-centered—they are just unaware
of the problems, unaware of the solutions, or unaware that they can
make a difference.
Loeb is a man who has been working to increase students’ awareness in these three arenas. According to his website,
he “has spent over thirty years researching and writing about citizen
responsibility and empowerment.” He has written five books, lectured at
400 colleges and universities, and last Friday, graciously became my
interviewee. What he had to say was powerful.
Awareness of the Problems
We began with the problem of students being unaware of the issues. In
order to understand this problem, Loeb says that we must ask who is at
fault for students not knowing.
In December 2005, the Bush administration cut $12.7 million in Federal financial aid. In one of his articles,
Loeb writes that while traveling the college circuit, he asked students
if they knew about the cuts. “A few knew,” he says, “maybe one in five.
The rest had no sense the cuts had even occurred, in part because [the
cuts’] greatest impact was buried in the fine print of student loan
agreements. As a result, students’ voices were silent when the cuts
went through.” Asked who is at fault, he says, “ National Media. Campus
Newspapers. Administrations. The administrations fought it, but didn’t
get the students involved. They should’ve gotten them involved, because
it was a threat to the students. Some did act, like the United States
Student Association (USSA). But all of these [groups] could have
involved others. We can do something if we get others involved.”
Ultimately, Loeb suggests that in order for students to know more,
we must demand to know more—and we must share what we know with others.
Becoming informed, and helping others to become informed, is the
responsibility of all of us. (To toot our own horn, Loeb gave the
National Student News Service props for our role in this.)
But what should students do once they know there is a problem? First, says Loeb, we must ask the hard questions.
He told me the story of a student who had helped in a homeless
shelter. The student said that his volunteer experience felt so great
he hoped his grandchildren would be able to work in that same homeless
shelter one day. A friend turned to him and said, “You should hope
there won’t be any need.” Why are homeless shelters necessary? What is
the bigger problem? These are the types of hard questions Loeb says we
Additionally, Loeb suggests we must be brave when confronting a new
problem. “Don’t be afraid to take risks,” he says. “Know that when you
start to act, you may not have all the answers. And that’s ok. You can
say ‘I can get back to you.’ It’s okay to get into things a step at a
time.” He also says we must not shy away from difficult topics. “We
cannot be afraid to talk about the hard issues: Guantanamo, Iraq,
Global Warming. We have to talk about it. That’s the only way to get
thinking about it, so then we can address it.”
Awareness of the Solutions
Loeb says students are recognizing the problems our country is facing,
and that we’ve unfairly been labeled as apathetic. But once we’ve
recognized the problems, the next step is to do something about them.
“We gain something profound when we stand up for our beliefs, just as
part of us dies when we know that something is wrong, yet do nothing,”
Loeb encourages bravery in our actions as well as our questions. He
says lots of situations “begin with terrible odds, but we find ways to
act.” As ways to the solutions, Loeb recommends trying to learn as much
about the issues as possible, putting pressure on campus and national
media to educate students and people in general, and getting other
people involved. Above all, he says, “always remember the possibility.
If you do nothing, nothing will happen. Remember that others are
involved. It is amazing how much a few people can do.”
In illustrating the difference students can make, Loeb told the
story of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, tomato pickers who started
a boycott against Taco Bell for improved wages and working conditions.
The four-year boycott grew into a victory largely because of the
support of college students. According to an article on the Democracy Now website,
twenty-two colleges successfully removed or blocked Taco Bell
businesses from their campuses. The students’ boycott helped encourage
Taco Bell to increase the amount it pays for tomatoes, and thereby
helped improve the workers’ living and working conditions.
Loeb believes a large part of the solution to any problem lies in
getting other people involved. He suggests students should look at
where other activists have come from, and he illustrates this point
with the story of Rosa Parks. Parks is often misinterpreted as a tired
woman who simply sat down on a bus, but she had been an activist for
twelve years prior to her famous arrest. “This in no way diminishes the
power and historical significance of Parks’s refusal to give up her
seat,” explains Loeb. “But it reminds us that this tremendously
consequential act, along with everything that followed, depended on the
humble and frustrating work that Parks and others undertook earlier
Loeb uses this example to remind us that change is not immediate and
that slow progress should not discourage us from acting. He quotes
religious activist Jim Wallis: “Hope is believing in spite of the
evidence, then watching the evidence change.”
The example of Rosa Parks also debunks the myth that activists come
out of nowhere, says Loeb. “Who got Rosa Parks involved [in the civil
rights struggle]? Her husband Raymond Parks. Who got Raymond Parks
involved? We don’t know, but [Raymond Parks] was a barber; it may have
been one of his customers. Whoever it was, what if it wasn’t for that
first person? Get other people involved, and you may be getting the
next Rosa Parks involved.”
Awareness That We Can Make a Difference
Loeb said that some people suffer from a sense that what they do is not
going to matter. To these students, Loeb tries to tell stories that
say, “You never know.”
“People don’t think that registering voters and knocking on doors
matters, but they have to recognize that sometimes there are very small
races.” He said that in an election near his hometown, a candidate won
with a 134-vote difference. “If it wasn’t for the maybe 25,000 people
on the campaign, it wouldn’t have happened. They swung the difference.”
Loeb says that part of knowing that we can make a difference lies in
knowing what others have done before us. He told the story of a student
who complained to him that our schools teach us that Lincoln freed the slaves and women got the right to vote, but not how
they did it. In the words of the student, “We don’t learn the
processes, just the result.” Loeb says we need to ask schools to teach
us those processes—what has been done, what worked before, and what
made a difference.
When I asked how to get other people on board, Loeb said to find the heart of the issue.
“Tell it in a way that makes it real, not just the numbers,” he
recommends. “Numbers are powerful, but you’d do best to say ‘this is
why I’m involved; this is why I’m really concerned.’”
“People have to feel like what they do is going to matter,” he
continued. “When the unforeseen benefits of our actions are taken into
account, any effort may prove more consequential than it seems at
Loeb told the story of twenty young women who stood protesting in
the rain. They left feeling defeated—like they hadn’t made a
difference. Years later, one of the women stood at a similar protest
among thousands. Dr. Spock (a famous child psychologist) took the
stage—he had used his celebrity status to spread awareness about the
issue, and now he was there to speak. Standing in front of the
thousands he had helped get involved, he told the story of how years
before he had once seen twenty women in the rain protesting this very
same issue. He said he thought to himself, “If they think it’s that
important I should look into it.” He did, and then dedicated himself to
it. Those twenty women had made a huge difference.
“People are told they don’t have the standing to have a voice. But
[the powers that be] tell that to everyone. People think ‘I don’t know
enough. Others are better; they know more.’ We come up with lots of
excuses. And so we end up setting a standard that none of us can meet.
And that is very dangerous.”
“Always remember the possibility,” he said.
Learn more about Loeb and his books, and read or sign up to receive his articles by visiting his website: www.paulloeb.org.
By Jason Gulya, NSNS Staff Writer
Across the country, students are returning from their spring breaks. Some students went away on vacation, some caught up on missed sleep. Thousands of others worked in areas of turmoil, participating in Alternative Spring Breaks.
Along with providing valuable community service in places such as New Orleans—still suffering from Hurricane Katrina—the students who participate in service trips build coalitions that last beyond the spring break week. Alternative Spring Breaks, these students say, are a source of friendship between individuals and between different colleges and campuses.
On one trip to Louisiana, the students stayed at a Methodist Church at Kenner (a suburb just outside of New Orleans), and gutted demolished homes, painted newly rebuilt ones, and conversed and experienced the aura that is New Orleans. In the church—a modest edifice with tiny rooms and four showers—stayed 100 temporary denizens. These students came from various campuses of Rutgers University (one group came from College Avenue Campus, another from Douglass College, another from Livingston Campus, another from Newark Campus), and from Montclaire University. Stockton College students also traveled to New Orleans at this time, doing community service with an organization called Acorn.
Lodging at the church gave the students an opportunity to work with and live with others from different colleges. According to Kathleen Connelly, a student from Barnard College who participated in a trip, “It was great to meet people from all over Rutgers and the different colleges that were there, and I think we’ll be good friends for a really long time.”
Students aren’t the only ones forging new bonds on these trips. Various trip organizers needed to work together to create a beneficial experience for all.
This was the second time in two years that Rutgers University sent down students to New Orleans; last spring break students worked with an organization called Common Ground Relief Project, centered in the upper 9th Ward.
Most of the students at the church worked on “gutting” homes in New Orleans; this means, basically, that the homes were stripped of everything. First, family possessions were taken out of the house, then the walls, floors, and ceilings were stripped down until there was only a framework where there used to be a home. Gutting is a necessary step in rebuilding the city—high water levels destroyed most of the houses, and the subsequent decay has made the homes unsafe. The hope is that if the foundations are strong enough, the houses will be built up again after they are gutted. Some of the students are hopeful that they will be able to return to the city to do more work during the summer.
By Sam Dolgin-Gardner, NSNS Staff Writer
CHICAGO—More than 2,000 college students recruited by People for the
American Way acted as Polling Place Administrators in Chicago's recent
municipal elections. Recruited for their tech-savvy and natural
affinity for computers, electronics, and gadgets, the students assisted
election judges by setting up electronic voting machines,
troubleshooting problems with the machines, and tabulating votes at the
end of the day.
Chicago introduced electronic voting last year, using equipment
manufactured by Sequoia Voting Systems. Chicago's voters are given a
choice of marking a paper ballot that is then read and recorded by an
optical scanner (like an SAT answer sheet), or using a touch-screen
computer that prints a paper record of each voter's ballot. Several
hundred students were trained to provide voter assistance at the point
that electronic machines were introduced. Their performance convinced
election officials to recruit thousands more for the recent election.
Despite the new technology, Chicago's elections ran smoothly. Students
were able to assist confused judges and voters, helping the oldest
right of the republic enter the modern age.
By Michaelia Fosses
Imagine a group of students gathering in any
room on campus—a classroom full of people, some chatting with their
neighbors, others fidgeting with their backpacks. Then someone walks
to the front of the room and begins to speak. But it's no ordinary
On Wednesday, March 28, students across the country
will gather to participate in YouthTrain, a leadership and activist
training event sponsored by the Center for Progressive Leadership.
in YouthTrain will have access to “a training video, a live event with
national youth leaders, and a skills practice session,” according to
the event's website. The event is based on the “house party” model
developed during the 2004 Presidential campaign as an effective and
personal means of networking likeminded people and fostering political
“I think this is a fun way to bond with fellow
students on campus,” said Claudia Ahwireng, Program Assistant at the
Center for Progressive Leadership. Along with the students gathering on
an individual campus, the Center is planning for YouthTrain events to
run simultaneously, allowing students across the country to interact
with one another via a conference call.
Students sign up with
the Center to host a YouthTrain event at their school. The Center hopes
to have 50 schools running the training; however, at the time of the
writing of this article, only 22 schools have signed up to host an
“This is kind of face-to-face,” explained Ahwireng.
“They'll be calling in their questions and we'll be responding in real
“We're running this with our partner organizations that
have student chapters and we were hoping they would help us get to 50,”
said Ahwireng. “We definitely think 50 is realistic. Usually there's
a huge rush to sign up the week of [the event].”
organization has never done an off-site training event geared toward
youth, Ahwireng expects the event to be a success.
“[YouthTrain] is innovative because it allows a large number of people to gather in one space,” said Ahwireng.
its technological innovation, Ahwireng says the event is cost-effective
and convenient for many students because it is held right on their
Gregory Cendana, a sociology major at the University
of California Los Angeles, and host of their YouthTrain, agreed with
“I thought it would be an interesting way to get
information in a different kind of format,” he said. Cendana also said
the format was one of the most intriguing aspects for him.
emphasized that the event is relationship-building and allows students
to get together and share ideas; she also said it is empowering, as
students have control over how they stage the event.
As the event grows nearer, students are getting excited.
thought this was a great opportunity for those individuals who, after
college, plan on continuing their work in organizing and lobbying,”
said Amy Moore, a Women's Studies major and host of the YouthTrain at
Humboldt State University
“I’m really looking forward to see what will come of [YouthTrain],” said Cendana. “I hope to really engage other students.”
Center For Progressive Leadership will make a big recruiting push in
the next week, working with their partner organizations to increase the
number of schools involved, said Ahwireng.
For more information about YouthTrain or the Center For Progressive Leadership, visit the website at http://www.progressleaders.org/youthtrain/. To watch a YouTube video about the event, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2YovxpOaJc&eurl.
by Peggy Mansperger
On April 14, people all over the country will hold events for “Step It Up: A National Day of Climate Action.” Organized by six recent college graduates and Bill McKibben, scholar in residence at Middlebury College, Step It Up is expected to be the largest day of citizen action focused on global warming in U.S. history.
Step It Up is designed to capitalize on the national movement to spread awareness about global warming. Parents, children, entrepreneurs, and college students are setting up rallies and events in the name of Step It Up, demanding that Congress put the United States “on a course to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050.”
Over 900 events are planned across all 50 states. From senior citizens to first-graders, people are planning ways they can be part of the day’s action. Events are planned locally so supporters can emit the least amount of carbon, and so that the educational impact of events is made at home.
In Florida, scuba divers are planning to hold underwater signs by the damaged reefs. There is a children’s march planned in South Dakota and a “bubble parade” in Berkeley, California. Thousands will rally in New York City. Citizens in other parts of the country plan to rally, march, sing, and bike in their own hometowns.
College students are also joining the movement, helping by planning, promoting, and attending events. Step It Up boasts allies of student groups like Campus Climate Challenge, Focus the Nation, Sierra Club, and Student Conservation Voters. The Student Public Interest Research Groups’ website explains that University of Maryland College Park students started their Step It Up campaign a month in advance. They’ve gathered over 300 photo petitions of students asking Congress to “Step It Up! Reduce Carbon by 2050.”
University of California San Diego students are going to rally on the green of Eleanor Roosevelt College. The University’s student environmental groups are getting involved, and so are colleges like Paul Smith’s College. Students at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College are painting murals. Student clubs are joining together in La Jolla, California.
The nation’s sororities, too, are getting involved. In January, Bill McKibben wrote an article showing that the Alpha Phi Sorority chapter from the University of Texas at Austin was helping to spur the Step It Up events and issues.
Teachers are motivating some of the organizing students and friends are motivating others, but all are being motivated by the possibility of making a difference.
For more information on Step It Up, go to: http://www.stepitup2007.org/
For many students across the country, class participation and attendance have been taken to a whole new level. Where most students find it difficult to wake up and go to class in the morning, some now view it as just another opportunity to get extra credit. Universities across the country have begun to implement the use of clickers in the classroom. Officially termed “Classroom Response Systems,” these devices allow not only for computers to register attendance but also for students to key in answers to the computer for extra credit later. The devices are hand held remotes with a series of lettered and/or numbered keys, which wirelessly beam data to the professor’s computer where software analyzes and tracks the data. The clickers are often sold as part of a textbook package and can be pricey, but professors seem to think the cost is well worth it.
With the quickly spreading interest in going green campus groups are leading the way to an environmentally friendly future. At the University of California-Los Angeles, it's the Greeks that are helping to spread the phenomena. Changing small habits in their campus houses is helping for the campus to embrace the new green change. With a large Greek population on the campus, the community is hoping that their knowledge and work will spread to the rest of the campus community.
By Jose Requena, NSNS Staff Writer
A recent study by five psychologists, contending
that students have grown more self-centered between 1982 and 2006, has
been the subject of much press of late. The Narcissistic Personality
Inventory was given to 16,475 college students nationwide, and
researchers found a 30% increase in the test’s narcissism scores
between the study’s beginning and end. About two-thirds of students are
scoring high in the NPI today.
Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University, the study’s lead researcher, is also the author of Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before. Narcissists, by her definition, lack empathy, are aggressive towards criticism, and favor self-promotion over altruism.
need to stop endlessly repeating 'You're special' and having children
repeat that back," Twenge said in frequently reprinted quote. “Kids are
self-centered enough as it is.”
Paul Watson, author of papers on
narcissism and psychology professor at the University of Tennessee at
Chattanooga, says it’s a complex issue. He cites the difference between
mature self-esteem and immature self-esteem, saying the former is
internalized and not dependent on others, while the latter depends on
approval of others and is based on getting ahead. He agrees that there
came a point where the “effort to build self confidence had gone too
Student reaction to the study has been mixed.
Kraynak, a third-year University of Illinois Chicago student, thought
the test was too simple to show big changes in youth culture. “For one
thing, a college degree today isn’t the same thing it was 10, 20 years
ago. Today it’s all but mandatory, in 10 years it’ll probably be a
joke. There are more people going to college today.”
to the National Center for Educational Statistics, enrollment of 18–24
year olds into a degree-granting institution has gone up from 20% in
1970 to 41% in 2003. Students pointed out that increases in college
enrollment lead to increased job market competition, a factor that they
feel might contribute to their narcissistic appearance.
definitely more emphasis today on finding a job. More people competing
for white collar jobs makes the job search more competitive,” says
Elizabeth Camarosso, a first year Seton Hall student. “In conclusion, I
miss the days of apprenticeships and women staying at home,” she jokes.
The study also noted that while students are doing more
volunteer work today, more schools have made it a requirement. Marie
Gilbert, a first year DePaul student, concedes: “I only do volunteer
work when it is required for something, so I guess it's safe to say I
do zero volunteer work. I do consider it, but when I think of the hours
I could have spent at my real job where I get paid I immediately stop
Bradley Sklenar, a first year Robert-Morris
College student, added the fact that today’s culture is more
desensitized to certain things. “We have more information, faster cars,
bloodier movies, and stronger drugs than past college students. We see
the rest of the world and anything we want on the internet. What did
they think was going to happen?”
David Favela, a third year
University of Illinois Chicago student majoring in Math, responds, “It
really comes down to whether we’re just what the media wants us to be
or whether the media is already pandering to what we are. I don’t know
the answer. I’m sure it’s more complicated than anyone cares to see.”
Students depending on their parents’ homeowner’s insurance to cover their personal property while away at school may be in for a big disappointment, especially if they live off-campus. Rich Job, a sale representative for Bank of the West, said renters' insurance is important for both the protection of personal property and student liability coverage. Many plans offer pay-by-month options, which are relatively affordable. The main reason for students not purchasing these policies is the belief that a landlord's insurance will cover them, when in fact it solely covers the landlord's property. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, most university dormitories are covered by university insurance, but this may only be liability coverage. They recommend reading the fine print on parents’ homeowner’s insurance for students still in dorms, while off-campus students are advised to purchase their own coverage to protect their personal property.
In the post 9/11 age, National Security is high on every American’s priority list. This week NSNS takes a look at the presidential candidates’ stances on National Security. While Senator’s McCain and Obama agree in some areas, such as slowing nuclear proliferation, they strongly disagree in others. Though both voted “Yes” to renew the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, Obama voted against expanding wiretapping while McCain voted for it. McCain has taken a very vocal stance against torture, but voted against Habeas Corpus for Guantanamo Bay prisoners, and voted against requiring CIA operatives to make full reports of investigations. Obama voted to instate Habeas Corpus for detainees and cites a strong correlation between prisoner torture and extremist attitudes toward America. From the candidates own web sites, McCain’s plan for National Security involves military force abroad while Obama largely cites the need to secure vulnerable targets at home.
More on McCain from the National Center for Policy Analysis
More on Obama from the National Center for Policy Analysis
More from Senator McCain's campaign website
More from Senator Obama's campaign website
More on Senator McCain's voting record
More on Senator Obama's voting record
By Jose Requena
A number of incidents on campuses across the country suggest that
Muslim students are finding it harder to go about daily life. In these
times of conflict, Muslim students are facing prejudices and legal
loopholes in the pursuit of their education.
incidents ranged from notes full of religious and cultural slurs to—in
perhaps the most extreme example of discriminatory vengeance—a U Mass
Amherst student falsely accusing a Muslim student of terrorist plotting
to the National Security Agency (NSA). This semester, Muslim students
are experiencing trouble again.
In South Carolina, three
Palestinian students’ night out ended in the hospital. The students
claim that several members of the Guildford College football team
assaulted the trio and yelled racial slurs as they attacked. Several
bystander accounts agree. Two of the three victim were themselves
students at Guilford.
“It was the ugliest thing I have ever
seen," said Omar Awartani, one of the victims. Awartani, a freshman
pursuing a double major in aerospace and mechanical engineering at NC
State, was visiting his Guilford friends at the time of the attack.
"I've seen Israeli soldiers doing this to me in Palestine, but I've
never seen this with citizens. It just came with punches, kicks, and
brass knuckles. There were witnesses that told me they were picking up
rocks and bricks and hitting me."
Some fault the campus
Public Safety Office for responding too late, with some witnesses
stating officers took as much as 45 minutes to arrive. College
Spokesman Ty Buckner disputed these claims, saying, "I do know that
they did respond and now we're following up. I would suggest that it
did not take forty-five minutes to respond. I'm sure the college will
assess all the aspects of this event and make sure we're doing what we
need to do."
In Massachusetts, another Muslim student is
engaged in a different kind of fight, although many people perceive the
fight as similarly rooted in discrimination. The Harvard Ph.D.
candidate Omar al-Dewachi is caught in a legal mire that keeps him from
re-entering the U.S. and thus from completing his studies. Al-Dewachi,
who hails from Iraq, came to the U.S. with a passport issued by Sadam
Hussein’s regime. That passport is now obsolete.
who studies social anthropology, traveled to Montreal to continue his
research on the Iraqi diaspora. As he told the Harvard Crimson in a
telephone interview, he received a U.S. entry visa on Jan. 31 but was
told the next day that the “N” series passport he was planning to use
with the visa was invalid. In order to get the necessary “G” passport
he would have to return to war-torn Baghdad.
“One wonders if
it’s almost a perverse joke,” said Al-Dewachi’s academic advisor Steven
Caton, director of the Center of Middle Eastern Studies and a professor
of contemporary Arab studies in the Department of Anthropology. “I
can’t imagine having to go back to Baghdad...It’s almost a death
sentence, and he obviously has no intention of going back.”
to Caton, Dewachi is not the only member of the Harvard community
affected this way by State Department regulations. He said that Asad A.
Ahmed, an assistant professor who was scheduled to teach Anthropology
2675, “Secularism, Religion, and Nation in South Asia” this semester,
is currently awaiting a visa to reenter the United States from Pakistan.
these Muslim students and professors face legal and social obstacles
not common to most Americans, their institutions of education often
show sympathy and support. Guilford, a Quaker college that has
traditionally self-identified as an advocate for peace and social
justice, issued a statement in their website saying that the incident
has altered the college and several steps are being taken to prevent
future problems. Although students like Al-Dewachi are not always lucky
enough to have a concerned advocate like Steven Canton, their school
may help them find other options. Al-Dewachi is attempting to obtain a
travel document from the Canadian government that would identify him as
“stateless,” allowing him to get the visa stamp to pass into the United
Sparkling ocean water, warm sunshine, electrifying music and the color of pink showering tens of thousands of people. Those are just some of the images on race day during the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The Race for the Cure is a massive event that takes place every year in several locations across the United States. The West Palm Beach race is the largest Race for the Cure in Florida.
The race includes several activities, from a 5 kilometer run and walk to a costume contest, in which thousands of people participate to benefit breast cancer research and education.
Nancy G. Brinker founded the organization in 1982 after her sister, Susan G. Komen, died of breast cancer. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and stimulate scientific research to find the cures.
Anita Holmes, executive director of the South Florida affiliate, said that 21,000 people registered last year, and 25,000 showed up on race day. The event was able to raise $1.6 million. She said they are hoping to have 22,000 registered participants for the upcoming race in January of 2009.
Florida Atlantic University is home to a lot of these participants. The university runs campaigns to get students and faculty involved in the race, whether it’s actually walking or running in the race, volunteering, or just raising money for the cause.
Geoffrey Johnson, coordinator of information analysis at FAU, said one of the things students do to raise money is put on a competition called “penny wars,” which is a contest to see who can raise the most money using just change.
With such an incredible number of people participating in the race, there is much work to be done. Holmes said she has found a lot of enthusiastic volunteers to help within the Palm Beach community to construct and run the race.
Aside from students participating in the run and walk, they play a large part in setting up the event, Holmes said. “We have 300 to 400 volunteers, and most of them are students.”
The students are mainly from surrounding universities and help out in several ways, Holmes said. Students work to set up banners and booths, check in racers and man water stations.
Nursing students from Palm Beach Atlantic University go so far as to run the first-aid tent as volunteers. Patricia Amado, assistant professor of nursing at PBA, said the students really enjoy getting involved. “It’s mostly juniors and seniors, and all of them love running the first-aid tent and doing blood-screening activities,” Amado said.
The more social and interactive duties that students undertake include acting as “cure leaders,” which are like cheerleaders for the race who cheer on the participants as they head to the finish line, Holmes said. “Also, students volunteer to sign up people for health-based petitions that involve breast cancer and that will be sent to legislators.”
A new theme the Susan G. Komen organization is focusing on this year is recycling and conserving resources, Holmes said. “There’s a big push to green.”
There will be a projected number of 30,000 water bottles used on race day, and the race staff plans to recycle all of them, Holmes said. Additionally, the organization is encouraging participants to sign-up online instead of by mail as an effort to save paper.
With nearly $1 billion invested by the Komen organization to date, the Race for the Cure is running stronger than ever, and it is clear that with all of the student involvement that occurs, the difficulty of successfully managing an event of this scale becomes much easier.
“It’s a daunting task to set up for the race,” Holmes said, “but it’s such an inspirational and exciting event.”
By Amanda Adams
Sam (henceforward NSNS): In my blog, I reported on efforts to counteract the effects of Hosty vs. Carter. When he was attending Green River Community College, student journalist Brian Schraum tried to get his school to implement an anti-censorship policy. When they refused to do so, he took his fight to Washington. Olympia, Washington, that is. He helped introduced a powerful anti-censorship bill that extends protections to high school students as well as college students. Schraum is now a student at Washington State University. NSNS sat him down for an interview:
NSNS: So you're at Green River College, and you want an anti-censorship policy. What made you push for one, and what was the administration's reaction?
Brian Schraum: After the Hosty case my thinking was that we should do something at my school to be preemptive, so we drafted the policy and brought it to school officials. At first they seemed pretty upbeat about it, but then they consulted with their lawyers and backed off of it, so it died. I was frustrated and knew this representative from a story for the paper I worked on. I talked with him and we came up this bill.
NSNS: Were you planning on writing articles that the administration would take offense at?
BS: I didn't have this grand plan that I was going to start writing things they would dislike. It was a philosophical, First Amendment-type thing. Initially they were supportive of the concept, but once they started talking to their lawyers they were torn between what we were saying and what I would consider to be bad advice from their attorney. He said we couldn't possibly be a forum because students were earning credit for working on the paper.
NSNS: Can you explain the legal concept of a forum?
BS: In Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier in 1988, the Supreme Court said the level of control officials have over a paper depends on whether the paper can be considered a public forum. This gave high school officials the prerogative to decide whether or not to let student editors make content decisions. If school officials have a standing policy of reviewing student papers, then it isn't a public forum. What Hosty did was apply that same analysis to college newspapers.
NSNS: How did you decide to take it to state level?
BS: I got frustrated with the [administrative] process that was going on. The more I got thinking about it, the more I realized that if you leave this decision up to school administrators, they'll err on the side of retaining their power—because it's in their interests to be able to control what people are hearing about their schools. The only way we were able to make progress on this was to take it to the state level and take this decision out of their hands. The First Amendment was designed to take this decision out of individual peoples' and states' hands. Hearing about the censorship in high schools made me want to take action. That, and knowing this representative [Dave Upthegrove’s (D-Seattle)], who is down to earth, the youngest guy in there. He took it and ran with it
NSNS: How active are you in its passage through Washington State Government?
BS: I'm not a politician; I'd be a horrible politician. The bill will be heard in committee on Friday, so I'm going to be testifying. There are 11 members in the committee and four are cosponsors, so I think the odds are good in that part of it. We have bipartisan support. Our Republican Attorney General is supportive, as well as a number of Democratic legislators. Everybody recognizes this thing will live or die based on the high school component of it, how far school officials are willing to go to oppose it.
NSNS: If high schools risk killing this bill, why did you include them?
BS: When I worked on my high school paper, even though I didn't have any censorship problems, there was always that assumption that if you get a little too out of hand you'll get shut down. If you go to the Student Press Law Center [www.splc.org] you'll see case after case of administrations going after papers. It was common sense for me. If you're going to have personal amendment protections, they should be for everyone. You shouldn't get into that game of “First Amendment applies here and not there.” The First Amendment applies to everyone.
NSNS: Do you think administrations should be allowed any control over student newspapers?
BS: There are things like libel and invasion of privacy that we hold everyone to. No one would be opposed to authorities coming in in those cases. In those limited cases, sure. Otherwise you've got a situation where the government (public school officials) is censoring journalists (public school journalists).
NSNS: Should private schools be held to the same standards?
BS: No, the bill deals only with public schools. Public school officials are government officials, private schools are private entities. California is the only state in the nation that deals with censorship in private schools. It would be biting off more than we could chew to go after them.
NSNS: How should the distinction be made between the "official" and "independent" school newspapers?
BS: I'm personally opposed to the term "official" school newspaper. It’s debated whether the school owns the newspaper and owns the speech. “Student newspaper” in the traditional sense means you've got students getting together on campus in a classroom with an advisor provided by the school, and kids can usually earn credit. At independent newspapers the students are not involved at school, they're not accepting any school funds, and they're not necessarily getting support from a faculty member.
NSNS: What roles do you think [student newspapers] should be filling?
BS: It's within the rights of anybody who wants to, to go out there and start a publication. The role of a student newspaper is to be a respectable media source, doing all the things that professional papers are doing and serving as a learning experience for students who are going to go out there and be professionals about this. One of the most valuable things you can get in education is that real-life experience. The primary difference would be that traditional student newspapers are more for providing an educational experience for journalism students.
NSNS: What about the tactic of cutting off funding for papers that the administration dislikes? Is that a violation of free speech?
BS: I don't know the specific details. The courts have said that the power of the purse is a clever way of censorship. It's no different than if the school had said "you're not going to print this period," but that [economic censorship] is more and more the most common form of censorship. Sometimes they'll cleverly word it like "we're not satisfied with the quality of the paper." The courts have been pretty understanding that this is a form of censorship. My personal opinion would be that I don't think any school should be obligated to fund a newspaper. It's unacceptable for public schools to be controlling funds based on content issues.
By Michaelia Fosses, NSNS Staff Writer
Two young men walk down a dirt road, seemingly in chase of two boys playing soccer barefoot with a homemade ball. A few children gather to look on.
This is just one of the many photos from Project Focus, a student organization and traveling photography exhibit whose first show features photos taken by 16 children living in the slums around Kampala, Uganda.
Patricia Blauvelt, a junior communication major at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Public Relations Director for Project Focus, says the group’s goal was giving a voice to an otherwise silent people.
“We wanted to give the kids an outlet—to give the kids a way to document their lives,” she said. “A lot of people go places and document their experiences, but it's their perspective. We wanted to give the kids a voice—to explore something they'd never used before.”
Art as activism has been around almost since the first human drew a picture of an animal on the wall of a cave. From the political art of the 1930s, to the murals of Diego Rivera, to street art in major cities around the world, art has been a major force of social change for years.
Currently the movement is surging at college campuses across the nation. This semester, students have organized a plethora of events and created an abundance of unique art that spreads a message.
“If you want to make a social statement, I think art is a good way to do it,” said Sarah Jeziorski, artist and senior psychology major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Ideally, I think it can reach people on more of a personal level.”
At the University of Georgia, students held a festival that exposed truths about animal abuse. “Speak Out for Species” explored the human-animal relationship through the popular medium of film.
"The films bring to light various issues involving animals that the general population has no idea about," said Tatiana Barron in a Red and Black article. "Hopefully, it will spur some compassion that will lead to action. Every little bit counts."
At the University of California at Davis, students explored the meaning of feminism through film, holding their second annual feminist film festival. The films explored such topics as class, race, disability, spirituality, gender, and body image.
Students at Pepperdine University in California used visual art to convey their message. The Eve Project created a mural on one of the walls on campus to promote sexual violence awareness and to give survivors a voice.
Another mural project at the University of New Hampshire asked 13 students to explore the meaning of the word 'diversity,' taking advantage of the perception that in the last few decades, art has become more global and without a definite center.
Many people think art exists as a medium for expression, but these students and student movements are working to prove that sometimes, art has a message as well.
“I think art's always had a message—people are just learning how to use it more directly,” said Blauvelt.
Jeziorski agrees, “I think it's refreshing to see social commentary in art.”
Art is all around us, said Blauvelt, asking, “Why not [use it to] teach someone something?”
By Jose Requena
A story that has been developing these past weeks reveals an ugly side to the student loan industry. As has been reported in several media outlets, the $85 billion student loan industry is under investigation for giving university officials kickbacks for companies’ placement on “preferred lender” lists. The investigation, which began in the New York State Attorney General’s Office, showed (and continues to show) that students seeking financial advice from their schools would be referred to “preferred” companies regardless of better deals or lower interest rates elsewhere.
“Schools are using their position as mediators between students and companies for profit without letting students know they have other options,” says Luke Swarthout, Advocate of Higher Education for U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group).
Since it first broke, the scandal has revealed a host of questionable ethics violations on the part of schools and student loan companies, ranging from the kickbacks first discovered to financial aid call centers that were staffed by loan company employees.
So far eight schools have agreed to reimburse students $3 million for the cost of revenue sharing agreements, and 22 have agreed to New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s Code of Conduct, placing hard limitations on the lender/university relationship.
Since the Higher Education Act was amended in 1997, student loan companies have at their disposal a string of penalties and fees to use on defaulted student loan debt—including taking away the protections of bankruptcy. According to higher education advocates, regulating the relationship between educational institutions and these companies is only the beginning of the student protections need.
Last year’s Deficit Reduction Act cut away from several programs, including a $12 billion cut to student loan packages. According to U.S. PIRG, the measure “forces student and parent borrowers to pay excessive interest rates on their loans,” compounding the effect of students being steered toward lenders without regard to interest rates.
“Subsidy isn’t set by the market. Congress sets it,” says Swarthout. “Congress needs to address the student loan program for the benefits of students, not banks. They need to structure to subsidies for better results for the borrowers.”
By Michaelia Fosses
The first night after its publication, an article about an on-campus
rape was cut out of a student newspaper at Notre Dame de Namur
Students, reporters, and staff members at the California school woke
one morning in January to find that the article had been cut out of
about 500 copies of their newspaper The Argonaut. Between 1,200 and 1,400 copies the paper are usually printed for the school.
Editor Emeritus Erik Oeverndiek said that he received e-mails from
students asking the story not be printed before the paper decided to
run the article. A University spokesman has said that the working
theory is that friends of the victim, wishing to protect her identity,
cut out the story.
The victim is not named or described in the article. The sentence that
offers the most description of the victim, reads “An NDNU female living
in JB was raped in her dorm room over the weekend, police reported.”
The only description offered in the article was one of the offender—“an
Asian male, with spiky hair and acne.”
Upon hearing of the article removal, student reaction at other universities has been mixed.
“I was surprised at first, but then I agreed with the [Argonaut’s
breaking news article] title, 'Copies of The Argonaut vandalized.' It
is not the first or the last time that college newspapers will be
stolen or have their articles cut out. Not a lot of people know that
this is a form of censorship and can lead to disciplinary actions,
prosecution, or fines,” said Kristine Ostil, a junior communication
major and Editor in Chief of the Chicago Flame, the independent student newspaper of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Even if some students saw it as an act of vandalism, others disagreed.
“To go to that much trouble to cut out one article in a bunch of
newspapers just doesn't seem like a simple act of vandalism,” said
Jennifer Reid, a senior French major at the University of Illinois at
While some students were concerned that the act was vandalism, still others were concerned with censorship.
“To literally cut out a story from the newspaper is a very blatant form
of censorship. I'm sure the vandals had a reason to do this, whether
it was morally driven or they had some sort of personal connection to
the story, but it is unreasonable that they would deny the student body
access to important information that may heighten awareness and
increase safety measures,” said Dana Williams, a junior English major
at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Sarah Jeziorski, a senior psychology major at the University of
Illinois at Chicago, agreed. “When crime occurs where I live, I want
to know about it; I want to know if I should be looking out for myself
and my friends.”
Jason Gulya contributed to the research of this article.
by Jason Gulya
Already in 2007 we’ve heard much about the
upcoming elections, both about the primaries and—after speculations
over who will win the primaries—the elections themselves. This trend
has reached colleges nationally, with students more interested at this
early stage than perhaps ever before.
University, the RU Democrats and the Rutgers College Republicans are
already swapping impressions of the possible 2008 candidates. Around
the country, on-campus groups—whether they be Republican, Democrat, or
affiliated with another political party or ideology—are thinking of
ways to get the younger population out and eager to vote. Nonpartisan
groups are also working on ways to attract students to the polls.
such group, Maryland Votes, works within the University of Maryland
system. Bill Grayson, the head of the group, said that they are using
initiatives much different from those of last semester, and—instead of
spending the majority of their time registering students to
vote—they’re urging the colleges to step up and institutionalize
voting. Maryland Votes has raised the possibility of students being
able to register when they get their school ID. Grayson said he wants
to change the focus of Maryland Votes because he believes the
organization’s time could be better spent educating voters about the
elections themselves. Also, according to Grayson, a huge problem last
semester was a lack of voting machines (they were promised twelve
machines but only received two, causing some students to stand in line
for almost three hours). In order to protect the right to vote for
college students, Grayson recommends legislation that would, for
example, ensure a certain number of voting machines
Votes has been encouraging students to call their legislators about the
upcoming elections; according to Grayson, this serves to advocate the
advancement of student voting rights and also helps students feel like
they have power over the state of our country.
suggests another important aspect of the increased student interest in
the upcoming elections is the effect that it could potentially have on
the outcome. “The one who is most successful will be the one who does
the best at reaching young voters,” he said. Grayson hopes that this
possibility will encourage candidates to talk about issues meaningful
to students. Organizations around the country also believe that the
young voters of the country, once they’ve fully gained interest in
these elections, will become a potent voting in the future.
Many see student athletics as an essential part of the college experience. A good team can bring national recognition to a school and add the element of entertainment for the college community. For some athletes, money becomes an issue, and a job is very hard to hold down with the demands of a practice and game schedule. Officially, student athletes are unpaid amateurs, and some feel they should be paid. Others feel athletic programs receive way too much money for not requiring athletes to live up to the “student” part of their title. ESPN columnist Jason Whitlock says that people shouldn’t worry about student athletes not being paid because they receive other perks, such as cars and jewelry.