Opinion

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As we come to the close of the semester and this final issue of The Arbiter, on behalf of the editorial staff, I would like to thank you for engaging with our content. 

It has been quite the year and as I step into the Editor-In-Chief position for next year, there are a few things I think are important to communicate to our readership.

When our Director of Student Media followed other opportunities and left the Arbiter in the fall, we were, in essence, adopted by the Student Involvement and Leadership Center. 

Now, instead of working as a distant entity in tandem with university organizations, Student Media is part of the SILC umbrella. 

As we move into the next school year, this new organization should help increase our efficiency and cement our student-led infrastructure.

In addition to these management changes, The Arbiter will now be switching to a once-a-week print run.  Instead of printing two issues each week on Monday and Thursday, we will be printing one issue a week on Tuesday. 

This will allow us to bolster and focus on our web content.  Even further we will be able to polish and better explore our print content, making each Tuesday issue something consistently worth picking up off the stands.

Overall, you can expect the same amount, if not more content from The Arbiter.  Arbiteronline.com will be constantly updated and maintained over the summer and will continue even stronger once classes resume in the fall. 

This stronger web presence will provide more multimedia content, including videos, polls, podcasts and more. 

As an organization, we are striving to inform the Boise State community in the best way possible.  We believe that these web-first processes will help accomplish this goal. 

In the end, we would like to create a news organization where information is always pertinent and immediately available. 

Organizing timely web posts and in-depth print pieces will help our content constantly become more and more professional.

Even further, offering strong multimedia packages with our consistent web content will help make our content more engaging and impactful.

Make sure to bookmark our website and watch for our first Tuesday issue, printing August 25.  As always, post any feedback you might have on our social media pages and on our website. 

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please submit your less than 500 word letter to editor@stumedia.boisestate.edu.

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According to a 2012 survey from the Pew Research Center, “nones” are on
the rise.

A third of adults under 30 are religiously unaffiliated. In the past five years, the unaffiliated increased just under 5 percent.

However, the survey showed that 68 percent of the 46 million unaffiliated  Americans believe in God. These numbers speak to the hypocrisy of religion.

Many times, spirituality and religion are seen as a couple—you can’t have one without the other. While they can intertwine and coexist in someone’s life, they can also be separate.

In the article “Spiritual issues in psychiatric care,” WK Mohr defines spirituality as “a person’s experience of, or a belief in, a power apart from his or her own existence.”

Religion, on the other hand is “an organized system of practices and beliefs in which people engage … a platform for the expression of spirituality.”

This difference in definitions points out one of the biggest flaws within religion.

Everyone’s spiritually is unique with a plethora of reasons and experiences as to why one does or doesn’t believe in a higher being(s). This is an individual journey between a person and a higher entity(s).

Religion is defined and controlled by man. It creates a universal platform, “an organized system of practices” that places each individual into a mold with little consideration of their spiritual needs.

As Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca said in Dan Brown’s novel “Angels and Demons,” “Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed.”

Because of this man-made system of spirituality, I believe in God, but I am not religious. My personal experiences have shown me the importance of putting spirituality in the center of my life, not religion.

When I lived in Arizona until age seven, my mom and I went to church nearly every Sunday. I participated in a youth group for many years and attended a private elementary school. I loved my church. The congregation was like a family, a group of people who cared about one another and supported each other through the good times and bad.

The congregation frequently went out into the community helping those in need, whether they were Christian or not. This taught me the importance of serving others even if they were different and showed me that there are congregations and churches who live the teachings of the faith.

However, when I moved to Idaho Falls, I saw a completely different side of religion.

There is a dominate religion in the region, one that is unafraid to exclude those who are not from that church. I lost countless friends in middle school and high school in the name of religion. It wasn’t an argument that ended the friendships; it was because I refused to convert.

In my last few years of high school, I became even more aware of the flaws within religion.

I’ve seen the cliques that form within a congregation. I’ve seen numerous church members act one way on Sunday and the opposite way for the rest of the week. I’ve seen groups, such as the LGBT community, persecuted and belittled in Sunday service. I’ve seen a pastor lose his job because of church politics despite the fact that he was a strong, spiritual man. I’ve seen the judgement, hierarchy and greed that can come from religion, and it is because religion is created and controlled by man.

In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciple, if you have love for one another.”

Many congregations preach it, but they cannot seem to live by this philosophy.

With this, I have put my faith in spirituality and not hypocritical religion.

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Madison Hansen

English Major

Senior

I have to admit that in the past, most of the large-scale events on campus just haven’t been appealing to me. Even as a freshman who lived on campus—the exact kind of student who most of these events seem to be catered toward—the big concerts with well-known artists, Spring Fling among them, simply weren’t events I wanted to go to.

It concerned me that so much money was being devoted to something that only some students would enjoy, and I’m willing to bet that the majority of students share my concerns. But this year’s Spring Fling is something that I am actually excited to attend.

As a student programming assistant at the Student Involvement and Leadership Center who has been helping to plan Spring Fling this year, I know I might seem like a biased reviewer.

But just ask any of my friends and coworkers—if I don’t think something is working, including something that our office is doing, I’m not afraid to call it out. The reason I applied for this student job was because of my interest in making a difference on campus by providing the kinds of opportunities that meet the needs of the diverse student body at Boise State.

That means bringing programs that have a practical purpose while still being unique, that are cost-effective while still making a big impact and that reach the students who aren’t usually welcomed by mainstream university initiatives while still being engaging for everyone. I truly believe that our student staff has put in the hard work to make Spring Fling embody all of those values.

You might have heard by now that Spring Fling 2015 is going to be really different from past years, and that’s not just buzz. The biggest change is that instead of contracting a big-name artist, we’re bringing in a DJ who can play the music that YOU request.

In my opinion, that’s far more interesting, cost-effective and intentionally thoughtful than a traditional concert. Musicians who are popular enough to have mass appeal across campus are simply too expensive for us to continue to afford, and musicians who we can afford aren’t popular enough to satisfy a majority of BSU students.

It’s just not fair that so much money that comes from students is put toward one costly spectacle that only a small fraction of students will be excited about. And there are a lot of opportunities to see great concerts here in Boise, so we want Spring Fling to be more than just a concert.

On top of the interactive music and light show, expect to see new attractions like fair rides, aerial dancers and food trucks. Our goal is to make sure that there’s something for everyone, and that it’s impossible to be underwhelmed at the event.

I believe that this year’s Spring Fling is going to appeal to more students and make an important and bold move towards a more sustainable end of the school year event.

It’s very important to me that all programs, Spring Fling among them, are based on what students are asking for. Feedback from past years has been our main context for planning, and I hope that you attend Spring Fling 2015 not just to enjoy the event, but so you can provide feedback that will help us to continuously improve.

Students like you and me matter, and I think that this Spring Fling is a good start towards valuing the voices of students who aren’t always heard.

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Melissa Wintrow

Melissa Wintrow is a state representative for Idaho District 19. She also teaches at Boise State as an adjunct professor. Prior to her work as a legislator, Wintrow worked at Boise State as the assistant director for residence education.

Child support is essential for thousands of Idaho’s children.  Unfortunately, some parents refuse to pay child support. And the Idaho legislature is entrusted to protect children by ensuring that child support is paid by the responsible party.

However, House GOP members shirked their responsibility to Idaho’s children and parents by voting down SB1067, which updates the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UISFA), enacted by all states in the mid-1990s as a part of welfare reform.

Holding “deadbeat” parents accountable for child support payments was a major reason for welfare reform as it is a major cause of child poverty rates. My GOP colleagues have chosen to dismantle almost 20 years of programs and services designed to help eliminate poverty and hold people accountable for their actions.

In the waning hours of the last day of session, House GOP members voted down SB1067 for multiple reasons including irrational fears and their hatred of the federal government, but cloaked in “protecting” Idaho’s sovereignty. GOP legislators exploited political paranoia to advance their partisan values while ignoring 400,000 parents and children who rely on child support to buy groceries and keep their lights on.

Simply put, they claimed that Idaho’s state sovereignty was under threat because of this child support legislation. They claimed that the federal government is holding Idaho’s children hostage. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once again, my colleagues are putting their own ideology ahead of the needs of Idaho citizens, and they are holding all of us hostage to their narrow beliefs.

SB1067 is simple. It’s about collecting child support checks or garnishing wages from parents who refuse to support their kids. It is does not open a door to enforcing laws from other countries; it does not uphold Sharia law; it does not require us to support any law that goes against Idaho or U.S. law. It is merely a way to enforce child support orders in the most effective and
efficient way.

As a former Women’s Center director who worked with hundreds of single parents struggling to collect child support, this is one more example from this GOP dominated legislature that has used paranoia and fiction to damage Idaho’s families.

If we do not come into compliance within the next 60 days, our state will lose $46 million in federal funding and potentially 160 jobs. We, also, lose access to federal databases and tools to collect on all child support orders. And let’s be clear, those databases are essential in locating “deadbeat” parents and getting an accurate picture of a parent’s wages to assess financial responsibility.

By voting down SB1067, my GOP friends are putting the financial burden on Idaho taxpayers instead of the responsible parents. Currently, Idaho is the only state in the country to refuse to update UIFSA.

As our Lt. Governor noted in a recent interview, “This is a little bit of a problem.” While I appreciate the the Lt. Governor’s attempt to shield his GOP colleagues from this colossal error, his comment is the understatement of the session.

This outdated approach to state governance continues to isolate Idaho and inhibits our economic growth. A little more common sense, rational decision-making, inclusive policies and trust would go a long way to make our state more livable.

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Gabrielle Boliou
Benjamin Chafetz
Staff Writers

Discussing key ideas such as morality and versus legality and other touchy subjects is the object of this column. The ideas discussed within belong to the authors alone and do not represent the viewpoint of The Arbiter.

White men should no longer have to atone for the racism and sexism attributed to their ancestors.

If you claim to be against racism and sexism, and then insist that white men should be punished because of historical crimes committed you are fostering the racism and sexism you claim to oppose.

Arbiter: What systems of privilege do you think exist in society today? “I don’t think that they’ve changed very much. The wealthy are with the wealthy, the middle class is waning and there’s a huge class of poor. If you want to better yourself, you have to work three times as hard to change the class that you sit in.”
Arbiter: What systems of privilege do you think exist in society today?
I don’t think that they’ve changed very much. The wealthy are with the wealthy, the middle class is waning and there’s a huge class of poor. If you want to better yourself, you have to work three times as hard to change the class that you sit in.” -Heather Gentry, sophomore geoscience major

“White male privilege” constitutes that a white man has more opportunities compared to women or men of a different race.

A couple weeks ago, we engaged in a discussion on controversial topics with the hope of encouraging critical thinking. The topic that day was initially focused on women’s rights but expanded to cover the whole of sexism and racism.

One participant, whom we’ll call Jen, insisted that she is a passionate defender of human rights, ardently anti-sexism, and ardently anti-racism. She understands the nearly insurmountable nature of such a goal and explained that, for now, she will settle for creating awareness.

Arbiter: What systems of privilege do you think exist in society today? “The one that’s most applicable to me would be white privilege. Just being able to turn on the TV and have your race represented in almost every area you look and (in) positions of leadership.” -Tarl Smith, senior criminal justice major
Arbiter: What systems of privilege do you think exist in society today?
“The one that’s most applicable to me would be white privilege. Just being able to turn on the TV and have your race represented in almost every area you look and (in) positions of leadership.” -Tarl Smith, senior criminal justice major

Later, she said what she really wants is for white men to atone for their ancestors’ guilt. Essentially speaking to the issue of “white male privilege.”

No one’s denying that white men have done some awful things in the past. But without going into the historical fallacy of laying all of humanity’s crimes on one subset, can we talk about the sheer hypocrisy of claiming to fight against racism and sexism in one breath, and then making such a racist and sexist statement?

“White male privilege” is a phrase thrown around carelessly. But is that raising

Arbiter:  What systems of privilege do you think exist in society today? “It’s definitely there. I just don’t think that people see it still. They think, ‘We’re so far past this idea of white privilege,’ and we’re not. It’s still there. I just don’t think people see it unless you mention it to them.” -Olivia Miller, senior communication major
Arbiter: What systems of privilege do you think exist in society today?
“It’s definitely there. I just don’t think that people see it still. They think, ‘We’re so far past this idea of white privilege,’ and we’re not. It’s still there. I just don’t think people see it unless you mention it to them.” -Olivia Miller, senior communication major

awareness or fostering hate? We say the latter. To that effect: are we a society that believes racism can only occur against blacks, Native-Americans, etc.? Some people say if a subset of the human race is the majority, and in power, it is therefore not racist to persecute that subset.

That is asinine!

Racism is making a judgement call based solely on a person’s descent or color of skin. If a statement based on skin color made against any other race is racism, but a statement based on skin color made against a white person is not, the arbitrary line is in fact the definition of racism.

John McWhorter is a professor at Columbia University and a contributing editor at

Arbiter: What systems of privilege do you think exist in society today? “Men earn more money than women on average in the same jobs ... African Americans are jailed longer for the same crimes. It’s mostly been a male-dominated society since the beginning. There are very few societies around the world dominated by women but not very many.” -Ricardo Nunez, junior criminal justice major
Arbiter: What systems of privilege do you think exist in society today?
“Men earn more money than women on average in the same jobs … African Americans are jailed longer for the same crimes. It’s mostly been a male-dominated society since the beginning. There are very few societies around the world dominated by women but not very many.” -Ricardo Nunez, junior criminal justice major

The New Republic. He wrote in “The Daily Beast” that the “white privilege paradigm seems to be more about feelings than action.” The louder you yell that white men are evil, the more you widen the gap between whites and every other color of skin.

Pitting one race, one sex against another further perpetuates the dissension of humanity. Society should seek to eradicate this notion.

This column is part two of a two-part series exploring society’s responses to uncontrollable circumstance. View last week’s column here

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Benjamin Chafetz
Gabrielle Boliou
Staff Writers

Discussing key ideas such as morality versus legality and other touchy subjects is the object of this column. The ideas discussed within belong to the authors alone and do not represent the viewpoint of The Arbiter.

In the movie “Rocky,” Rocky Balboa said, “You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you.”

We’re talking about two opposing mindsets. The first mindset encompasses the fact that you, and you alone, are responsible for both your successes and your failures. Life hits you hard, people hit you hard, but at the end of the day, you’re the one who pulls yourself back up and keeps moving.

The other mindset is that there are more variables at play, that you are justified in pointing fingers when you aren’t where you want to be.

Your success in life should not be dictated by the struggles themselves, but how you handle them. Experiencing adversity does not entitle you to charity.

The interesting thing is when you read or hear stories you root for the underdog, the person against whom all the odds are stacked. But he or she fights back anyway.

When you tell someone to take ownership of their life experiences, it sounds heartless. But what about the flip side?

What about telling them that it’s always someone else’s fault, that you, the victim, only have partial responsibility for fighting back? Many adopt this mindset because they think they have a safety net of financial and human
resources.

Some people say, “This group of people needs help because they cannot overcome an obstacle on their own.” But how would you feel if someone told you that you were unable to do something as a result of your race, sexual orientation or gender?

What if someone told you that no matter how hard you fought you would always have to rely on someone else to give you a leg up?

We are not saying that everything is your fault—life does hit you hard, and so do other people. We’re not saying that sympathy is undeserved. We’re simply saying that you have the choice to get back up.

If you make the choice to get back up, that is where the merit is deserved.

This column is part one of a two-part series exploring society’s responses to uncontrollable circumstance (race, gender and sexual orientation). Next week’s column will critique who deserves privilege and the consequences of having that privilege.

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Ryan Blacketter
Former Boise State English professor 06

The trouble started after I uploaded “My Dad, the Pornographer” onto Blackboard for the advanced fiction workshop I was teaching at Boise State. The essay had just been published in The New York Times. I was moved by the honesty of the piece—the intense riskiness of its theme—and hoped to find room for it in my class schedule. I told my students we’d discuss it midterm. Soon students began complaining to me and to the department about the essay. A senior faculty member suggested I avoid teaching it altogether.

Five weeks into the term, my classroom went to pieces. Students were upset, and I asked what was going on. A few said my instruction was too harsh. One young woman left the room crying. Another said she didn’t want to read that essay on Blackboard.

After this class meeting, I emailed students that we were discussing “My Dad, the Pornographer” the next class. Two days later, dean Tony Roark emailed me, telling me to meet with him and an HR representative in his office, scheduled the morning before I was going to teach the offending essay. He assured me that my firing had nothing to do with the essay.

I hesitate to say that university administrators are liars. Instead, they function more as guardians of information. They serve the organization, protecting its members and its brand. Every university has a vault of secrets. The vault is full of university intentions and motivations. The public gets a different story.

Oregon State University, for instance, effectively shut down a conservative newspaper by dumping its dispenser bins in a field. Since the university couldn’t admit censorship, they put that motive in the vault.

Publicly, they said the bin removal was a “campus beautification project.”

Similarly, English department chair, Michelle Payne, said my firing was “serious,” but claimed legal reasons prevented her from discussing it. Payne makes harmful insinuations, while claiming to be restrained by a gag order. Her statement amounts to the sort of falseness and hiding that we have sadly come to expect from university officials.

The fact is, Boise State has a troubling history of censorship. In February 2008, after The Arbiter published an article questioning dorm safety, copies were removed from several dorms. Resident advisors cited a gag order called “contractual obligations,” and could not talk to journalists. In August 2008, Boise State ordered the removal of 15,000 condom coupons from coupon books destined for student eyes. In August 2005, Boise State censored fliers that promoted university films and lectures by covering them with stickers to be “less offensive.”

In March 2015, Boise State fired an “at will” creative writing adjunct and gave him a lifetime ban for planning to teach the controversial essay “My Dad, the Pornographer.”

My father, BSU graduate Jon Blacketter, who was a corrections counselor at the Old Penitentiary, would not have been proud of his alma mater’s many acts of censorship. A native Idahoan, he was independent, intelligent and suspicious of giant corporations. He would’ve said that the recent campus guest lectures promoting free speech make for a pretty decoration but that few would be fooled.

In short, the chair’s assertion that my firing had nothing to do with “My Dad, the Pornographer”—at a university whose administrators censored condom coupons for adults, for crying out loud—is unconvincing.

Reed College’s rabble-rouser Jeremiah True has demonstrated that students do not have the right to act in an aggressive manner that disrupts the free exchange of ideas. Students and faculty, right and left, have limits to their speech and behavior. It’s time we hold university officials similarly
accountable.

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Just yesterday, the band Black Pussy, a self-proclaimed stoner pop group, performed at the Neurolux.  Their name alone has signaled outrage from Portland-centered groups, and over and a petition for the band to change their name is circulating.

This same consciousness has yet to take hold on a large scale in Boise.

Do we want a band as such to be normal and conventional within the Boise area?  Probably not.  Generally, socially conscious people will simply choose not to attend such a pointedly racist and sexist show.  It is important to express disdain for allowing such a thing to be normal, accepted and perpetuated within our immediate societal constructs.

The recent court decision circling Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is bringing a resurgence in popularity to the 2013 hit. 

Despite the negative ruling against the song and its infringement upon Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up,” Thicke’s tune is, once again, blaring on radio stations.

“Blurred Lines” is an upbeat tune about sexual force and domestication, employing what some bloggers have referred to as “rapey” lyrics—three things that most individuals would not encourage. Yet, the video is supported with over 370 million views on YouTube.

In the past two years, there has been plenty of media coverage calling Thicke and Williams out for the oppressive and grotesque nature of their song.  Listeners know what the song alludes to—despite protests from Thicke—but they choose to continually allow it to shape attitudes around them.  This makes the ordeal that much more daunting.

In 2013, the University College London student union banned the song, joining 20 other U.K. student unions.

“Has anyone heard Robin Thicke’s new rape song?” feminist blogger Lisa Huynh wrote in April 2013.

It’s pretty clear the “Blurred Lines” is not based in the deepest of social conscience.  But, the fact that we, as a society, are ignoring the implications presented within this song and others is horrifying.

Music should not be censored in any vein, and artists have the right to create whatever they would like.  It is our right to determine whether we support their messages.

Progress comes from questioning and critiquing.  This can’t happen if we are happy to dance along to the sweet melody of objectification.  Sitting back and ignoring the fact that a song is promoting something starkly discomforting is just as detrimental as the song itself.

We need to choose to fight against what is “okay” in media.  There will always be systems of thought that are worrying.  Even so, ignoring a song’s lyrics and posting it on Facebook because it’s “so catchy” simply promotes passive acceptance—a mindset with the same implications as one directly oppressive.

Voicing the fact that something is discomforting or wrong and working to explain why such a system, promoted and cemented by media, is harmful is integral to progress.

It all boils down to a simple solution. Don’t let oppressive thought processes shape society while you change the channel.  Question them and signal forward action.

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A close vote of 39-30 to approve Senate Bill 1146aa, or Alexis’ Law, to Gov. Otter shows that Idaho is slowly moving towards legalizing marajuana-based forms of medicine.

The bill allows a parent, grandparent or guardian to consult a child’s physician  about using non-psychotropic cannabis oil to treat epilepsy or other severe seizure disorders.

Unsurprisingly, the bill has been met with strong opposition.

“This is not hemp oil you can buy at the Co-op. This is marijuana, a Schedule One drug, and Idaho will be violating federal law if this passes,” Elisha Figueroa, director of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy, said to lawmakers on March 30.

Currently 20 states and Washington D.C. have legalized medical marijuana, and Idaho has a great opportunity to have a progressive stance on the matter.

Cannabis oil contains extracted cannabinoids, chemicals related to THC in cannabis plants. While some cannabinoids are toxic, two that researchers are focusing on, THC and CBD, are proving to have many medical benefits.

These two cannabinoids would be revolutionary for medicine. While it is nearly impossible to calculate a dose for smoked marijuana, smokeless cannabis is a viable form of medicine because it is measurable.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, THC can decrease nausea and increase appetite, which are major side effects in certain illnesses, diseases and medical treatments. The FDA has already approved some THC-based medications to treat these symptoms.

CBD, a cannabinoid that does not alter mind or behavior, may be useful in treating pain, inflammation and mental illnesses and controlling epileptic seizures.

In the 2014 Wall Street Journal article “New York Does Medical Marijuana Right,” Steven R. Patierno, Deputy Director of the Duke Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, discussed his support for cannabis.

“(T)he introduction of smokeless cannabis in dosage form will immediately ease human pain and suffering and help to move medical marijuana from the underground economy to the mainstream of the nation’s health-care system,” Patierno said.

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Gabrielle Boliou
Benjamin Chafetz
Staff Writers

Discussing key ideas such as morality versus legality and other touchy subjects is the object of this column.

In a recent discussion with an instructor, we were asked, “Wouldn’t you rather live in an educated society?”

Our response is, “Of course, but at what cost?”

An educated society is a very nice thing to say in practice but this is certainly more complicated than it first appears.

If any of you heard President Obama’s address at Boise State, you are familiar with the concept of America’s College Promise. This will make the first two years of college, according to the White House, “as free and universal as high school.”

After inspection, the program is far from free. Is $60 billion over the course of just 10 years free? Where does this money come from? Taxes. Nothing in life is free. This was proven just this week by Boise State canceling SHIP. 

According to Tara Brooks, SHIP was cancelled for lack of funds and not enough students enrollment in the program.

How interesting that so-called affordable healthcare was no where near affordable.

“In any kind of economic transaction, it seldom makes sense to charge prices so high that very few people can afford to pay them,” said Thomas Sowell, a well-known economist. “But, with the government ready to step in and help whenever tuition is ‘unaffordable,’ why not charge more than the traffic will bear and bring in Uncle Sam to make up the difference?”

Additionally, targeting community college as a solution is simply ineffective. According to the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, U.S. high school teenagers “slipped from 25th to 31st in math since 2009; from 20th to 24th in science; and from 11th to 21st in reading.”

This shows the problems with our education system, primarily at the high school level or lower. Using taxpayer dollars to address a symptom of the problem rather than the root of the problem is irresponsible.

Your money belongs to you—not to the federal government. Who do you trust more with your money: an entity that is $18 trillion in debt or yourself?

Robbing Peter to pay Paul actually hurts both Peter and Paul by driving up prices for everyone. The harsh fact is not everyone deserves to go to college. What is wrong with a system that rewards merit? How is it moral to mandate taxpayer money to support government programs with which citizens themselves may disagree?

With proposals like the American College Promise, President Obama is basically saying, “Nevermind our constitution. Trust me to use your money to educate your children how I see fit!”

More importantly, why is the federal government so audaciously stepping beyond its clearly prescribed boundaries?

Is there a solution? See our next article for a discussion on a possible solution.

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As an English major, I came to the university prepared to hear jokes about my future job prospects. As a soon-to-be graduate, I can tell you I have not been disappointed. In an increasingly STEM-focused landscape, I’m often encouraged to tighten my belt loops or quickly shack up with an engineering student before they hit it big on the job market. Most people are at least half joking.

I can take all this in stride and with a smile. To some extent the detractors are correct: few study the liberal arts with the intent to capture a large salary. However, there is another societal trend that is, in this word nerd’s partisan and terribly biased opinion, even more worrisome: people are simply reading less.

A 2014 study by the Pew Research Center found that 24 percent—nearly one quarter—of Americans adults did not read a single book in the last year. In 2011, a Pew survey put that number at 18 percent. A 1999 Gallup poll estimated the same figure at 13 percent.

Another number that should keep you up at night: the 2014 survey found that nearly 80 percent of American families did not purchase a book last year­—electronic or otherwise.

This is a trend we should strive to immediately reverse.

Books and narratives are part of the human experience, part of how we come to know one another.

“It is through stories that we understand ourselves. The desire for story is the root of who we are as human beings,” said Sir Salman Rushdie, author and winner of the 1981 Booker Prize, when he spoke the Morrison Center in November. “It can bring the lived experience of the world.”

These are not only the opinions of a woman dreadfully in love with the written word. For the pragmatics in the room, the research is consistently emerging to paint reading as a beneficial caress in a societal storm.

A study by Mindlab International, a research group based out of the University of Sussex, found that only six minutes of reading can reduce a person’s stress levels. This means that our the good friend the book beats out old standbys like taking a walk, listening to our favorite music and having a relaxing cup of tea (though I admittedly question why one would not immediately do both).

Even more interesting, there is research emerging in the Netherlands that shows reading might cause us to be more empathetic.

“The sympathy a reader feels for the characters is then integrated in the self-concept of the reader, through which the reader accumulates his/her ability to take the perspective of others, and to feel empathy,” Martijn Veltkamp and P. Matthijs Bal wrote in a journal article.

In short, that vapid girl your best friend can’t get over: Daisy Buchanan, “The Great Gatsby.” That mopey friend you all love in spite of their incessant moodiness: Eeyore, “Winnie the Pooh.”

I know that spring break is a time for rum-based drinks on sunny beaches. I know that the last thing most of you want to think about is anything even loosely related to academics. However this is something our society needs.

There are lessons we learn from the written word that we are in danger of forgetting—both personally and as a society. In the crush of technological noise, the quiet whispers of a thousand libraries are in danger of being silenced. We have nothing to fear except the burden, and joy, of increased knowledge. In those pages, in those turns of phrase and clauses and run-on, meandering sentences: there is something to be gained.

Read a book.

 

Books to read:

Local Flavor: 

“All the LIght We Cannot See,” Anthony Doerr

Boise resident, New York Times Bestseller

“The Lonely Polygamist,” Brady Udall

Humorous, poignant tale from a Boise State professor

“To Have and Have Not,” Ernest Hemingway

One can’t have Idaho authors without Hemingway

Timely Tomes:

Redeployment,” Phil Klay

Award winning author at Egyptian Theater April 9

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood

Atwood appears as part of Distinguished Lectures Series, April 8

“Chilly Scenes of Winter,” Ann Beattie

MFA reading series will host Beattie, April 24

Easy Entry:

“The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald

The closest thing you’ll find to the Great American Novel

“Ender’s Game” Orson Scott Card

Engaging for the one who’s enthralled by sci-fi

“Beloved,” Toni Morrison

Not a feel good story, a but book worth adoring

Can’t Miss Classics:

“Mrs. Dalloway,” Virginia Woolf

You might have to read it twice, but it’s worth it

“Anna Karenina,” Leo Tolstoy

Intensity, passion, love, infidelity, jealousy

“Catch 22,” Joseph Keller

It started the phrase, it’ll teach you about satire and war

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PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTOPHER BECKER/THE ARBITER

To my beloved Free Application for Federal Student Aid:

It’s like we just saw each other. I remember the hours we spent together last year where I answered your broad questions about my financial situation in hopes of being able to “pursue my educational dream.”

As I’m preparing to sit down for our annual coffee date, I would like to inform you of some of my concerns and an exciting decision I’ve made in my life regarding paying for college.

Boise State’s estimated cost of attendance for one full year is $20,742 after tuition, books, room and board, transportation and personal fees are accounted for. As of Jan. 1, 2015, Idaho’s minimum wage is still $7.25. After taxes, a full-time employee who gets paid minimum wage makes approximately $15,080.

This leaves a difference of $5,662. Maybe scholarships will pay for it. But the only scholarship I’ve ever received was the $450 Robert R. Lee Promise Scholarship for graduating from an Idaho high school and attending an in-state institution.

“Well, take out unsubsidized loans then,” you say. “It’ll be worth it in the end.”

At the end of four years that’s a $22,648 loan not including interest rates that will build even while I’m enrolled in school.

You seem interested in whether or not I depend on my parents to pay that lovely, fat bill called tuition every semester. You don’t ask how much my parents are actually helping financially. Rather, you focused on how much they made last year.

Currently, I work three jobs to pay for nursing school. After watching my grades start to falter due to the amount of hours I spend working, and knowing I wont receive the help I need once again from federal aid, I am pleased to announce that I am becoming a stripper to pay for college.

According to the ABC article, “Making ends meet as a stripper,” dancers can go home with upwards of $3,000-$6,000 a week. That takes care of tuition in one week.

After a month or two as a stripper, I could make just as much as the full-time minimum wage employee makes in one year. Imagine how much I would make in one year.

Now, I know the work environment may be questionable. Strutting what my mother gave me in front of  strangers might seem degrading. On the contrary­­—I’m quite enthusiastic. This will give me the chance to earn dollar bills to put towards my $1,000 textbook fee.

Between dances, I can study for classes and maybe work on a few flashcards. I can continue to refresh my knowledge of anatomy because I will be working around other dancers dressed in work-appropriate attire.

My major concern is that gentlemen’s clubs don’t often offer benefits, such as worker’s compensation or health insurance. With the amount I’ll be making, though, I’m confident that I can afford a SHIP plan.

On second thought, maybe I won’t need to fill you out because I have my financial plans fleshed out for this next year.

Sincerely,

The soon to be “Wild Rose”

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Gabrielle Boliou and Benjamin Chafetz
Staff Writers

Discussing key ideas such as morality versus legality and other touchy subjects is the object of this column.

In recent years, American citizens have bought into the idea that government mandates, such as Obamacare, promoting equality and common responsibility at the expense of our freedoms, are the right thing to do.

The government forcing anyone to sacrifice personal freedoms is wrong, especially when they do not infringe upon another’s rights in the name of social justice.

For example, you and your friend are in class and they ask to borrow your only pencil. Consider three outcomes:

1. You say, “Of course! Here, have it.”

2. You say, “Nah, sorry. I need it.”

3. You say, “Nah, sorry. I need it.”

However, your teacher overhears the exchange and mandates, “Give your friend the pencil.”

You, feeling intimidated, relinquish your pencil.

In each scenario, you are presented a choice regarding morality.

For scenario one, your own morals inspire you to share your property with your friend.

In scenario two, your friend did not come prepared and hoped you would help them out. When you say, “No,” your friend may be disappointed, but as a reasonable person, they understand and respect this response. Your friend does not own the pencil and therefore has no right to it.

Finally, in scenario three, you say “No.” However, the third party member, your teacher, intervenes, deciding for you what is the “right” thing to do.

The problem is that the teacher, the authority, is claiming that their morality is right and should be enforced despite your freedom to do whatever you wish with your own pencil. Robbing Peter to pay Paul though compassionate in the eyes of the robber is still theft.

As Peter, you are considered selfish by the authority figure. Therefore, the authority believes it must act on behalf of the less fortunate. But imposed morality is not morality at all. It is, in fact, intolerant of Peter’s morality.

Imposed morality on a government scale is the vision of a fascist state and needs to be fought at all costs. This is not as scary as it sounds. For a start, stay informed, consider the consequences of political decisions and start conversations.

This analysis is based on a model of social justice by Dinesh D’souza, a political commentator and documentarian. It has been modified and presented through the thought explorations of Gabrielle and Benjmain, who will continue to dissect such puzzles and apply them to today’s political climate.

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Brandon Gordy

Senior

Currently, I am an intern at the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, and many fiscal issues have been brought to my attention during these past couple of months of internship.

While reading up on the recent reports that have been released by the center, one  which caught my attention is a report released in October of last year titled, “The Big Squeeze: College Students Dig Deeper as Idaho Higher Education Funding Falls.”

What this report essentially discusses is the fact that the state of Idaho is severely lagging behind when it comes to funding higher education and preparing the state’s younger citizens to become members of the future workforce.

One of the first main problems highlighted in the ICFP’s report is the fact that 68 percent of Idaho jobs will require some postsecondary credential by 2018. Currently, only 35 percent of the state’s 25-34-year olds have achieved a degree.

The rising cost of receiving a college education has been a difficult issue for the vast majority of students, but the ones coming from low-income backgrounds are suffering the most. Students who come from low-income households face the hard choice of either attending college and taking on student loan debt or just not attending college at all.

The completion rates for the state’s college students at a four-year public institution is a measly 41 percent; meanwhile the national average is at 63 percent.

Tuition and fees now take up 47 percent of college and university funding, up from just 7 percent in 1980. The state funding dropped down to 53 percent from 93 percent during the same period
of time.

How can these problems be resolved in the state’s legislature session this year? These are issues that are critical for the state’s workforce preparation and chances at achieving economic prosperity. Higher education encouragement and funding should be brought to the forefront during this spring’s legislative session at the state’s capitol, alongside other current important issues relating to public education and healthcare. The Great Recession has passed, and it is time for the continued cuts towards college education to be seriously questioned.

For further information, check out the ICFP’s report, “The Big Squeeze: College Students Dig Deeper as Idaho Higher Education Funding Falls,” at www.idahocfp.org.

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Justin Kirkham – Managing Editor
Patty Bowen – Culture Editor

Clothing can be a real hassle.

Societal pressures boil individuality down to a required level of “cleanliness” and “professionalism.”  But, in the end, it can be hard to add up to patriarchal standards.  Bodies have to be covered, but really only in the approved manner.

“People are shallow,” said junior nursing major Taylor Huston. “They think the way you look is based on your work ethic or intelligence, but really we’re here to learn.  I’m not here to pay attention to your really nice dress.”

Some people don’t pay attention to the “really nice dress” at the front of the classroom, but the weak minded can succumb to its beauty.

“Appearance is not a reflection of a person,” said Zena Zaleski, sophomore engineering major. “I dress like a bum most of the time.”

Despite the truth in Zaleski’s words, societal standards can propel students into disillusionment with the inherent value of their individual sense of fashion. But students don’t have to subvert personality and accent conformity to obtain approval.

In order to accent personality, as well as maintaining professionalism, some turn to the Forever Pajama style.

Professionalism is important, but a lot of perceived work ethic can come from a great showing of personality through added comfort.  Sometimes professionalism can come solely from action, instead of tights and skirts.

Program coordinator and Games Center manager Melinda Stafford found that clothing can speak to an individual’s preparation, but only to a certain level.

“I’ve had students come in for interviews that are dressed really well,” Stafford said.  “They’re wearing maybe a blazer with nice slacks, and their hair is clean. That makes a really good impression, but I wouldn’t say it weighs that heavy over someone who wears khakis and a nice button-up.”

According to Stafford, being put together can leave employers with a strong impression.  It signals that one put forth more effort into their morning routine than others.

Even so, those hoping to put less effort into their morning routine can channel the decisionless efforts of Cardigan and Again.

“Some people, especially my grandma and mom, can’t leave the house without doing their hair,” Huston said.  “They want to spend that extra time to make a good impression and feel better about themselves.”

Good impressions are important, but they don’t have to morph one’s personality into a faceless, selfless lump of flesh.

Good dress should be an extension of one’s style instead of a reflection of someone else’s.  In cases where this sort of power is not exacted, students should easily tweak their own styles or maximize their own preferences to exude professionalism instead of conforming to it.

It’s fine to feel good when others don’t approve.

According to Zalenski, the onslaught of pressures that ask students to fit in and merge into this idea of cleanliness and professionalism can be attributed to media.

“Right now we’re surrounded by people telling us how we should be,” Zalenski said. “You watch TV and people wear certain clothes. You read magazines and people look a certain way.”

Students should be able to maintain their own personal styles without being bashed in by celebrity fashion, mainstream requirements or power-based whims.

Some choose to throw all of this aside with Yard Sale Chic.  Because, in the end, it’s difficult to see why social restrictions matter.

Knowledge is only half the power when it comes to clothing. The other half is individualized respect.  One can demand professionalism with both moth-eaten sweater vests and pant suits.  It’s all relative.

Trick peers into finding professionalism in your personal expression:

Forever Pajamas – Keep pajamas as your forte and transform the comfy leggings and sweater you adorn while snoozing into an outfit for the nod of society.  Just add a skirt to your leggings.

Cardigan and Again – Cardigans are a lazy professional’s best friend.  They dress up any graphic tee and can be worn for weeks on end without fiendish peers taking notice.

Yard Sale Chic – Combine retro with fringe in an eclectic array of patterns.  Go to your neighbor’s garage sale, spend $5 and get clothes that will make any student an edgy piece of work.

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Dana Hathaway, Adjunct Professor, Department of Philosophy
Founder, Boise State Adjunct Faculty Association

 

Adjuncts are organizing at universities and colleges across the county, and Boise State is no exception.  Over the last 20 years, part-time, contingent faculty has become the new faculty majority. If we care about the future of higher education, we ought to take notice: faculty, students, parents, community leaders, and anyone with an interest in quality higher education.

 

The adjunctification of higher education is a two-pronged issue, at least.  This is about quality education as much as it is an issue of labor conditions.  Governor Easley of North Carolina has coined the phrase: “Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions.”  That is exactly right.  If we value quality education, we must necessarily value instruction, and this requires just compensation and fair treatment.

 

Students are not well-served with a perpetual over-reliance on part-time, contingent faculty. It is not enough to say that adjuncts are valued and appreciated; it must also be demonstrated with a living wage. If we are to take seriously Boise State’s “commitment to excellence,” the conditions of teaching and learning must reflect that commitment.

 

Students deserve better: the majority of teachers must be able to give 100% of their professional attention to the task of teaching courses and mentoring students.  Our faculty deserves better; they must be supported in doing their job with intellectual integrity and paid a living wage.

 

The Administration’s statement in response to the February 25th adjunct walkout and demonstration is typical. I could have written the response myself. First, the reprise that many of the adjuncts at Boise State are professionals with full-time jobs elsewhere. Do the majority of adjuncts really fit this profile? Do they know who the adjuncts are?

I invite a comprehensive study to reveal the truth. Still, how is significantly lower pay justified by the fact that an adjunct might have a full-time job elsewhere? One’s total annual income from employment is irrelevant to the value of the work performed. Second, the assertion that the increased use of adjuncts is the fault of the Idaho Legislature.

This is only partially the case. Boise State is responsible for allocating funds appropriately. Paying poverty wages to half its faculty is not appropriate. It is true, that when budgets are tight we all need to buck up and do our part. Instead, the administration chooses to continually balance the budget on the backs of half its faculty, as well as many of its classified staff.

 

Adjuncts are the new cheap labor: very low wages compared with their colleagues doing the same or similar work; and, flexible– hire and let go every 10-15 weeks.  It is, insists Schimpf, in a recent Boise Weekly article, the most economical way of expanding.

With adjuncts as a faculty majority, this is shameful.  The truth is, Boise State is addicted to adjuncts, and the overuse of their labor rises to the level of abuse.  It is time to rethink the model.

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Gabrielle Boliou
Benjamin Chafetz
 
Discussing key ideas such as morality versus legality and other touchy subjects is the object of this column.

James Madison said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

We (Gabrielle Boliou and Benjamin Chafetz) believe that this great man was trying to warn us against becoming subservient to our own government. We propose that the government stop—yes, stop—funding education. It would be best if government were out of education completely.

Everyone talks about wanting more funding for education. And what’s wrong with more money for education? It sounds great! But what if we told you this is a step down a path to our government enslaving us?

That sounds incredibly harsh, but bear with us. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one definition of a slave is “a person who is strongly influenced or controlled by something.”

If you rely consistently more on a governing/parental body, that body can essentially control you and certainly influence you by providing what you supposedly cannot obtain yourself. This means the student is completely “subservient to the dominating influence,” in this case, the government. 

Similarly, if we rely on the government for education, we have no choice but to accept whatever programs the federal government deems appropriate. We are restricted. We are controlled. We are influenced. When you rely on government to provide anything, you effectively say, “I cannot pay for this—please take care of me!”

Currently, you as a taxpayer are indebted to the government and dependent on it for something you need: education. This indebtedness comes from taxes and citizens pay for it; eventually you will be one of them.

So say you receive a grant from Uncle Sam, and you get free education. Assuming you earned a degree and were able to get a job, you now have a source of income. But you’re still paying off your loans and now you’re paying taxes for everyone else (taxes that may well have increased to pay for “increased funding” for education).

Yet if we don’t rely on the government for our education, who pays for it? Well, we do. Privatization of college and students paying for themselves will allow for healthy competition among colleges and drive the price of tuition down. You might say, “Wait a minute, private education is more expensive than public!” Sure it is, but only because the limited number of private colleges and universities on the market means that those institutions don’t have to compete with as many other, high-quality institutions.

If we stop relying on the federal government to clumsily prop up our public school system, we make room in the market for more private schools. The result is easy to anticipate thanks to basic supply and demand logic: demand for education is already sky high, so let’s increase the supply by making room for privatized education.

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Christina Metzqer
Staff Writer

Unconditional Positive Regard is a method of relating that builds up self-worth and positive regard for the self and others.

Students on campus are finding UPR beneficial, both personally and professionally.

UPR is kindness in action. It’s characterized by giving feedback with a positive comment first, addressing the action that requires improvement and finishing with another positive comment.

“I’ve had it used on me before. It has helped to build strong character,” Desmond Hooks, staff member at the SUB Games Center, said. “I do believe it works when it is used correctly.”

Students are regularly presented with situations personally and professionally that require dealing with others’ negative behavior. Not having the ability to maneuver through these occurrences in a healthy way leads to discontentment, resentment or other negative feelings towards others.

Negativity was not always a bad thing though. There was a point during human evolution where humans would use the negative in order to protect themselves from harm or danger. Now it is not so simple.

Mary Pritchard, a psychology professor at Boise State, explained that the negativity people experience now is much more harmful than what humans encountered during evolution.

“If something bad is happening now, usually it is caused by something that is not going to kill you—it is social comparison, judgment, discrimination or even stereotyping,” Pritchard said. “It is something that is not threatening but still very emotionally scarring.”

In order to maintain healthy relationships at work and school, students should learn and implement UPR in their everyday lives.

As described on the website, “Simply Psychology,” UPR was introduced by Dr. Carl Rogers in 1956. Rogers explained that UPR is a valuable tool to restore self-worth and positive regard in others.

If the UPR user does not embrace the idea behind the theory, UPR will not work. For students and parents, less criticism is paramount. It is especially helpful for students who struggle with challenging interactions involving difficult classmates, professors or even roommates with whom they cohabitate.

The opposite of UPR is Conditional Positive Regard. It is the idea that people are valued only if they can live up to the expectations or conditions set by others. It is necessary to keep in mind that kindness is more important than blaming or shaming.

Other students on campus are using UPR to reduce harmful criticism while working with others in a professional way.

“If I was looking at someone else’s program or coding, maybe I would criticize it but then also offer positive feedback as well,” said Brendon Tierney, computer science major.

According to Dr. Stephen Joseph, professor of psychology, health and social care at the University of Nottingham, UK and writer for “Psychology Today,” UPR is about respecting others enough to allow them to act regardless of danger or dysfunction, and accept that they are doing their best.

“From there you can come from a place of understanding and compassion rather than blame and criticism,” Pritchard said. “The more you do that, the better you feel about yourself, the better you feel about your life and the easier it is to be a more positive person towards others.”

The better we can relate to others, the better off we will all be. Instead of propagating negativity, students should think about how they respond to other’s behavior and work to improve their own.

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Eric Naylor
Spring 2014 History graduate 

I want to echo my agreement with Leslie Boston-Hyde in her defense of free speech.

However, there was one thing which she said which gave me pause. It was when she said, “Is it right to tell a woman that she is a baby murderer and display large, gruesome posters of aborted fetuses while she is walking to class or an exam?”

As a member of the Pro-Life group which hosted this event, I feel the need to clarify that that was not our message. We were not accusing post-abortive women of murder. Our goal was to show that the pre-born are human, and that abortion kills them. We felt (and still feel) that if more people knew that then there would be fewer abortions.

Unfortunately, she was not the only one who missed what we were trying to say. If she were, I would probably just let it go.

If people wanted to object to our methods, that would be fine. Looking back, I do not even know that I would disagree. But I would rather not have anyone say that we were accusing women of murder when that was not in any way our message.

Now I did not disagree with Boston-Hyde’s overall point; on the contrary, I loved her closing sentence that “the minute we start to regulate offensive arguments is the minute we give up our right to free speech.” But there’s a point to what I’m saying here, beyond deflecting accusations of being judgmental. The point is that, before you analyze or respond to an opinion, it would be a good idea to make sure that you understand what is being said.

In our example, I think a lot of people assumed that we were accusing post-abortive women of murder because we showed pictures of aborted fetuses, and there have been more mean-spirited protesters in the past who have made those accusations while showing similar images.

Another example was when Charles Darwin put forth his theory of natural selection, and people thought he was trying to undermine religious faith when, in reality, he was merely presenting a working model (natural selection) for a theory which already existed (evolution). Attacking, defending or even addressing the existence of God was not even on his mind, but there were many who took it that way nonetheless.

The result: endless flame wars that have continued down to this day.

I agree with most of what has been said by Boston-Hyde and others: free speech should be defended. I also believe that the right to respond to opinions you do not like should be protected. But before doing so, it is always a good idea to know exactly what message you are responding to.

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Jesse Baggenstos
Material Science & Engineering Graduate

This letter to the editor was received in response to the Feb. 17 feature story “Gender lies outside social norms.”

If the recent “Add the Words” debate has taught us anything, it is that gender identity and sexual orientation remain hotly contested issues, with numerous adherents on each side. At the heart of both issues is a fundamental disagreement about the nature of gender and attraction. In this light, Tuesday’s myopic feature regarding gender is blatantly irresponsible.

The article can hardly be considered an opinion piece, much less an investigative effort, as the author makes no attempt to discuss both sides of the issue, completely ignoring the traditional male/female understanding of gender.

Instead, the author is content to parrot the opinions of the various quoted individuals, all of which are of the same mind, and neglects to insert even a sentence of critique. In doing so, the author has erased the voices of Boise State students and alumni who argued in favor of traditional gender and sexual mores in the recent hearings just blocks away at the state capital.

Has The Arbiter already forgotten? Fair-minded individuals have flocked to both sides of the issue, and gender is currently a fiercely debated topic at BSU;  the four graphics that accompany this article fail to acknowledge this debate.  Rather, they read like an informational flyer, the contents of which are as settled and final as the orbits of the planets.

The Arbiter is certainly free to express its own editorial opinions, whatever they may be, but to present them as fact without critical analysis or even mention of possible dissent drags Boise State’s flagship paper in the direction of a political pamphlet rather than a journalistic establishment.

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Emily Pehrson
Editor-in-chief

The Arbiter recently published our “Love & Relationships” issue in honor of Valentine’s Day. However, among the many questions that arise when speaking about relationships we stumbled on one we didn’t expect.

For a piece in our recent “Love & Relationships” issue, one of our journalists interviewed a student about what their ideal Valentine’s Day would be, how much it was acceptable to spend, what their habits were, etc.—seemingly harmless questions. However, after being interviewed, this student called the office and asked that their quotes be removed from the article because they were embarrassed about their current single status and didn’t want it advertised to the university.

While the staff of The Arbiter was more than happy to comply with the student’s request, it did bring us to a relationship question we hadn’t considered before: Why is there such a stigma against being single?

At this point in our society, it’s kind of ridiculous. Living alone encapsulates many of the values we tout in contemporary society: self-realization, independence and individualism.

We live in a day and age where more people are living alone than ever before. According to the 2010 census, more than 40 percent of households contain at least one single adult. In premiere American cities such as Manhattan and Washington D.C. nearly half of all households are occupied by a single person.

Yet we live in fear of being labeled old maids. The term “bachelor pad” summons visions of sad, drab, lifeless abodes. We have created imaginary dimensions like the “friendzone” and jokingly renamed a holiday “Singles Awareness Day.”

So why all the heartache? Helen Croydon, author of “Screw the Fairytale: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Sex and Love,” explains that what started as a bonding for protection and practical means has failed to keep up with contemporary society.

“The language we use implies that (getting married) is the right thing to do. I think it’s really sad in a way, when there are so many ways of finding success … Young people don’t see through the conspiracy,” Croydon said in an July 2014 interview with The Guardian.

While there’s nothing wrong with coupling up and  finding love—if you’re into that—we should be equally accepting of those who remain forever single at heart. We should accept their choice to follow the words of Louisa May Alcott: “Liberty is a better husband than love to many of us.”

Confessions of a married female Boise State student
Alx Stickel
News Editor

As a married woman, sometimes I’m excited by the idea of living the single college student life.

One of the pros of being single: you’re your own person.

When you’re married, you and your partner are usually thought to be inseparable, and you often are. You adopt each others habits and start embodying similar personality traits.

Often, when I go out by myself, I’m greeted with, “Where’s your husband?”

My response: “Hi, I’m happy to see you too.”

Valentine’s Day also perpetuates a social (or parental) pressure to find a significant other.

My response: tell society and/or the parents to get over themselves.

Honestly, committed life is not all it’s hyped up to be. There’s a lot of coordinating schedules, arguing over what to have for dinner and compromising on the night out.

My point here is: committed relationships take a lot of work. Isn’t getting through college hard enough?

I understand there is this romantic notion of not being single. Being in a relationship usually means someone is there to emotionally support you, or at the very least, take you out for Chinese food once in awhile.

My response: don’t your friends do that? If they don’t, I advise getting different friends.

Around Valentine’s Day, complaints of “it sucks to be single” hover in the air.

My response: Quit complaining.

The phrase “You don’t know what you have till it’s gone” comes to mind.

You won’t appreciate the freedoms of being single till you don’t have them anymore.

 

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By Patty Bowen, Justin Kirkham and August McKernan

Images of people holding hands, kissing and sugar-sweet talking stalk students every Valentine’s day.

Relationships are huge, but they really shouldn’t be.  Some students base their entire world around romance, while others wallow in loneliness.

“People talk way more about loving other people than they talk about loving themselves,” said Delaney Smith, freshman marketing major. “But I feel like you need to love yourself in order to love someone else. You can’t really understand what love is until you love yourself.”

Acknowledgment of a broader and more diverse spectrum of love could play an important role in developing  healthy self-image and self-worth, fully replacing the need for fickle, outside validation.

“(Self-love is important because) it makes life worth living,” said Ranae Fannin, freshman exercise science major. “If you don’t love yourself, what do you love?”

Taking time to mold and craft yourself is vital before developing any further relationships.

“Sometimes I just like to go and get my hair cut or get my nails just to feel pretty for a day,” Fannin said.

According to Mary Pritchard, psychology professor, self-worth is the “foundation of a healthy relationship.” A good mental image supports the mental and physical health of students by helping safeguard them against depression.

These positive emotions boost the immune system and help to deter mental health complications associated with depression.

“I think negative self-esteem is a real problem, especially for college women,” Smith said. “It makes me sad because I feel that everyone should find themselves beautiful.”

Negative self-images are rampant and every student should be aware of the toll their personal visualizations have on their mental well-being.  Regardless of identity, all students can find small ways to appreciate themselves instead of vying for outside approval.

Smith currently belongs to the sorority Tri-Delta who founded a program called Body Image 3-D, which focuses on promoting a positive body image.

“At the beginning of the fall semester, after our sorority started, we had a thing called Fat Talk Free Week,” Smith said. “We all changed our profile pictures to something we love about ourselves.”

Smith found that focusing on positive aspects of oneself and complimenting others on their strengths can help to create a healthy environment for self-love.

This sort of action, combined with Fannin’s “treating yourself” philosophy, is incredibly useful nurturing a stronger self-image and bettering one’s self love.  It can be  extravagant like buying yourself several new outfits from H&M or a social media #blessed post. It can be small like a personal reminders of worth but it is quintessential to remember to practice self-love whether you’re buying flowers for yourself or someone else this Valentine’s Day.

“(For Valentine’s Day) I’ll probably buy myself chocolate because I love chocolate and splurge a little,” Fannin said. “Maybe go get my nails done for once.”

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Despite lingering ideas of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Alba, Netflix is the true heartthrob of our generation. And, unlike celebrities who might slap you with a restraining order in return for your undying affection, Netflix has enough depth and substance to create a place for everyone.

For those of you who haven’t been entranced by the beautiful red glow of her header on your screen: it’s not her, it’s you. However it’s not too late for the love forlorn to turn to this leading lady and enjoy the benefits of her support.

I can honestly say Netflix is the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had. Further, it’s the best relationship the average college student can invest in.

As with all relationships, some things are more effective than others.

1. Don’t play with her

Netflix is happy to give you what you want but only if she knows. Having multiple people watching regularly under the same account plays with her emotions. How can she truly know you if you’re passing her around?

Don’t worry about your best friend Jessica who is sharing your account: Netflix thought of her, too. She can have her own page and queue. Your freeloading buddy is welcome to share in the love without derailing your rapport, as long as she does it on her own page.

2. Communicate with her

Netflix is a lady. If you tell her the truth, she’ll respect you for it. Don’t be afraid to tell her “Trailer Park Boys” was one of the worst shows you’ve ever had the misfortune of watching. And give her a nod when the obscure British comedy she recommended tickles your
socks off.

After two years of diligent, truthful rating Netflix will know what you like better than the people around you. Her stamp of approval will be gold.

And, when Jessica recommends some terrible show about online gaming addicts and promises you’ll love it, take Netflix’s advice: if she says it two stars, it’s two stars. You’ll save yourself a couple hours and, in the end, Netflix will get her moment anyway when, in shame, you mark “The Guild” with only two stars.

3. Be open to new things, change

I constantly hear people complain that the selection on Netflix is poor which is something I can hardly understand. My queue is always so full I never have time to watch it all, even if I continually delay my homework later and later into the night. The key to this is twofold: 1) you have to communicate (as I’ve mentioned before). 2) You can’t only watch the shows you saw network commercials for.

This is college. Live dangerously. Try something new.

And finally, be accepting when she changes. This is the hardest part of any relationship. Netflix will change and, yes, sometimes it will hurt.

When “Dr. Who” is taken out of the lineup and you’re not able to repeatedly torture yourself with the loss of Rose Tyler, you will experience a new sort of pain. But stick with her. Netflix will come back around and, eventually, she’ll reward you with new episodes of “House of Cards.”

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History repeats itself, but it’s whether or not we learn from the mistakes and improve upon them that makes a difference.

We’re oppressing basic human rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Idaho must stop this discrimination and pass a law to protect these citizens.

Here we are in another civil rights movement, where the question of people’s humanity comes in. We’re hearing the same unjustified arguments that “invalidated” women’s and African-American’s rights.

“This is about human dignity and respect. Every human being deserves equal access and equal protection of law—period,” Rep. Melissa Wintrow told The Arbiter after the decision to reject Add the Words on
Jan. 29.

In December 2014, Dan Jones & Associates polled 520 Idaho adults, asking whether or not it should be illegal to discriminate someone based on sexual orientation. Approximately two-thirds of the respondents believed that this type of discrimination should be illegal.

While the sample size is small, representatives clearly aren’t listening to the majority of voices in Idaho.

It’s been endowed upon elective representatives to embody the Constitution and freedoms that America offers. Excluding the LGBT community from these rights reflects poorly on the government officials who vote against human rights bills, such as House Bill 2.

One of the main arguments against Add the Words is that homosexuality is a choice.

Scientists are proving this claim wrong. In 2008, researchers at the Karolinska Institute found structural differences between homosexual and heterosexual male brains. Homosexual men’s brains structurally resemble a heterosexual woman’s brain much more closely than that of a heterosexual man.

The other main argument against Add the Words is that religious organizations would have to perform marriages of homosexuals or transgender couples. The most recent House Bill 2 allowed exemptions for these organizations to respect their right to religious freedoms, as outlined by the first amendment.

“There are good people, Christian people, who are using, intentionally or unintentionally, their religion as a shield to justify certain behaviors,” Wintrow said.

Having been raised Christian, I was taught the core teaching of Christianity is love for one another. Denying other people rights to equality doesn’t show neighborly love. While some argue over specific Bible verses and theologies, it is clear that being able to empathize, respect and ultimately love is an overarching theme within the religion.

A complication that arises from adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the current Idaho Civil Rights Act is that the two phrases were not clearly defined. This could allow other groups, such as child molestors, to argue that they would be protected under “sexual orientation.” It’s a small factor, but if adjusted, the bill could have a stronger chance.

However, in today’s society, it is common knowledge that “sexual orientation” refers to relationships between two consenting adults.

The fact that we are arguing over who deserves basic human rights is appalling. Add the Words isn’t over, and hopefully, next year, this story will have a new ending.

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Courtesy Angel Hernandez
ASBSU Secretary of External Affairs

The article by August McKernan, published January 29, 2015, dealing with the rise of textbook prices was spot on. The truth is that the continuous rise of textbook prices has become one of the greatest challenges to obtaining a higher education both nationally and statewide.

Not only are students beaten by the overwhelming shadows of debt that are accumulated due to the rising costs of tuition, but we are also being priced out of an education due to the exorbitant cost associated with books. Equally frustrating is the fact that sometimes the expensive books that we have to buy are not even used by some professors.

Although, at times the textbooks are hardly touched by some professors, there are those professors that do rely on them heavily making it a risk to forgo textbooks to save money. Not having a textbook for a class can present some serious academic problems for most of us.

Their importance as a tool for studying and learning is undeniable but yet, little has been done to ensure that textbooks are attainable for all students. The realities associated with the rise of textbook prices presents a serious challenge that requires the attention of our administration, faculty and students. This is not a Boise State problem it’s a national problem!

Although no solution is a silver bullet, I am certain that we can do better and that we must do better ensure that a textbook does not determine whether or not someone can afford a college education.

It is my belief that we need to provide alternatives to students that do not wish to purchase the overpriced books at the bookstore. I am a proponent of a student run exchange that will allow for a much more organized way of students to sell and or trade books with one another.

There should also be a greater reliance on e-books over traditional textbooks and professors should be sure to decide which textbooks they will be requiring for a class well ahead of time so that students have the necessary time to search for more affordable options. It would also be helpful if our bookstore had a greater supply of used books to save a little extra money.

The need for a college degree is more important than ever in order to be able to find a good-paying job. Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us to make education as accessible and as affordable as possible.

Taking on the challenge of pricy textbooks is a great start to ensuring that every Boise State student has the degree necessary to pursue all passions and aspirations.