Opinion

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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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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.

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Last year, the Quad was the center of attention at Boise State, with angry anti-abortionists and overly passionate preachers expressing their opinions freely.

There are those who know how to use the power of free speech perfectly. They employ motivating speeches without attacking people.

On the flip side, people condemn others for being different or disagreeing with their views.

While Boise State is discussing the Quad policy, it’s difficult to take a step back and realize what’s really at stake.

Our right to express our thoughts is a powerful tool, and we should use it. When given such power, it’s important to remember not to abuse it.

It’s easy to say, “Ban the controversial speakers. They disrupt the learning environment.” By controlling what is said in the Quad, however, Boise State would infringe upon the First Amendment right to free speech.

Without the freedom of speech, America would no longer be a republic. The government relies on its citizens to speak openly and without fear of the government reprimanding them. If free speech was eradicated, we would be stuck in the world of George Orwell’s “1984,” and that’s scary.

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? Is it fair to a homosexual to say he is going to hell for loving someone of the same sex?

Believe me, I was deeply offended by comments made by the protestors. I was told that I should not be in college because of my gender, and that, instead, I should be at home taking care of a man and his children. This was a Christian preacher talking down to a fellow Christian. It was very appalling, to say the least, and goes against the core values of the religion.

I would love it if I had never heard those comments on my way to take a test. I’m sure plenty of students felt the same way.

It’s the price of free speech.

People speaking need to realize that not everyone shares similar views.  For those of us who might not necessarily enjoy being scrutinized for various reasons, we’ll just have to buck up and endure.

The minute we start to regulate offensive arguments is the minute we give up our right to free speech.

Student Voices 

Question: Should free speech be regulated on campus? Why/why not?

Caitlin Hayden

Caitlin Hayden, junior marketing major

“I’ve had a similar experience (to Canestro’s) where you’re walking through the Quad or you kind of get attacked—it feels like—by certain groups that almost take it upon themselves to rather than sharing their message to educate others about what they believe, they really take it a step too far; they start attacking individuals that maybe don’t align specifically with their ideals and beliefs. I think we need to appreciate the opportunity that we have with free speech, take advantage of it, speak about what we do believe in and what what’s important to us, we can’t just ignore the fact that we have that right in this country, we really should appreciate that we have that.”

Alyssa Canestro

Alyssa Canestro, senior health science major

“I appreciate free speech, I think it’s something beautiful we as a country share however I do think people take it a step too far, especially when we have people who are angry  about religion and yelling at students, it makes me feel uncomfortable when we’re here to get an education, we’re here to make up our own ideas about the world I personally don’t feel comfortable walking by and I’m wearing my sorority letters and someone is calling me a whore. That’s when I don’t feel like going to school. It’s not something I want to hear when I’m on campus.”

Lane Mentaberry

Lane Mentaberry, freshman business major

“No, I don’t think it should be regulated. Everyone is an adult and everyone has freedom of speech so you can say what you want to say where you want to say it, it doesn’t need to be regulated by the school at all.”

Connor Demond

Connor Demond, freshman business major

“I don’t think it should be. We’re all adults. Of course, if it’s going to be offensive you’re going to get in trouble for it just like you would in the regular world and it’s already regulated to a certain extent.”

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This letter to the editor was written in response to the article titled “Policy for speech in the Boise State Quad remains undecided” published in the Jan. 11 issue of The Arbiter.

Wuthrich is right. Free speech needs to be protected.

Like many students last semester, I was discouraged to see and hear the offensive and deconstructive speech that was spoken by some speakers in the Quad. I was also discouraged by hearing students, instead of speaking respectfully, resorting to the same base tactics of name calling and harassment that the speakers showed. But, while some events and exchanges might have been unpleasant, I find that that reaction by some students to try to regulate free speech the most disappointing.

The whole purpose in a university can be found in its name—a combination of “unity” and “diversity.” Everyone united under one name yet each sharing differing viewpoints on the world. To start to regulate and ban free speech teaches students a very dangerous lesson, that they have the right not to be offended.

Nowhere in any of our laws is there a right to be unoffended. No matter what life path we might take, we are always going to offend or run into someone who might offend us, whether it be what we say or the lifestyle we live.

Instead of having a knee-jerk reaction to controversial issues, it benefits students as a whole to be exposed to these differing viewpoints. As the old saying goes, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.” It benefits students to know how the opposing side to their viewpoint thinks. It trains them how to react and debate these issues in life and in the workforce.

Just simply shutting down alternate viewpoints just because they might be “offensive” does nothing to train their minds to deal with and solve problems in life. I applaud Dean Wutrich in his defense of free speech and hope that in the future, Boise State will encourage even more free exchange of ideas and make the university the marketplace of ideas it’s meant to be.

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Inversion, cold weather, and long visits with extended family can make winter a rough season for students to function in. What started out as a College Humor video has began to catch on as a trend called Winter Cling.

According to the originating video, an ideal Winter Cling is someone who is heavier set, and has a lot of warm blankets in their apartment, making it easier to huddle for warm and not feel bad about the holiday weight that is inevitable for some people. It is also optional for them to have a HBO go password and an apartment closer to your place of work.

“(Winter Cling is preferable) for some students because they go through the winter doldrums and just want someone to cuddle up to,” said Derek Bohm, sophomore kinesiology major.

For Bohm who is an outdoor person, winter presents a challenge because the cold keeps him from doing the activities he loves. Instead he often finds himself trapped indoors. This vacuum of time and happiness; however, could be best used with a winter cling.

“Some research has shown that even if we’re high on the personality trait of neuroticism by being in a loving romantic relationship it can be very beneficial to us and can reduce levels of neuroticism,” said Kimberly Hardy, assistant professor of psychology. “I’d say that people dealing with seasonal affective disorder might be able to gain from having that social support and loving relationship to a greater extent than they would during the summer.”

According to Hardy, the body releases a chemical called oxytocin, a social bonding hormone, while cuddling which makes us feel “really happy, really relaxed, and really good.” Because of this, hormonally a Winter Cling could create an easier alternative than hibernating solo for students to get through the long cold months of winter.

“Just looking outside today with the fog it makes me I want to be at home in bed, I don’t want to do anything, there isn’t that motivation to go out for a hike,” Hardy said. “When we’re more active we’re going to feel happier, we’re going to feel healthier but if we’re kind of just sitting at home alone that can make us feel more depressed.”

While the winter cling creates a great alternative to paying for your own HBO Go account and buying a cooking-for-one recipe book, it can also get you off scott-free with pesky parents who have an increasing obsession with your ability to create offspring.

“I’m sure that a lot of people go through that were they’re not seeing anybody and their parents are like ‘When are you going to bring someone home?’” Hardy said. “‘When are you going to start having
babies?’”

Unfortunately, according to Hardy, a year long committed relationship is the most beneficial relationship hormonally, and is usually found to be more satisfying to the demands of the vulture like family that hangs out at your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner celebrations.

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Harry Penate is a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity on campus. He is a junior English: Creative Writing major.

As spring semester gets underway, the new Phi Delta Theta fraternity enters its first full semester at Boise State. The fraternity, formed in early October, has been attracting new members with its low fraternity fees, campus involvement events and diverse group of members.

The fraternity president, J.R. Rasmussen, already has his policy planned out for this semester: “as many socials and student organization events as possible.”

Last semester the fraternity was able to have a group trip to Lucky Peak, go skittles bowling for Halloween, and build gingerbread houses with the sororities on campus.

Phi Delt is also a very diverse group of students who have all different kinds of interests and hobbies. Freshman Michael Duke raps at places such as The Crux, Revolution House and Powerhouse. Junior Colton Ankeney is an avid skydiver. Junior Harry Penate performs stand-up comedy downtown at Liquid Laughs. Sophomore Colby Hall is a member of the Army ROTC program and the Idaho Army National Guard, as well as plays on the BSU club rugby team.

Phi Delt has members from all over, from New Jersey, California, Oregon, Washington, even Vietnam. Freshman Tu Huynh came to BSU from Vietnam and was one of the original founding fathers. When asked about what joining the fraternity meant, he told me “I was a little shy at first, once I moved to Boise State, but after joining Phi Delt it boosted my confidence like no other! I’m being myself around everyone, which helps me meet new people.”

If becoming the best version of yourself meeting many new friends, and getting involved on campus sounds like something you want to do, look for the Phi Delta Theta members at social events or look for the best-dressed men on campus on Sunday evenings.

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Vaccines have transformed the world of medicine. They protect society from infectious diseases that would otherwise kill millions.

Despite the many benefits that they bring, there’s still strong opposition from the general public. People ignore pushes for vaccinations against preventable diseases such as influenza, chicken pox and whooping cough.

Getting vaccinated is a crucial citizen responsibility.

Role of vaccines

“Vaccines are one of the most important medical advances of the century,” said Juliette Tinker, biology professor at Boise State and current vaccine researcher.

It’s no different than wearing a seatbelt in a car. It’s a precaution.

Not everyone who doesn’t wear a seatbelt will get in a car accident. If something were to go wrong, however, the risk is much higher if the precaution is not taken.

The same applies to vaccines. Not everyone who doesn’t get vaccinated will become sick, however, if they do, there’s a chance of fatality.

Children are suffering from the consequences of not getting vaccinated because parents are ignoring the facts. In 2012, a large whooping cough outbreak occurred in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control reported at least 48,277 cases of whooping cough, the most since 1995.

The CDC linked the outbreak to the lack of vaccinations against the disease.

Hindering myths

Many times, people refuse to get vaccinated due to their lack of education of how they work, their role and importance. Lots of myths have been built around the issue.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a study in “The Lancet” in 1998 stating that there was a link to an increase in autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The study cut corners, jumped to conclusions, used a biased sample group and had questionable financial ties to the trial lawyers.

Since then, there have been over 100 studies disproving the claim that autism is linked to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and there’s still ongoing research looking into the issue. Ten out of the 13 original researchers have withdrawn their names from Wakefield’s study. Despite the proof, people still beat the dead horse and use it as an excuse to avoid vaccinations.

Another common myth is that vaccines will cause someone to get sick with the illness. This claim couldn’t be more wrong.

Why vaccines work

Many vaccines carry either the dead pathogen or antigenic fragments that elicit an immune response within the body. Dead pathogens cannot replicate—they are already dead. Antigenic fragments can’t either because they are only a portion of the pathogen. They can’t replicate and cause illness because they don’t have all the necessary components to replicate within the body.

Attenuated or live vaccines do have a live microbe, however it is weakened. Only a small number of the weakened pathogen is injected, just enough to cause an immune response but not nearly enough to cause illness.

Even though the virus (or bacteria) is injected into the person, it is done in a way that won’t get the person sick.

Scientists and researchers spend years developing a vaccine. On average, it takes 10 to 15 years to receive a licensure for a human vaccine to be used in public health. This includes an exploratory stage, preclinical trials with mice, clinical trials with humans, regulatory review and approval, manufacturing and quality control. Even after the vaccine receives approval, it undergoes continuous research to ensure its effectiveness.

“I think it’s really important to understand how long of a process it is to make a vaccine, and how there are really a lot of safety nets in place,” Tinker said.

Getting vaccinated is crucial for a healthy society. Not only are those who get vaccinated protecting themselves, they protect others from getting infected. This is vital for those who might be immunocompromised from an autoimmune disease or receiving chemotherapy. The less people who are carriers of the illness, the better. It protects those who can’t get vaccinated.

Take one for the team and get vaccinated. A small prick from a needle to protect lives is well worth it.

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Arbiter Graphic

How do you feel about that person who always seems to be talking and asking questions in the classroom?

“It depends on the context, if it’s related to the class and not distracting it’s fine because they’re either saying things that I hadn’t thought about or they’re giving information that I actually need. A lot of times they’re just trying to debate with the teacher or whatever so it can be distracting.” – Jacob Buckley, computer science sophomore

“I like them and dislike them. Sometimes they really can start discussions and get the ball rolling and I guess sometimes they can really stop the ball just by talking about something that really has nothing to do with the topic and going off on a tangent.” – Tim Baxter, international business senior

“It can be distracting for the class when one person who’s always rambling on and you’re trying to be productive and get stuff done and you already know this person is going to start talking. It’s not something that you can’t work around but it can get annoying sometimes.” – Daniel Barth, marketing freshman

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If Idaho received a report card, it would be failing in education.

As its students and teachers struggle, the state turns a blind eye.

Idaho needs to fund education, especially teachers, in a smart, effective way.

While Idaho is finally looking to fund education, the strategy is questionable.

In 2015 the State Board of Education will be proposing the Career Ladder to the Legislature for consideration. The Board want to put nearly $200 million towards helping raise teacher pay. By increasing the base pay for teachers, Idaho hopes to draw in and keep high-quality educators within the state’s school districts.

In theory, it sounds great. Teachers are meant to instruct students and assist them in success.

In reality, it’s a horrible train wreck. The ladder doesn’t seem very easy to climb, as it’s based on years of experience, level of education and student performance. These three qualities are not an accurate measurement of teachers’ abilities and prowess.

Measuring an educator’s success based on student success is like an employee’s success being measured on the rate of customers. While great customer service can influence the rate, it’s a highly uncontrollable factor.

The same applies to teachers. A great educator can inspire some struggling students to succeed. However, teachers don’t handpick who will be in their class. It’s based on the pool of students available in the area and assigned by the school.

By random luck, a teacher may have a class full of outstanding students who always do their homework and ace exams.

Unfortunately, there will always be students who don’t care about their education, and some teacher will have to deal with these students. No matter what techniques they try, no matter how much care and effort they put into this student, it won’t matter. Some students just don’t care.

This doesn’t leave very many options for a teacher whose pay relays on the success of his or her students. Will teachers start passing students who haven’t earned their grade just for a better paycheck? It’s a strong possibility.

It’s time to get educated about education. Being 48 out of 50 is nothing to be proud of.

Although education was a focus in the recent Idaho election, between Gov. Butch Otter and self-proclaimed “Chief of Schools” Sherri Ybarra, the future is scary.

We need to treat our teachers with the respect and pay they deserve. They are the direct connection to success for our students. While the Career Ladder would be a step in that direction, its implementation will cause more harm
than good.

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There’s one in every class it seems: the student who talks as much as the teacher, who raises their hand with every question or blurts out answers which turn into life stories.

In some cases this person knows what they’re talking about. In other instances, they don’t. Other students cringe at the sound of their voice as it travels through the classroom.

If you don’t know who I’m referring to, you’re probably that student.

These students should stop talking so much and allow others participate in classroom discussion.

For Ryan Cannon, assistant professor in the Communication Department, these students aren’t as much of a distraction for him as he feels they may be for other students within the classroom.

“I remember as an undergrad, you’d go to class and there would be a particular student or students perhaps … who have a lot to say or people who sometimes monopolize conversations,” Cannon said. “I think that’s where the danger comes into it. You want everyone to become involved, (but) sometimes you don’t necessarily want classroom participation to become lopsided to those one or few who are often outspoken or have a lot to say.”

This isn’t to say that everyone who raises their hand is disruptive to the students around them. However, there is a fine line between asking questions to improve your understanding and having a conversation with the professor while they’re trying to instruct a class.

“There’s a certain flow in a classroom environment,” said Kacy Bonds, sophomore secondary education major. “I think that if students keep asking questions and keep interrupting what the professors are saying it can definitely be frustrating because you’re just trying to go with the flow of the class.”

Bonds feels that those students who typically ask a lot of questions can tend to stray away from the topic the class is discussing. This can often lead to frustration among students in the class.

“I was in an introduction to education class last year and there was a woman in that class that always had to give her two cents on everything,” Bonds said. “That was incredibly frustrating because they weren’t keeping (on) course with what we were talking about in class. It was like tidbits about her own life.”

According to Leslie Clampitt, senior computer science major, this should be a sixth-sense for students at this point in their education career.

However, this may not always be the case.

“Most students who are like that don’t know how to look for social cues I guess; body language, facial expressions, that (say) they are doing something wrong and need to stop,” Clampitt said. “If they’re not at this point able to recognize those things, then they’re not going to learn it. I mean they’re adults, they should know that.”

The solution seems clear: if you think you’re talking too much and being a disruption to the classroom environment, you probably are.

 

Student Voices: How do you feel about that person who always seems to be talking and asking questions in the classroom?

Jacob Buckley

Jacob Buckley, sophomore computer science major

“It depends on the context; if it’s related to the class and not distracting it’s fine because they’re either saying things that I hadn’t thought about or they’re giving information that I actually need. A lot of times they’re just trying to debate with the teacher or whatever so it can be distracting.”

Tim Baxter

Tim Baxter, senior international business major

I like them and dislike them. Sometimes they really can start discussions and get the ball rolling and I guess sometimes they can really stop the ball just by talking about something that really has nothing to do with the topic and going off on a tangent.

Daniel Barth

Daniel Barth, freshman marketing major

“It can be distracting for the class when one person (is) always rambling on and you’re trying to be productive and get stuff done and you already know this person is going to start talking. It’s not something that you can’t work around but it can get annoying sometimes.”

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‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, finding the perfect gifts and holiday cheer. As holiday shoppers are rushing through the mall this month, they will most likely hear a seasonal greeting from a retail employee.

However, two simple phrases, “Happy holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” have sparked massive debate in recent years.

It’s two words. Boycotting a store because the company chose to say “Happy holidays” or yelling at a retail employee for wishing a “Merry Christmas” is quite ridiculous and honestly unnecessary.

Companies must choose one or the other. By saying “Merry Christmas,” companies are ostracized for being insensitive to other religious affiliations. By wishing a customer “Happy holidays” instead, criticism arises for following a liberal agenda.

As of 2010, 3 out of 4 Americans claim Christianity as their belief system. While this is a majority, this excludes almost 25 percent of possible customers ready to spend big bucks for presents.

The American Family Association, an organization who promotes fundamentalist Christian ideals, fights big-name retailers who switch to the politically correct term, and encourages their readers to boycott companies and demand “Merry Christmas.”

For other companies, saying “Happy holidays” is not only being politically correct—it opens the possibility to make a larger profit by trying to appeal to every belief system.

Here’s the truth though: Many Americans don’t care.

In 2013, a study by the Pew Research Center found 8 out of 10 non-Christians celebrate Christmas in the United States. It’s a safe bet that companies aren’t taking a large risk by saying “Merry Christmas” if the Christmas shopping crowd is so large.

Yet, despite the vast majority celebrating Christmas this year, so much emphasis is put on the issue.

In another study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans don’t have a preference for which seasonal greeting they receive.

Approximately 42 percent said they preferred “Merry Christmas” while the remaining 12 percent prefer “Happy Holidays.”

The whole concept of Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and every other holiday celebration in between is about love, tradition and spending time with family.

Focusing on such a simplistic issue draws attention away from the real meaning of the season for many cultures.

Don’t be an Ebenezer Scrooge and bring bah-humbug to the joy of the holidays by focusing on such a petty issue.

Tear open the presents, indulge in vast amounts of food and enjoy time with family and friends.

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When The Arbiter asked 50 undergraduate students if they felt they were able to take on all the responsibilities of being an adult, 39 said they did not feel fully prepared. Knowing how to perform the basic duties of being an adult such as managing finances, insurance plans and student loans is crucial knowledge to have when heading into
adulthood.

Once students graduate  high school, they should be prepared for adult life.

High schools often fail to properly teach students skills that are necessary to have as an
independent adult.

If these skills are not taught during high school,  the last step before expected independence, students should be taught these skills during college to better prepare them for the real world.

Repurposing UF classes to focus on teaching the basic principles of adulthood would be more effective in helping students in the real world.

“Maybe they (universities) expect you to know already or don’t consider it school-worthy,” said Andrew Stone, junior psychology major. “If you look at how many kids buy with credit cards and don’t know how to use a credit card, or how many kids buy houses and have no idea how a mortgage works, you can see that there is some important knowledge missing there.”

Of the 50 students mentioned previously, 48 of them stated that they would prefer UF courses that taught the basics of being an adult instead of the current curriculum.

UF courses focus on topics ranging from storytelling to invention and discovery.

“If you’re going to have a university foundations class, I think it should be more applicable,” Stone said. “It’s pretty obvious that with everybody who takes those classes that there is no content to them. We could use that space to teach more practical things like basic finances, balancing checkbooks or even cooking.”

The mission for the Foundational Studies Program is to “engage our Boise State University community in a cutting-edge, evidence-based liberal arts education relevant to our continually changing and diverse world.”

According to a four-year study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, 71 percent of students graduating in 2012 had student loan debt, with the average debt amount being $24,000.

If students are graduating with thousands of dollars in debt, students need to be equipped with the skills to handle their finances.

“Doing taxes is more relevant to my world than storytelling,” said Beth Alderink, senior speech pathology major. “There should be a personal finance class where I can learn what a 401k is and how to set a budget.”