SMSA works for students
A good friend of mine informed me the other day that student government on this campus is a joke. When I asked him why, he informed me student government does nothing for him, and he didn't have any representation at all. I've heard this opinion stated time and time again, so I think it's time to finally address it in a public forum, once and for all.
Student government, specifically the Minnesota Student Association, deals with a lot of topics pertinent to students. Have an opinion about an on-campus stadium? How about a late-night bus? Maybe how season tickets are distributed for sports? Do you have concerns about the Graduation Proficiency Test? Any concerns about University Dining Services? How about tuition? Or housing? All these topics are being dealt with in MSA.
Think you don't have representation? If you are an undergraduate student here, you actually have many representatives. Every college gets representatives, every residence hall gets representatives, every cultural center gets representatives and every student gets 16 representatives from the general student body. These persons represent a vast array of cultures, ideologies and opinions.
What I'm getting at here is that you are all represented, so if you have a question or concern, an idea or a thought, let us be your outlet. That's why we're here. Our meetings are open to everyone, and I strongly encourage you to come. When the administration wants to know what students think, they come to us. What we'd like more than anything is for you to come to us as well.
Like any democracy, you only get out what you put in. So take notice of what is going on, bring your concerns to us and vote in elections. Believe that students have the power to affect change, and it will be so. This is your student government. Use it well.
speaker of the forum
Minnesota Student Association
Abortion bill takes away women's rights
Thank you for Tuesday's "Hoping to sway votes, students lobby against abortion bills," addressing bills currently in the Legislature regarding access to abortion. Students must keep informed on government actions that might affect them. However, clarification of the proposed "Women's Right to Know" bill is necessary. While the article's author discusses the 24-hour waiting period, she does not elaborate on all consequences of this bill.
A 24-hour waiting period creates hurdles for women deciding to have an abortion. The only abortion clinics in Minnesota are in the Twin Cities and Duluth. For women from rural areas, an abortion already requires an overnight trip, but if the "Women's Right to Know" passes, the length of this trip will double. In addition, women typically wait two to three days for an appointment at a clinic, more than enough time for a woman to think about her decision.
This bill requires clinics to misinform women about the risks of abortion. Part of the new information that clinicians would read to a woman before an abortion says there might be a link between abortion and breast cancer, a link disproved by the American Cancer Association.
Finally, this bill puts the life of abortion providers in Minnesota at risk. The so-called "Women's Right to Know" requires a doctor to give his or her name to a patient 24 hours before performing an abortion, increasing the risk of threats against abortion providers. Under the pretense of education, this bill only takes away the rights of women.
College of Liberal Arts
University Choice Coalition
Pre-emptive moral action
Stephen Casper's Monday opinion piece "Pre-emptive policy with Iraq destroys U.S. values," detailing the immorality of Washington's pre-emptive stance, is important to note. I hope people are reading such commentaries because God knows you will not find frank debate in mainstream media.
We are lucky to have a college newspaper that is interested in presenting opinions from all sides. There is no room for apathetic citizenry right now - if ever. From frat row to the superblock and President Bruinink's office to Facilities Management, you and I had better have a solid opinion on this little matter in Iraq.
Each one of us should be able to justify his or her individual position. No matter how much you relish or despise it, our tax-paid Tomahawk cruise missiles will soon fly through Iraqi city streets, resulting in resounding explosions of star-spangled "justice."
That's really icing on the cake to Iraqi Joe and Jane after 12 years of civilian-penalizing sanctions and nonstop bombardments in the no-fly zones. If you are interested in pre-emptive moral action, try asking your congressman or woman to propose pre-emptively lifting sanctions on Iraq. (Unless you feel morally justified in perpetuating what has essentially amounted to a decade of infanticide.)
Prosecute rapists, not cruisers
Given the University's current need to significantly pare its budget, it would do well to aim its fiscal knives at the University Police Department. If the department can repeatedly send both uniformed and plainclothes officers into men's restrooms to respond to complaints of "victims" whose only "injuries" are bruises to their neo-Puritan moral and/or aesthetic sensibilities, then it is seriously overstaffed.
I am equally appalled that those who purport to advocate for the interests of gay men would adopt, as their sole strategy, efforts to advise restroom cruisers to just stop engaging in this "unsafe" behavior. Operating a motor vehicle and participating in contact sports are also inherently risky activities - would these "advocates" counsel gay men to refrain from driving or playing soccer?
Rather than browbeating gay men into stopping a pleasurable activity that harms no one's person or property, the University homosexual community should be engaging in efforts to eliminate the primary source of real risk to cruisers: the considerable emotional and financial trauma that results from arrest and prosecution for a victimless crime.
The only legitimately gay-supportive response to this ongoing problem is to pressure the University Police to refuse to respond to any complaint of sexually-related restroom activity that does not involve physical contact with an unwilling participant. University queers should also enlist the general homosexual community in a campaign that expends the same energy and zeal to repeal outmoded "indecent conduct" statutes and ordinances as the community displayed in fighting the state's sodomy law.
Finally, if there is truly a fear of potential "backlash" assaults on cruisers by homophobes (a phenomenon that is extraordinarily rare in restroom settings), then the preferred solution is a redoubling of anti-homophobia and anti-erotophobia education efforts - and vigorously punishing the assailants when such hate crimes do occur. Prosecute bashers and rapists, not cruisers.
UMN students have traveled to Florida colleges to collaborate with students on various projects.
When UMN students plan for a vacation, having trip cancellation travel insurance is a worthwhile commodity to check out.
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