In essence, the University is only teaching its computer science students to tread water and stay afloat in our electronic society, not to swim or to go in a certain direction. This leaves a generation of students subject to the tumultuous currents of technology. I don’t mean that computer science students are merely sheep, but the University treats them as such by not giving them a well-rounded and much-deserved education that must combine professional skills and critical thinking.
The tool that the wealthy and their companies are using to shape the council is the political action committee. PACs can accept unlimited donations, thereby giving wealthy individuals the ability to make their money go a longer way so long as the PAC doesn’t collude with the candidate.
It’s been almost a year since Twitter shut down Vine, yet its cultural fruit remains a kind of internet delicacy. A scroll through my Twitter timeline always surfaces a #RIPVine thread, and a dorm neighbor quotes iconic Vines like a bearded, wire-rimmed glasses-wearing poetry professor recites Shakespeare’s sonnets.
The NCAA is a particularly strong and concerning case of educational neglect in college athletics. The regulatory agency controls college athletics, but has demonstrated time after time it has no regard for the minds of its athletes.
Walking on Huron Boulevard in Stadium Village reminds me of my middle school days, when I use to foolishly traverse suburban highways by foot. There is no parking lane that insulates you from traffic like many other Minneapolis streets, so cars zoom by an arm from the edge of the sidewalk. The empty grass field with the University of Minnesota sign sits inconspicuously empty, leaving you unsure if it’s supposed to be a park or just something the University hasn’t got around to yet.
For about two months this summer, hackers snooped around the computer systems of Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, obtaining nearly half the U.S. population’s names, dates of birth, addresses and social security numbers. Equifax demonstrated time after time that it had no regard for the people whose data it holds. If one wants to freeze their data at Equifax — the only way to prevent unauthorized credit access — then they would have to pay Equifax a fee every time they wanted to freeze and thaw their account.
Luxury apartments are rising near the University of Minnesota. A 25-story tower behind the Pillsbury Mill will potentially go up in Marcy-Holmes. These apartments are financially out of reach to many, so community groups have long tried to persuade builders to include affordable units. The Minnesota Student Association is currently trying to persuade the developer of the Marcy Holmes tower to add some affordable units to the building. The MSA should be applauded for its efforts, but what the University community and City of Minnesota as a whole needs is action from the city.
Amazon recently announced that it has begun an international search for the city that will house its second headquarters (HQ2). The company has resorted to building HQ2 because its original headquarters’ explosive growth has given the city of Seattle a tidal wave of high housing prices and congestion. Minnesota should not offer corporate welfare in its bid to Amazon, as doing so would show area-companies that they can ask for hand-outs and divert resources from the real corporate attractions: strong infrastructure and education systems.
While we labor to create the rest of our lives here, the Mississippi River beats incessantly against the concrete shoes of the Washington Avenue Bridge. While I stress about making that critical friend group, the leaves begin their slow, fiery explosion of color. While the pages of my sociology textbook yearn for my eyeballs, Ospreys plunge steeply into the depths of the river for fish. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a unit of the National Parks System (NPS), bisects our campus and is critical to the University of Minnesota.
I’ve sat in the bed of my friend’s pickup, looking up at the eternal glow of the midnight stars, as he hurtled the little Ford around S-shaped Northern Minnesotan roads. I’ve watched a man propose to his girlfriend in the observation deck of the Prospect Park Witch’s Hat Tower, a beautiful foreground to the orange sun, setting over the grey flour mills of Minneapolis. However, there is something that makes the University of Minnesota distinctive to these special places of mine: it is where the future of Minnesota begins.