Category Archives: Opinion

Editorial

As students of a public university, which is directly tied to the success or financial demise of the state, we expect that sometimes our needs will come second.

We understand that during the current economic climate, departments around campus are probably expecting pressure for staff cuts, budget cuts and pulling back on services. Consequently the secondary goals of the higher education system will probably take a back seat to the singular purpose of graduating students from CCSU.

Many of the CCSU students are non-traditional and most are attending because, frankly, CCSU is a less expensive option for college in the area; the average student commutes, has a part time job, or two, and most save money to pay for their own education.

CCSU is a university by which students have become complacent with a lack of organization. The students simply accept that receiving student loans from the Bursar’s office takes more time than seemingly plausible, obtaining graded papers is near impossible within the time zone of a week and ResLife, who seem adamant on securing students’ housing deposits within strict deadlines are seemingly unorganized when students move into halls.

Yet CCSU has little to no reserve about doling out late fees if students miss a tuition payment by a day and that apparently should simply be acceptable. But why should students meet the demands of the university, when the university does not meet the demands and needs of the student?

A university, which is notoriously lax in providing anything to its students in a timely fashion, should not simply have the right to continue to hold numbers such as 15, 20 or even 30 percent over our heads in tuition hikes.

Firstly, in today’s economic situation, how can a university that is dominated by students who are financially strained in the best of times, expect students to keep their heads above water when ridiculous late fees are added to accounts?

Secondly, if the Bursar’s office is openly adding late fees to accounts, can students therefore start ‘punishing’ other aspects of CCSU – surely ResLife would love to be charged for the amount of hours students waste gaining the correct keys and room information on move in day.

On the other hand as student we would like to at least be informed and be prepared when, for example, the Bursar’s office cannot organize itself to create individual payment plans for students who are having a similarly difficult time keeping financially afloat.

It’s not that students won’t sympathize with a Bursar’s office that may be struggling to keep staff around to provide their usual level of service and care; it’s just that students are not aware of the situation – if there even is a situation.

When major budget cuts threaten to increase tuition or decrease the normal level of service provided to students, we need to know about it – if students are not making payments on time, the Bursar’s office would ask questions – we as students are simply asking questions in the same respect – why has the service and communication taken a turn for the worse at CCSU?

Better lines of communication between the administration, the faculty and the students need to be established, especially when each party is suffering equally under the weight of a deteriorating economy.

The school cannot expect students to stand idly by while the cost of their education continues to be pushed higher and higher with no end in sight.

Speculation does not help the self-sustaining student prepare for the economic rigors that await them in the coming months and years.

Students naturally will bite the bullet; most have little or no choice. But we do deserve the right and courtesy of knowing how much it is going to hurt.

EDITORIAL: The Fairness Doctrine

Talk radio has been significantly dominated by conservative voices in recent years, and with Democrats now in power of Congress and the Oval Office, talks of reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine have been floating around Capitol Hill.

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy implemented by the FCC in 1949 in order to ensure that radio hosts presented both sides of controversial issues of public importance. In 1987, the FCC abolished the doctrine, which has since prompted discussion about instituting Congressional legislation of the same nature.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Fairness Doctrine, and its potential violation of First Amendment rights. Opponents of the doctrine claim that setting restrictions on material that is discussed on radio shows is an infringement on free speech. In a 1969 Supreme Court case, Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, the court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine stating that since there is only a limited radio spectrum, the material of speakers could be regulated in order to maintain and uphold openness.

Many prominent democrats such as John Kerry, Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, have expressed support for the reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine, but recently Barack Obama stated publicly that he was against reinstating the policy and we support him.

There is a general consensus among top conservatives that the Fairness Doctrine is an attempt by Democrats to regulate their views on the airwaves. Rush Limbaugh, host of the most-listened-to radio show in the country, has been publicly outspoken about his fear and discontent that congress may attempt to put policies in place to regulate content on the radio.

According to the standards of the free market, and the way in which material on the airwaves should, in fact compete for listeners, the Fairness Doctrine is an infringement on the First Amendment. Essentially, the Fairness Doctrine would be the Title IX of the radio in guaranteeing certain amounts of time or space to opposing views, regardless of quality or listenership.

When a radio show gets a large amount of listeners, then they will stay on the air since the demand for that show is high. It just so happens that conservative talk shows generally get more listeners, and therefore are entitled to continue what they are doing in order to bring in ratings. This involves spreading their opinions. If a law were imposed to guarantee airtime to alternative views, this would not serve the viewers who have clearly expressed a preference for conservative talking heads.

Just because liberals’ views are our there and can be given adequate time on the air doesn’t mean it should. What the government would be doing if they reinstalled the Fairness Doctrine is endorsing a side so that liberalism would rival radio’s conservatives. Frankly, liberal media doesn’t need the help and shouldn’t receive extra attention to spite its conservative counterparts.

Another side of the controversy is providing listeners with adequate and fair reporting on important issues. In journalism, Americans have come to value and strive for objectivity, but some have lost sight of its meaning. At times, it had represented a mathematical formula or prercentage determined in order to give fair share to different, opposing sides.

In actuality, a journalist knows when to give each side their space, but is smart enough to know accurate reporting transcends space and time. Whether it is a talking head on a radio show or a print journalist, people who consume this media are owed the truth and should be able to see through the mandated veil of balance.

The radio should not be treated differently than any other facet of the media. As stated in the First Amendment, Congress has no right to abridge freedom of speech, or of the press. Mandating that hosts discuss all sides of controversial issues is demanding that their opinions must be downplayed in the name of fairness. Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine would wrongly allow the government to regulate broadcasted content, and this would be a gross violation of the First Amendment that is essential to maintaining the open discussion that is relevant to the needs of its citizens.

 

-The Recorder’s Editorial Board

University Should Implement a New System to Reach Students

My part-time job at the computer lab provides several things that average students may not be privy to: free printing, for example, or dominion over a vast array of computers, for another.

But one of the things I am most cognizant of and most excited to be witness to is the amalgam of personalities and ideas that come in.

I get to hear what they are talking about, and as a person of (wholly transparent) authority, I am often the first person they go to when they have a CCSU-related question. After one and a half semesters of listening, I am certain of one fact: Central students don’t have a clue as to what is going on with this university.

And more importantly, I really don’t think it’s their fault.

Central has a very curious system set up called “Today@CCSU”. In theory, it is very tech-forward. It is parable, archivable, and can even have a limited export function. In your Central Pipeline account you can register for things you think you might be interested in and have them appear on that page.

You can also just go to today@ccsu, found at http://today. ccsu.edu, and search via interest. The reality of this is that the limitation, while seemingly willing to jive with some interesting tech, fails at several key points. The limited exportability onto a knowable interface means that these cool, interesting speakers and events get thrown on a page that students check twice a year for class registration.

The Today@ CCSU interface is confusing to a newcomer, and is ultimately too awkward to use intuitively. Even worse, actual need-to-know information is very often lost in transmission; I stopped counting how many times people asked about parking bans during snow storms, early dismissals – little details that are supposed to be sent through email. And I don’t doubt they are – but they are sent to places that students do not check, and CCSU’s exhaustive notification system becomes tantamount to yelling in the wind.

It’s time for a revamp. My suggestion is not even really that complicated; it’s a shift in paradigm to accept new technology.

First, you need to reevaluate the Today@CCSU calendar system (keep the calendar, sure, whatever, that’s not important). Increase its operability to be downloaded as a general RSS feed so that you can publish it as a calendar on… the CCSU facebook account!

Yes, we have a group, but you can only do so much with a group. A full-fledged account would allow us so much more in the way of disseminating information. An RSS-ed calendar would be great for taking that weird Today@CCSU interface and putting it somewhere popular and knowable. In fact, the next step is to drop Today@CCSU all together. Actually, I misspoke. Not the whole thing, just the “Today”.

Creating a Twitter account, “@CCSU”, does two important things: one, it allows Central (heh) Pipeline (heh heh) to post all information regarding incoming events. It also allows itself to be ported to the CCSU Facebook account, as well as providing a 100 percent free text-messaging system to all students – you don’t even need a formal Twitter account to follow someone via almost any mobile device.

Suddenly, Central will find itself with a very simple method of information dissemination. Students would be connected the way they want to be connected, not the way CCSU imagines it. The school could become a little bit more solid, and with a little bit less of that “commuter school” reputation. It is absolutely possible, and immediately implement-able, all at the cost of, perhaps, a student intern to manage the system.

I think I might know someone perfect for the job.

 

-Alex Jarvis, Special to The Recorder

One Shot Too Many

Political cartoons have been a unique part of American history. Last week, a cartoonist for the New York Post walked a tight rope that has drawn national attention.

Sean Delonas illustrated two current events together, one being the chimpanzee attack in Stamford, Conn. and the other, the recently- approved economic stimulus package.

As you may have seen, a picture tells a thousand words. The cartoon shows two police officers with their weapons drawn and a recently shotdead monkey, with one cop commenting, “They’ll have to find someone else to write our next stimulus bill.”

What would possess a person to have that published? This picture draws a fine line between racism and a political ploy. During an economic crisis like the one this country is facing today combined with an unfortunate wild animal attack could there be a real message behind this illustration.

The newspaper has stood by the columnist entirely. They even went as far as calling out the outspoken African-American activist Al Sharpton who was outraged by this cartoon. The fact that Mr. Obama is part African- American and is the President of this country spells out public backlash – all they had to do was compare him to a monkey and mention his stimulus package.

This controversy has raised new questions of racism in our world. The media is a very powerful tool and when people say or draw whatever they want it can be dangerous. People are going to have their own opinions and interpretations, but linking the President of the United States to his ethnic background in a derogatory way is indeed one shot too many, even if it wasn’t intentional. A dark cloud will certainly loom over the head of this cartoonist because of his lack of judgment and inability to relate to current events in an appropriate way.

His defense was that Congress is on a wild spending spree, and it has become an animal that has gone out of control. It does relate exactly to the mauling by a chimpanzee in Connecticut, but that doesn’t make it justified. In a nation that has overcome the extremes of segregation and Jim Crow laws, no one in their right mind should draw the comparisons in such a manner that was done last Wednesday.

Obviously the right decision wasn’t made and the public has been critical in a lot of ways. The satirical approach to political cartons has been deeply diminished over time. There have been wide debates on this issue and the involvement of race relations in itself is a risk.

The repercussions of this drawing are yet to be seen. Whatever they are, they can’t change the damage already done. This cartoon has offended a wide variety of people on many different levels. Hopefully this will be a lesson learned in moving forward.

Whether you’re a freelance writer, cartoonist, a professional or citizen journalist, always think about the content of the words and pictures intended for publication. The challenges and problems facing this country are real.

There’s no need for cartoonists to put in their two cents in a way that is sure to spark outrage.

 

-Dan Dinunzio, Special to The Recorder

Sexting is Stupid, but Not Criminal

Six Massachusetts middle school students are facing possible child pornography charges after sending a nude photo of a female classmate on their cell phones. If convicted, they would be forced to register as sex offenders.

One of the boys, age 13, took a nude picture of his girlfriend and then proceeded to send it to his friends. When school officials became aware of what was going on, the boys were immediately reported to the principal, who then confiscated the cell phones and then reported the incident to the police.

The six boys will now be forced to attend a hearing to determine if they should be charged with possessing, distributing and exhibiting child pornography. These boys acted distastefully and immaturely, but should they be branded as sex offenders for the rest of their lives?

The intent of child pornography laws is to prevent perverted adults from exploiting children, and these boys were clearly not attempting to do this. As it is, the girlfriend allowed the boy to take a picture of her.

Occasionally the legal system loses sight of common sense. That explains why robbers are able to sue you if they get hurt when stealing something from inside of your home. Americans need to take a step back and use some common sense in this situation. These boys are not sex offenders or child pornographers but products of an overly sexual society, who simply decided to ogle over a classmate.

Unfortunately this phenomena known as “sexting” has become somewhat of an epidemic. According to a national survey conducted by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, about 20 percent of teens admitted to participating in “sexting”.

The survey also found that 22 percent of teen girls have taken part in “sexting”. As evidenced by this recent case, girls need to realize that “sexted” images often get distributed to a much wider audience than the intended viewers. This statistic is somewhat troubling as well as telling of the culture that we live in.

It is time to smarten up. An underdeveloped frontal lobe is not excuse to abandon all foresight. In the age of the Internet, these types of pictures will remain in circulation forever.

Unless you plan on becoming the next Paris Hilton, or feel that your future boss seeing you naked will help increase your chances of being hired, take the smart route and don’t give naked pictures of yourself to anyone. Boyfriends can become ex-boyfriends quickly, and many times break-ups can cause people to do nasty things like revealing personal pictures that were meant to be private.

As college students, we are the leaders of our generation. We cannot let promiscuity define us and we cannot allow explicitly sexual behavior to appear at such early ages. Legally, there should be no consequences for such actions, but we must reevaluate what defines appropriate behavior as our cultural standards of decency continue to decline.

-Shauna Simeone, Asst. Opinion Editor