To the editor:

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Mar 312005

I believe the SAFER Choice organization is moving in the wrong direction with its campaign. The executive director is quoted saying, "Our mission is to educate people in Colorado about the consequences of alcohol (use) by having policies that punish marijuana use; it steers kids towards using alcohol."

If your mission is to educate the people of Colorado about the consequences of alcohol use, then educate them. But please do not drive, coerce or influence people toward using marijuana as a substitute. Especially working toward making marijuana usage more attractive. That is a poor decision.

The problem of alcohol abuse is being covered up. It's necessary to solve the problem of alcohol abuse first. That is SAFER Choice's job. One of the problems is how easy it is to obtain alcohol if you are an underage drinker.

It would be wiser to raise the penalties of underage drinking to equal those of the use or possession of marijuana. Though alcoholism is a gigantic problem in itself, the use of marijuana is a gateway to drugs and problems that in comparison dwarf those of alcoholism.

People ("kids") are not weighing the consequences of alcohol compared to the consequences of marijuana use in deciding which substance to abuse. Drinking is more popular, it's cheaper and it's easier to obtain. There are more effective ways out there to deter the use of alcohol, but the solution to the problem does not lie within reducing university marijuana penalties.

Ryan Walker

Community member

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

To the Editor:

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Mar 312005

Thursday's articles on the "legacy of Cesar Chavez" ignore an important part of his legacy, namely his active opposition to illegal immigration.

Chavez often organized pickets of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to demand stricter enforcement of immigration laws. Columnist Ruben Navarette, Jr., called him "as effective a surrogate for the INS as ever existed. Indeed, Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union he headed routinely reported, to the INS, for deportation, suspected illegal immigrants who served as strikebreakers or refused to unionize."

Philip Martin, the author of "Promise Unfulfilled: Unions, Immigration, and Farm Workers" notes that the UFW "posted 'wet patrols' on the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent unauthorized Mexicans from replacing strikers. The UFW was only partially successful: Chavez complained that 'employers go to Mexico and have unlimited, unrestricted use of illegal alien strikebreakers to break the strike.'"

Chavez was entirely correct – illegal immigration undermines unions and lowers wages. My recent book, "The Impact of Immigration on African Americans," summarizes the evidence that confirms this common-sense proposition.

In our enthusiasm for multicultural homilies, let us not distort the historical record. The legacy of Cesar Chavez is primarily about the labor movement, not ethnic identity. If we are to emulate Cesar Chavez, as our local purveyors of identity politics encourage us to do, then we should oppose amnesties for illegal immigrants and demand stricter enforcement of immigration laws in order to protect American workers.


Steven Shulman

Professor of Economics

 Posted by at 6:00 pm


 Uncategorized  Comments Off on RamTalk
Mar 312005

I don't think I ever really want to know what is in Miracle Whip. It might taste less good then.

I think Dale Layer is the one who needs to pack his bags and get out of town before more players end up transferring. Good luck to Stephen Verwers and Phillip Thomasson. Hopefully you kick ass wherever you end up playing.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm


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Mar 312005
Authors: Collegian Editorial Staff

Spring is in the air, and with the warming weather comes an inundation of pamphlets, trinkets and candy from the presidential/vice presidential candidates of the Associated Students of CSU.

Yes, ASCSU election time is here once again. Candidates have been competing for students' attention on campus all week, and they will continue doing so throughout the voting period, which starts Monday at 8 a.m. and ends on Wednesday.

Students can log onto their RAMweb accounts during normal operating hours to vote for the incoming president, vice president and senators of CSU.

While students may see the hype around elections as propaganda, it is important for everyone to let their voices be heard. ASCSU is the primary source of communication between students, faculty and administration as well as the community. The members of ASCSU work hard so that the students have a say in what goes on on university's campus and the Fort Collins community.

We encourage every student to participate in this year's elections. The winning candidates will be representatives of the student body; therefore, it is important to let them know how they can serve you.

Take the time out of your busy college schedules to learn about the candidates and their platforms. It is worth the effort to log on to RAMweb and vote. Then you'll know that you had a say in the leadership of the student body.

Remember, these future leaders will be representing YOUR views on issues directly affecting our campus and community. Learn about the candidates and VOTE!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

Taxes can be fun

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Mar 312005
Authors: Gavin McMeeking

It is a sad, lonely fact of this often cruel world that there are times when one feels such despair, such hopelessness, that it's tough to go on. I frequently find myself in this dark place when, for reasons I won't get into, "American Idol" is on the television where I live or when I break a shoelace first thing in the morning. I'll admit these may not be as bad as waking up to find the head of a horse in your bed, but I live a simple life.

Nevertheless, to fight my bouts of what my court-appointed psychologist, Dr. Cookie, calls "depression" I usually try to look for something fun or positive to look forward to that helps me get through the bad times. This is important because as brain scientists have shown, depression can lead to drugs, alcohol or annoying your roommates. Of course, the dangers of the first two vices listed is that, with proper treatment, they can often lead to a reformed life of dedication to the powers of good, harmony with God and eventual salvation, and in the case of the third to having to move.

I wish drugs and alcohol and annoying my roommates were enough to get me over the hump when I'm in my "unhappy place," but I am unable to afford an addiction to either and I really don't want to move. It makes me tired, and I don't like that. Instead I turn to another common cure for depression that is dependable, reliable, free – sort of – and oh so enjoyable: filing my federal income tax return.

I can't tell you the number of times I've turned away from the railing of the 600-foot-high bridge over the alligator-infested waters of the Cache la Poudre River realizing at the last moment that my 1040 remained un-filed. "Wow," I say to myself, "I can't believe I thought of doing something so wasteful and stupid. Here I am thinking I have nothing to look forward to in life and there are adjusted gross incomes to be calculated, deductions to be itemized and retirement savings contributions credits to be claimed." But we've all been there, so I don't feel quite so stupid.

Yes, as they say, taxes, like Christmas and death, are the only certainties in this world, and boy do I love them all. OK, I should probably clarify that it's not so much taxes that I love, since they take the money I would spend on drugs and alcohol and give it to poor people who spend it on health care, college, food, drugs and alcohol, but rather it is the actual tax return that holds the key to my heart.

It is really impossible to list all of the reasons why the federal tax return is so cool without using up 4 billion sheets of paper, but I'll try. For one thing, there's variety. The IRS has so many different tax forms that I've heard they are inventing their own advanced system of numbers, similar to the base-six system that was developed in ancient Babylonia. In the meantime, they come up with other names for their countless forms, such as "schedule" and "publication" and "form." You've got your 1040, the 1040EZ or when you are feeling saucy there's the Holy Grail: the 1040A.

In addition, all of the IRS forms are simple to read, understand and complete accurately. I admit, my first time I accidentally ended up declaring that I was a blind veteran with 14 children, all of whom owned farms, but I was nervous. It was still a fantastic experience, though, and all my older friends told me I wouldn't enjoy my first time. Such losers.

The best thing about the IRS tax-return forms is that they are totally free. Man, if the IRS only knew what it was giving away. I'll let you in on a secret. If you go to you can download ALL the 1040 forms you want as many times as you want. You can even distribute them to your friends. It's better than pornography.

Finally, the tax forms are so easy to understand. I only have a master's degree and I can figure out almost a 10th of the stuff on my tax forms. I am so jealous of those Ph.D.'s and Certified Public Accountants-the vast majority of Americans-who read the tax forms like Picasso envisions a painting or Jessica Simpson sings a song. For example, in Publication 551 (Basis of Assets): 'If you incur a business meal expense for which your deduction would be limited to 50 percent of the cost of the meal, that amount is subject to uniform capitalization rules.' Ah, what poetry.

So the next time your dog dies, your car breaks down or the Rams lose a football game, make sure you remember that you can always turn to the government and that agency of mental health, the IRS.

Gavin McMeeking is a graduate atmospheric science major. His column runs every Friday in the Collegian.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

ASCSU office keeps busy during elections

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Mar 312005
Authors: Cari Merrill

It is election time at CSU and students are being bombarded with campaign information, while the Associated Students of CSU's office is a campaign-neutral zone with students performing on less sleep, more stress.

Whether it is the pamphlets handed out on the Lory Student Center Plaza or the massive signs located around Fort Collins, some may think there seems to be no escape from president/vice president signs for the two tickets – Chris Hutchins /Nicholette Andrews and Courtney Stephens/Jon Muller.

The office for the ASCSU, located in the student center, is officially a campaign-neutral zone. Once stepping a foot inside the door, election talk must halt. Any material related to the elections is banned from the office, said Cord Brundage, interim executive special assistant to the ASCSU president.

"This is a campaign-neutral zone so one of the most exciting things that happens is that everybody who comes into the office to do their work also has to pull off their shirts and throw on new shirts," Brundage said. "They check their pockets when they pull out a pen or a pencil to make sure it's not any election pen or election pencil."

Years ago, students came up with the idea of making the ASCSU office, the Association for Student Activity Programming (ASAP) and the senate chambers campaign-neutral zones during elections in order to remain objective from student's campaigns.

The office rule is especially crucial this year with the two candidates on the ticket both having involvement in ASCSU.

"Things are a little more tense, especially this year," said ASCSU Elections Manager Brian Hardouin. "Two of the campaigns are members of ASCSU and everyone kind of chooses sides and really puts all of their passion into it. So they really gut it out for the two and a half weeks of campaigning,"

While the candidates are battling on the Plaza and around campus, the ASCSU office remains busy.

"It makes it a little bit more fast-paced throughout the day. You end up having some later evenings," Brundage said. "It ends up being more than what you do on an average December week."

Spending limits took a dive this election year but that does not mean the competition will be any less fierce. Individual campaigns are now allowed to spend $2,000 to get their name out as opposed to last year's cap at $3000.

"You won't see the big showboating," Hardouin said.

The mayhem will eventually subside and the office will return to normal a few weeks after the election, Hardouin said.

Amid the stress, Brundage still considers election time to be the best time of year for the ASCSU office because the students really get involved.

"We have put on a lot of programs, we do a lot of outreach via the FYI but in terms of actually being out there and pursuing students and student input, it is the most active," Brundage said. "(It's) definitely most active almost to a breaking point. Students here miss classes unbelievably much during election period. Students are getting two or three hours of sleep during election period. People are pushing themselves in election period well beyond what is the healthy level to push themselves in order to reach as many students as they can. But at the same time we are actually trying to reach students."

While students are pushing themselves to the limit, ASCSU Adviser Mari Strombom tries to help the students as much as possible by acting as a resource. She is able to offer connections for the members of ASCSU to talk with people on campus.

"My primary focus is to help the students of ASCSU to be the best they can be," Strombom said.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

Officers ticket RamRide passengers, unaware of program

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Mar 312005
Authors: Jake Blumberg

A Fort Collins police officer ticketed three students for underage drinking this weekend after approaching a stopped RamRide vehicle for a possible minor traffic violation.

The students were stopped at a RamRide drop-off point early Sunday morning southwest of CSU's campus, and were given alcohol-consumption tickets, a police official confirmed Wednesday.

The incident has incensed one of the students, who believed the Associated Students of CSU-sponsored safe-ride program was supported by the police.

"I feel completely disrespected and taken advantage of as a college student at CSU," said Stephanie Gibbs, one of the riders. "I couldn't believe it was happening. I took RamRide home because it was a safe ride home."

Officer Todd Hopkins told RamRide driver Brian Hardouin, the director of the program, that he had never heard of RamRide.

This officer is not the only Fort Collins Police Services employee who is unaware of RamRide, said police spokesperson Rita Davis.

"Some people in the department are aware of the program, some are not. Apparently the officer involved was one who was unaware of the program," Davis said. She said she was also unaware of RamRide's existence

However, Hardouin said he assumed that RamRide's existence was known throughout the department at this point, considering how much involvement the department had with RamRide's creation.

"We had to work with CSU and Fort Collins police departments," Hardouin said. "At the beginning of the year we worked with Fort Collins PD on the risk management at Hughes Stadium, and had RamRide at the stadium. We assumed that it had filtered down through the department. I was not aware they didn't know about it."

In addition to Hardouin saying he thought the police knew about RamRide, Police Chief Dennis Harrison was on the CSU Alcohol Task Force made a recommendation to CSU President Larry Penley in early October regarding RamRide. Recommendation 3.7 stated the task force would "support RamRide policy changes in order to append and enhance the service for Colorado State students and to secure it long term," according to the task force's Web site

In response, Davis said it is for difficult for all members of an organization to know what their leader's stance is on all issues, using the analogy that not all members of the CSU community know exactly where Penley stands on all issues.

At approximately 2:46 a.m. Sunday, the police officer noticed a vehicle pulled over at a no-parking red curb near 1100 W. Swallow Road. While the vehicle was pulled over to allow passengers to exit, the officer pulled behind the vehicle and approached the car.

The officer came up to the car because it was parked illegally, and when the officer noticed an individual "slumped over" in the back seat, he approached the driver's side window, Davis said.

"I rolled down the window, and the officer began to inquire about who was in the car, if I knew them personally," Hardouin said. "I told the officer that I didn't know the people in the car, because I was driving for RamRide. The officer said he did not know what RamRide was and began to question the individuals in the car."

Gibbs, a political science major, said the officer inquired if anyone in the car had been drinking.

"I had no reason to lie, so I said yes to the cop, that I had been drinking," she said. "He then asked us if we had ID, if we were of legal drinking age. He was also worried about my friend in the backseat who had had too much to drink."

The police officer then requested that Gibbs' friend exit the vehicle to perform a few maneuvers in order to prove he was not in any medical distress and did not need medical attention, Davis said.

After concluding the individual's welfare was not in danger, the officer proceeded to issue Gibbs and the two other passengers minor in possession of alcohol citations, Davis said. Gibbs said there was no alcohol in the vehicle.

The two other ticketed individuals declined an interview after speaking with legal counsel.

RamRide is a program that has been providing safe, nonjudgmental rides for CSU students since its inception in October 2003, according to RamRide's Web site. RamRide will only provide a ride back to a person's home; it never will transport a person to a party, bar or club.

Although Davis said some officers do not know about RamRide, ASCSU Vice President Ben Goldstein feels that Fort Collins police and RamRide official have a "great working relationship."

"They really support the program through and through," said Goldstein, who was ASCSU director of student services last year.

Despite a lack of awareness about the RamRide program, Davis said FCPS fully supports the idea of a safe-ride program.

"We support the concept of RamRide fully, but that does not give people immunity from the law regarding underage drinking," Davis said.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

Series of events help students appreciate Colorado’s natural resources

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Mar 312005
Authors: Justin Jarvis

Tim Thompson, a recently retired deputy chief of the National Forest System, and the Colorado State Forest Service were both recognized this week as a part of Natural Resources Days.

Natural Resources Days, which occurred Monday through today, is a celebration put on by the College of Natural Resources to recognize the value of Colorado's environment.

"The overall purpose of Natural Resource Days is to celebrate the spectacular resources in Colorado and to celebrate the people and programs in the college who are passionate about the future health of natural resources," said Joyce Berry, dean of the College of Natural Resources.

Berry presented Thompson with a plaque for his lifelong leadership and dedication to the health and sustainability of our nation's national forests.

Bill Wilcox, director of the Colorado State Forest Service, also accepted a plaque on behalf of the Colorado State Forest Service in recognition of its 50th anniversary.

A variety of student-planned activities took place on the Lory Student Center Plaza all week, including music by Head For the Hills, who played on the Plaza Monday.

"Everybody involved in our band is in Natural Resources. We definitely want to support the college of Natural Resources and their mission," said Matt Loewen, a Natural Resource student and Head For the Hills band member.

Today, 3 Peas will perform music as part of Natural Resources Days.

Jim Schmidt, a senior forestry major, said different clubs from the college came out during this week to explain what they do.

"It gives other students an understanding of what we do and what Natural Resources is all about," he said.

Natural Resources Days are a long-standing tradition of the College of Natural Resources, Berry said.

"It's one of our longest traditions. I think it started in the 1940s, when we had a tug-of-war with the engineering college and that led to more formal activities," she said.

The College of Natural Resources strives to be leaders in education and conservation of natural resources, Berry said.

"Our vision, overall, is to help create a better environmental world," Berry said. "Our mission is to provide excellence in teaching, research, and service that leads to conservation and enhancement of natural resources for well-being of natural and human communities."

Berry highlighted the distinctiveness of the College of Natural Resources.

"We are unique at this university, in the ways our programs affect natural resources worldwide," Berry said. "We want Natural Resource Days to give students a sense of how fortunate we all are to have the benefits natural resources provide. We are all concerned about getting a healthy future and it will take everybody's effort in our lives to accomplish that."

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

Marijuana referendum makes its way onto ASCSU ballot

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Mar 312005
Authors: Megan Schulz, Lila Hickey

Supporters of SAFER Choice gathered on the Lory Student Center Plaza Thursday morning to celebrate the addition of a marijuana referendum to the Associated Students of CSU ballot for the upcoming April 4 through April 6 elections.

"This is a very symbolic measure," said Mason Tvert, SAFER Choice executive director. "Ethically, the school has a vested health interest in its students and should be doing everything it can to make sure they are safe."

SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) Choice, a nonprofit organization funded by a private donor, has been trying to extend the values that marijuana use should have parallel punishments to alcohol use on campus. It has also pushed the values and initiatives to the University of Colorado-Boulder.

The success of getting the referendum on the ballot does not constitute enforcement of the policies. The students were able to make an audible statement that will debut on the ballots Monday. If it succeeds at the polls it will then be passed to the university's administration for consideration.

Some T-shirts that said "Party Organically" were given away at the rally.

"There is no doubt in anyone's mind that alcohol is a more acceptable form of recreation on campus," Tvert said. "They should not consider marijuana more severe than alcohol just because it is illegal."

An anonymous individual informally requested that the signatures collected for the referendum be verified, so ASCSU Elections Committee members began verifying the signatures. The committee would have exceeded the ballot referendum deadline to verify all 2,421 signatures on the petition one by one. Because of this deadline, the individual decided not to formally contest the signatures, and the verification process was stopped.

The Referendum for Marijuana Policy Reform at CSU will be on the ASCSU ballot, which will be available Monday through Wednesday for students to vote on RAMWeb.

"Monday is the first day of registration," said Redavid, a junior liberal arts major. "We're hoping students who visit RAMWeb to register will take time out to vote."

At least 10 percent of the CSU student body has to vote in the election in order for it to be valid. Last year, a record-setting 24 percent of the student body voted, said Nic Redavid, assistant director of public relations and deputy elections manager at ASCSU.

When asked if she thinks the referendum will pass, SAFER Choice student campaign manager Zana Buttermore-Baca had a positive outlook.

"We just need a majority of the vote," said Buttermore-Baca, a freshman sports medicine major. "I think even students who don't smoke (marijuana) will vote for us."

Buttermore-Baca said she joined SAFER Choice because she thinks it is a good cause and wanted to volunteer for something in which she believed.

ASCSU elections will begin Monday at 8 a.m.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

Salazar’s journey to CSU filled with triumphs, struggles

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Mar 312005
Authors: Daniel Linn

Guadalupe Salazar would have marched with Cesar Chavez if she had been able to.

She, too, experienced exactly how challenges can shape the future, and she marched against incredible odds – in a cap and gown.

Salazar is the director of El Centro Student Services, CSU's advocacy office for the recruitment, retention, graduation and cultural pride of Latinos/Hispanics. Born into a migrant fieldworker family in Texas, Salazar helped her parents and siblings work in various crop fields across the Southwest.

Salazar recalls her father hauling produce with his truck and her mother and nine other siblings working the fields.

"My father was very adamant about the children learning the value of hard work," Salazar said.

Salazar's family labored in locations such as Florida, Colorado, Texas and Nebraska. In addition to suffering through frequent moves, her mother worked the cotton fields while raising children, literally carrying both at once.

"I remember her sharing stories about her out there in the cotton fields with two little girls in a carriage," Salazar said. "If you've ever seen people carrying cotton, you'll notice the sack is really long and you have to drag it."

A normal day consisted of her mother waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. to make tortillas for breakfast. Salazar and her family would then go out to the fields around 5 a.m.

Salazar said her day was often filled with educational opportunities.

"There's a lot of education when you're out in the field. My father would tell me, 'You need this many rows for an acre.' You get paid by rows and acres," Salazar said.

Her family traveled to Florida, where they lived in a migrant camp with races separated into different locations. Her mother became unable to work the cotton fields because of asthma, so her father became the family's main provider.

During his father's trips between Texas and Florida, Salazar recalls him being told not to stop in a certain Georgia town.

"He was told to make sure that prior to that town he had enough gasoline, there was enough food with him, because my father took workers with him," Salazar said.

She remembers asking him why they had to be careful where they went.

"I always asked questions and I got into a lot of trouble as a little girl. When we stopped I saw signs that no Mexicans were allowed," Salazar said. "I always asked my father why we have to go to the other restaurants for colored people. He just told me to be quiet. 'Quiete' he would say to me in Spanish, which basically meant to shut up. And he would say that that was how things were."

As Salazar grew older, she took on more household responsibilities, such as memorizing her mother's shopping list when her father and her went to the store, washing laundry and helping raise her siblings. Salazar attributes her work ethic and education to her parents.

"They had an incredible common sense," Salazar said.

Salazar remembers her third-grade teacher telling her she would never amount to anything because of her race, and all she would ever do is work in the fields.

"I was confused, because I wasn't from Mexico. I was born here in the United States," Salazar said. "As far as I knew, Texas was still a part of the United States."

As Salazar continued to grow in her education, she learned about Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr. and the work they did for civil rights.

"Everything started to come together about the racism in this country," Salazar said.

Salazar came to school in Colorado where she received her General Education Degree in 10 weeks.

"That was my ammunition," Salazar said.

She attended Aims Community College and received a legal secretary degree. This was a field a school counselor told her would be a good profession for "her type."

Although graduating with a 3.8 grade point average, Salazar recalls not being satisfied with her degree.

"I said, 'You know, Aims doesn't have a cap and gown.' And that cap and gown was what I wanted, so I enrolled at (The University of Northern Colorado)."

UNC counselors recommended teaching or social work, but Salazar chose a business degree because of concern about supporting her children.

Salazar had trouble her first semester and remembers being shocked to tears when she first saw her grades.

But she graduated from UNC with degrees in business and Spanish.

"I had the cap and gown, the children were there, my youngest brother was there, my mother was there, she was very ill, and my father was there, and they were so proud," Salazar said with tears in her eyes. "I wouldn't trade that moment for anything in the world. It was a wonderful gift that I could give to him. And then I wanted a master's."

Salazar's children now have college degrees and careers, and her grandchildren are talking about college.

"Everything I have done, everything my parents have done, it has all paid off. And now I want a doctorate. I want to be Dr. Guadalupe Salazar," she said.

Salazar said although she looks forward to her retirement years, she still wants to continue her education. She wants to learn more about technology, the human body and how to "age gracefully."

"I am living proof that 'my type' can do it," Salazar said.

Through Salazar's many years of trial and success, people who work with her in the El Centro office have felt the effects.

Bianca Garcia, a sophomore psychology student, said her parents brought her to El Centro because they thought the resources would be valuable to her.

"She's always willing to help anyone," Garcia said. "She's very approachable."

Shirley Guitron, an administrator for El Centro, said Salazar helped her learn to see things from different perspectives.

"She's taught me a great deal about diversity and meeting students' needs," Guitron said.

She said Salazar has everyone's best interest f at heart and a wonderful sense of humor.

"She keeps you going," Guitron said.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm