Our View

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Nov 292006
 
Authors:

President Larry Penley and ASCSU are pushing diversity as the next big thing.

We agree. But we believe most people have forgotten what diversity means.

Most seem to mistake it for simple race, sex, religion or sexual orientation. If 3,000 Latinos were to enroll tomorrow, would that make us diverse? Of course it would, according to numbers the state would release.

But let’s pretend these 3,000 fictional Latinos were all from the same country, shared the same customs and experienced the same socioeconomic conditions. Numbers wouldn’t take that into account.

Diversity is something that cannot be measured. It’s an education of its own, for which there really isn’t a suitable test. It’s how you feel when you walk into a room full of people who are different from you.

And it’s how you react to the one different person who walks into a room full of your friends.

Requiring cultural sensitivity classes and playing the numbers game might be a good place to start, for sure. It sets the stage for learning. But ultimately, it’s up to students to take a leap and feel uncomfortable for a while for learning’s sake.

So keep an eye on those numbers. They might give some indication as to the university’s growing cultural mix over the next few years. But the more elusive measurement is the acceptance of our graduates.

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To the Editor:

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Nov 292006
 
Authors:

Tancredo’s comments were inflammatory

Congressman Tom Tancredo said Monday that visiting Miami is like

visiting a third-world country, lamenting the fact that much business is done in Spanish and people enjoy their Latino heritage. His spokesman said Miami is “as bad as any ghetto in any Third World country” for these reasons.

Since the congressman and his staff omit discussion of Texas’ German population, Pennsylvania’s Amish population or California’s sizable Asian population it’s easy to see the nature of his concern.

Tancredo’s assault on the immigrant population of the United States

has nothing to do with national security or economics or values. Instead, the congressman’s assault on the immigrant population of the United States finds its root in his racism and xenophobia.

Tom Tancredo is an embarrassment to the state of Colorado and the Republican Party.

Robert Wade

senior

economics

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Scientific progress goes “thud”

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Daniel GibsonReinemer

In a thousand years, the human race will be a lot prettier. Women will have perky breasts and great hair, and the men will be square-jawed baritones with larger penises.

Those are the predictions of Dr. Timothy Curry, a research associate at the London School of Economics specializing in the evolution of human behavior and morality. (It should be noted Dr. Curry’s theories were prepared for Bravo, an English television channel that bills itself as “a televisual broadcaster for the modern gentleman.” Bravo’s Web site has plenty of examples of what the breasts of the future might look like.)

Moving forward one hundred thousand years, Dr. Curry predicts humans will split into two sub-species: one smart, tall and athletic, the other dim-witted, short and ugly. The driving force behind this divergence is mate selection – choosing reproductive partners on the basis of traits we find attractive.

It’s a troubling thought, perhaps more on account of shoddy science than the moral implications. Most scientists would probably agree that the public has a poor grasp of basic science and that we need to do a better job of communicating ideas and advances in a range of disciplines. Unfortunately, Dr. Curry’s thoughts on the evolution of human sexual selection seem more likely to create misconceptions than educate.

The idea that humans select partners based on their attractiveness is nothing new, but there are some key problems that need to be addressed. Dr. Curry suggests that IQ and sexy features are all that really matter in mating. Indeed, he predicts that in roughly ten millennia, our reliance on technology will make our descendants so socially inept that love will essentially cease to exist. Basic biological urges would seem to be all that matter.

Yet our attraction to the opposite sex at the most basic levels may be more unconscious and less prurient than we think. In a highly cited paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London in 1995, Dr. Claus Wedekind and others provided evidence that our noses may be more important than our eyes in choosing mates. When presented with only a T-shirt a member of the opposite sex had worn for two nights, men and women were more attracted to the T-shirts of people who had an immune system different from their own. Mating with such a person would confer greater health in the resulting offspring.

As Dr. Wedekind and coauthors reported, “One substantial benefit of sexual reproduction could be that it allows animals (including humans) to react rapidly to a continuously changing environmental selection pressure such as coevolving parasites” – hardly pillow talk.

Even if we ignore emotion, our ideas of what is attractive have more to do with health and fitness than phallus size and the degree to which women are hairless from the neck down. For instance, in a world where air quality is increasingly poor and severe health consequences can result, we might expect people to select as mates those who are less affected by smog. One trait that may be selected in such a situation could be a dense thicket of nose hair to keep particles from entering our lungs combined with copious amounts of flowing mucus to flush them out.

There are plenty of ways to communicate, effectively and accurately, the principles of sexual selection to a male audience – footage of clashing rams and elk locking antlers, for example. If Dr. Curry were interested in educating the public, charismatic mammals would have been a wiser choice.

Thankfully, the scientific community has responded in a public forum. For a good response from an expert, read geneticist Steve Jones’ piece in the London Daily Telegraph. While it won’t make your IQ leap or give you chiseled abs, you will be a small bit more informed and knowledgeable of the world around you.

And some folks still think that’s an attractive trait.

Daniel Gibson-Reinemer is a fishery and wildlife biology masters student. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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To Serve and Protect

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Anne Farrell

The long arm of the law has gone too far.

Early Sunday morning, Sean Bell, a 23-year-old groom, was shot and killed the very day he was to be married.

Fifty shots were fired at Bell and his companions as they left a strip club in Queens, N.Y., where the men had been celebrating the upcoming nuptials. Investigations are still ongoing to determine if the officers involved in the incident had used excessive force.

The purpose of law enforcement is to serve and protect, but just who exactly was being protected by these actions?

I find it terribly hard to believe that there is any reason for such extreme measures to be taken against unarmed citizens. Generally I am not the type of person who questions the police. I respect the authority they have and know they do the best they can to protect the citizens they serve. However, in this situation it makes me wonder if the best they can do is really enough.

From what has been released to the public one possibility for this confrontation is that Bell was trying to evade the police and in the process crashed into an unmarked police minivan.

Considering that several of the officers had been in plain clothes at the time of the incident, how could he know who was shooting at him in the first place and why wouldn’t he run at that point?

Organizations such as the COPS Office, a part of the U.S. Department of Justice, promote police integrity in hopes of building trust between police and their communities. In 2003 the COPS office expanded the Creating a Culture of Integrity program to fund four law enforcement agencies in developing large-scale police integrity projects.

Events like this limit the public trust of police agencies and therefore limit their ability to protect the community. Police officers with a “God complex” need to be investigated and stripped of authority to prevent unnecessary confrontations.

Authority should be established through trust, not fear, and police departments need to find ways to hold themselves accountable before extreme events take place.

Possibly the shooting of Sean Bell was a mistake in judgment, but how many mistakes in judgment must happen before something is changed?

Anne Farrell is a junior technical journalism major. Her column appears every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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US spending on aid un-American

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Luci StorelliCastro

This Christmas, Americans plan to be spending money – and lots of it. According to a Gallup poll conducted this November, a third of adults nationwide (34 percent) estimate that they will be spending $1,000 or more this holiday season. The mean expenditure for the average American adult is set at $826. One need not even be a Christian to be spending cash by the truck loads. In fact, the poll found that the less religious segment of society tends to spend $53 more on Christmas gifts than its religious counterpart.

What do these Christmas stats tell us? Well, for some, these figures are alarming, indicative of a culture infatuated with materialism. The Tickle-Me-Elmo mania comes to mind, which occurred a couple of Christmases ago and saw mothers nationwide storming toy stores like a pack of wolves.

More than anything, however, I would argue that the spirit of giving that prevails during Christmas time is reflective of American generosity. This generosity can be experienced in everyday life situations and is embodied in organizations like Rotary International, the Fulbright Program, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Heifer International and the ONE campaign, among others.

Given that Americans tend to be generous and caring individuals, an assessment of what our country spends on international aid leads me to the conclusion that our government is not doing the American ethos’ justice. While studies show that Americans believe 15 percent of our federal budget is going toward aid, in actuality only 0.15 percent has been allocated for aid.

A breakdown of the 0.15 percent we spend on aid is revealing of what little effect our contribution to eradicating world poverty is having. As economist Jeffrey Sachs observes, in 2002, U.S. aid to Africa amounted to $3 per every Sub-Saharan African. If we subtract money spent to hire U.S. consultants, provide emergency aid, cover administrative costs and give debt relief, U.S. aid totaled 6 cents per African. That’s enough to buy six miniature Tootsie Rolls at the Fort Collins High School snack shop – certainly not enough to help Africans reach the first rung of economic development.

At the forefront of a movement geared toward increasing U.S. international aid is the ONE campaign. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity of interviewing Ben Bleckley, a volunteer for this campaign who helps organize different ONE events in Fort Collins.

Bleckley emphasized that the purpose of ONE is to advocate more and better aid. “We are not about throwing money at governments,” Bleckley assured me.

Far from being just another charitable organization, ONE seeks to increase U.S. aid to 1 percent ($25 billion) while, at the same time, making sure that money is spent more effectively. Bleckley pointed out that, “although the $10 billion the U.S. spends on aid seems like a lot of money, most of those funds are going to sending American college professors to Africa to tell [Africans] how to fix a problem.”

As part of its initiative, ONE has been in collaboration with a coalition of 100 groups, such as UNICEF and Bread for the World. Moreover, Bleckley shared insight on the various routes ONE has taken in advocating for more and better aid funding. Primarily, ONE seeks to raise awareness amongst the general public and actively lobbies for certain policies, such as funding the Global Fund and supporting the Millennium Challenge Account.

Bleckley mentioned that the number of deaths resulting from global poverty is equivalent to a tsunami every week. This could be avoided, of course, if the American government would take the lead in investing more money toward aid. In increasing aid funding, “we don’t have to sacrifice our way of life,” Bleckley stressed.

I would agree, adding that by not increasing aid, we are ultimately disregarding an important part of the American way of life, which comes in the form of generosity and compassion.

Luci Storelli-Castro is a junior political science and philosophy major. Her column runs every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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Snow causes crashes, irks students

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Geoff Johnson

Through a steady haze of falling snow and his own breath, Joel Stanczyk trudged down Whitcomb Street on Tuesday night from campus to his car, parked just north of Myrtle Street.

With an inch or two of snow on the ground, Stanczyk said he’d probably wake up a little earlier than usual Wednesday morning.

“Based on the weather forecast, I’ll probably allow for some ice-scraping time,” he said.

Only a few blocks away, though, just west where Sherwood and Laurel streets meet, one CSU student’s thoughts were on what to do about his newly wrecked car.

The student, who didn’t want to be named in the paper, said his head-on, driver-to driver collision on Laurel happened when the car he collided with started sliding across the double-yellow lines.

“This was definitely weather-related,” the student said, agitated. “I don’t want to be in (the Collegian) for this.”

He added, “I’ve got no witty comments.”

Acting Company Officer Ronald Simms of the Poudre Fire Authority, among others, responded to the crash. Of any injuries sustained by those involved, he said, “It’s nothing major.”

He added that while the winter weather does often contribute to accidents, typically lower driving speeds make it so the crashes “usually don’t amount to much (in the way of injuries).”

Sliding his foot on the sidewalk of an apartment building adjacent to the crash, Simms said, “as you can see, it’s (very slippery).”

Since 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the Fort Collins Police Department has responded to 47 accidents across the city, FCPD records manager Susan Neiman said Wednesday morning.

On campus, though, Outdoor Services tries to make things a little easier on those trying to make it to class or work on particularly snowy days.

Doug Nagel, manager of outdoor services, said the average annual budget for snow removal is about $70 thousand. He added, though, that the snow removal doesn’t stop if that budget is exceeded.

“We spend what we have to,” Nagel said. “We cut back in other areas if need be, to do the snow removal.”

Nagel also said there is a three-tier priority system for on-campus snow removal.

First priorities include major campus arteries like Meridian Avenue and Pitkin and Plum streets, as well as handicap access doorways and parking areas. Residence hall kitchens are also first priority.

Second-tier priorities include commuter parking lots – “to get people on campus.”

Third-tier priorities are residence hall parking lots. “It’s difficult to get those lots plowed,” Nagel said. “There are always cars in them, and it’s difficult to clear them beyond the driveways.”

Outdoor Services’ fleet includes, Nagel said, three large single-axle dump trucks, two smaller dump trucks and five pick-up trucks for areas like the Lory Student Center Plaza.

Despite all the discussion and hurry to get snow out of the way, though, Stanczyk said he was going to make some time to enjoy it.

“I’m going to try and allow for some play time – some snowball fights with my friends,” he said, laughing.

Staff writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

_____________________________________

Fort Collins weather forecast

Friday: Mostly sunny, a high of 33 degrees

Friday night: Slight chance of snow, with a low of 12 degrees

If you encounter a particularly hazardous area during a snow storm or at other time, contact facilities management at 491-0077.

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Mom tells of life with AIDS

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Stephanie Gerlach

Some would say that living with a disease like HIV doesn’t seem like a purpose, but for Keisha Tabb, it allowed her to discover hers.

In front of 15 community members and students Wednesday, Tabb discussed her life and the struggles she has faced since contracting HIV from her former boyfriend, who contracted the disease in prison.

When Tabb first learned she was HIV positive 14 years ago, she was 27 and pregnant with her first son. She didn’t know how to react.

Still a relatively new disease, information about HIV was scarce during the early 1990s. When she was diagnosed, Tabb said she only knew HIV as “the gay white man” disease – GRID or Gay-Related Immune Deficiency was what AIDS was originally called.

After a Cesarean section retrieved her premature 2-pound, 9-ounce baby boy, Tabb had her son tested for HIV. When the test came back positive, she was alarmed.

“Instead of facing problems like this, I would run from them,” she said. “I was in shock from this point on.”

Her doctor advised her not to name her child, because his chance for survival was slim. It was a wake up call for Tabb.

“I learned I do have the right to ask questions, especially when it comes to me, my well being and the well being of others,” Tabb said.

Her son is now 14.

As a wife and mother of two, Tabb still dedicates a lot of her time talking to various groups about what it is like living with HIV and how she and her son deal with it. She has participated in numerous media campaigns and public service announcements to help educate others. She also challenges her audiences to ask questions, especially when they get into new relationships.

“I chose to gain information and knowledge about the disease,” she said. “I always look for a window of opportunity to talk about HIV/AIDS, even though it’s hard sometimes.”

Tabb said people need to empower themselves and know who they are “laying down with.”

“If you are going to do it together, you should get tested together,” she said.

The presentation was the last of the Women at Noon Series for this semester and also served as a precursor for World AIDS Day on Friday.

“It was just natural that we have a topic related to World AIDS Day. It also brings it home, puts a face to this disease and empowers people to learn more about it,” said Shauna DeLuca, the interim coordinator for the Office of International Programs.

Maryl Baldridge, a senior sociology major, works for the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies and attended all of the Women at Noon Series presentations.

“I always learn so much and it’s a really nice opportunity to hear about a topic I’m interested in and hear their personal stories,” she said.

After sharing her story, Tabb said she has come to terms with her disease.

“You can’t take life for granted,” she said. “It has been a really rewarding challenge to stop and listen, look up and live life to the fullest.”

Staff writer Stephanie Gerlach can be reached at news@collegian.com.

___________________________________

World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil

6 to 8 p.m. Friday

Lory Student Center Art Lounge

For more information, visit www.international.colostate.edu or contact Shauna DeLuca at 491-5917.

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ASCSU President deals in diversity

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: James Baetke

The drive to make CSU a more diverse campus has made its mark in two initiatives being introduced by the Associated Students of CSU.

The proposed bills come at a time when President Larry Penley has been working hard to promote his diversity plan.

Both initiatives were introduced for review Wednesday and would require both the ASCSU Cabinet and all senators to attend more diversity-related programs and events.

Andrew Angely, assistant director for ASCSU’s Diversity and Outreach department, says the initiatives come at a time when the CSU administration is pushing two strategic plans, both holding diversity as a key element.

“President Penley definitely has diversity on his mind,” Angely said. “(Diversity) is something that has been on our mind the entire semester. The reason it is coming out now is because it can be enforced for the spring semester if it passes.”

ASCSU President Jason Green and Vice President Sadie Conrad campaigned on a platform to increase unity on campus and to create more diversity awareness last year. Both initiatives are intended to reinforce Green and Conrad’s goal.

Cabinet members are already required to attend four student organization programs, but Bill 3605 would require most cabinet members – comprised mostly of directors and assistant directors – to attend two of those directly related to diversity or awareness.

And if passed, Resolution 3608 would require all active senators to devote half of their programming attendance to diversity.

“The goal is to essentially get our members out to these programs to build a relationship with programs that deal with diversity issues,” Angely said.

Trevor Trout, co-sponsor of the initiatives, calls diversity an essential part to a distinctive, inclusive university.

“The culture of diversity associated with President Penley is a necessary aspect of higher education in order for (CSU) to remain competitive,” Trout said.

Penley has maintained diversity as a top goal for his tenure at CSU and beyond.

In November, Penley introduced what he called the five-year “stretch” plan, calling for the addition of 450 faculty members, increasing student enrollment by 20 percent and creating a student body that represents the changing demographics in Colorado, keeping diversity at the forefront.

In addition to diversity training, CSU could use the proposed $100 million increase in the current $800 million budget toward minority scholarships and recruitment efforts. This five-year plan corresponds with a broader CSU Strategic Plan for 2006-2015.

“The best ideas emerge when we surround ourselves with people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives,” Penley said in a statement. “The benefits derived from an educational environment that includes individuals reflective of all aspects of our society cannot be overstated.”

Another co-sponsor of the initiative, Reyna Anaya, says the administration should look at diversity not as a checklist, but as second nature. For example, Anaya sees CSU’s annual Diversity Conference as something the administration just checks off but fails to really deliver.

“There needs to be a realization that there is need for improvement with diversity,” Anaya said. “Administration is trying, but then they are not.”

Angely says there is always room for improvement, considering about 88 percent of students on campus are white. Within the past 10 years that number has only dropped less than 2 percent.

“I don’t think we are at the place we need to be but the steps we are taking are moving in a positive way,” Angely said. “There is never a bad time to take a step in the right direction.”

Staff writer James Baetke can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Ringing in the holidays

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Keri Lenderink CTV News Director

Pete Ortiz begins his day at 10 a.m., donning a fluffy down jacket and lugging a tattered blue backpack.

He climbs into a white Ford van with several other soldiers and heads out to work.

As he stands in the blistering cold, some people pass by without seeming to notice Ortiz’s smiling eyes and the bruised metal object clanging in his hand. But others thank him for his work with a grateful tap on the shoulder and a few coins in a red kettle.

“If I could get everybody to donate it would be a great job,” Ortiz said. “That’s the only bad part is you can’t get everybody to donate.”

Ortiz works for the Salvation Army, trying to scrape together a few donations for the needy. This year, it will donate its Christmas profits to 650 families with a combined 2,000 children.

Captain Michael Halverson heads the Salvation Army bell ringers out of an outpost located on South Mason Street.

“There’s a little bit more to it than just standing there,” he said. “That’s one of the hardest parts of the job, just standing there for eight hours.”

But for Ortiz and other bell ringers, standing out in the freezing temperatures isn’t the worst thing.

The Salvation Army places about 20 to 25 kettles around Fort Collins, but in recent years, it’s been difficult to get those kettles manned.

“Quite a few years ago we might have been able to work off volunteers,” Halverson said. “But the last few years it’s been difficult to get volunteers to help out.”

Salvation Army bell ringers are now paid to ring their bells outside local stores, but sometimes giving them some extra money isn’t enough.

“Even paying them, its difficult to get enough people to go out each day,” Halverson said.

But for Ortiz, it takes more than a few people passing him by to get him down.

“Even if people don’t acknowledge you, it doesn’t matter, you know,” he said, “’cause it’s all really about Christmas.”

EDS: RUN W/ CTV LOGO

Check out the video version of this story at ctv11.com.

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Dance to fund building of local home

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Nov 292006
 
Authors: Emily Lance

Habitat for Humanity and Greek Life have teamed up to build a home for a needy Fort Collins family that was ravaged by war in Bosnia.

And they’re set to hold a ball today at 9 p.m. in the Main Ballroom of the Lory Student Center to raise funds for the cause.

The ballroom will be filled with a mix of old and new tunes provided by the members of Phi Mu Alpha at the “Home for the Holidays – Habitat for Humanity Benefit Ball.”

The event is a casual to semiformal affair, with food and drinks provided.

Tickets are available across from the LSC Bookstore for $10 or can be purchased at the door for $13.

All proceeds will go toward the Habitat for Humanity Home built for a local Fort Collins family.

Davor and Jasmina Strikic and their daughter Aida were the family chosen to receive the home. The benefit ball is one of the major fundraisers Greek Life is using to raise the $110,000 needed for construction.

A raffle drawing will be at the door for two round trip tickets to anywhere in the United States, courtesy of the Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity.

Ryan Hodac, community service chair for the Interfraternity Council, is hoping to not only raise funds but also raise awareness about the project.

“We want to bring people together for a good time and a good cause,” he said.

Staff writer Emily Lance can be reached at campus@collegian.com.

______________________________________

For more information on the ball, contact Taylor at tlungren@simla.colostate.edu or Sonja Jenson at 491-0966 or sonja.jensen@colostate.edu.

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