Obama brings slow but genuine change to American people

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Sep 302009
 
Authors: M. Alex Stephens

All too often I read in the news about disgruntled Democrats and irrational Republicans whining that Obama has betrayed them, that he hasn’t delivered on his promise of “change” but is rather a darker skinned version of a typical Washington/Chicago politician turned presidential. Beans to the naysayers, I say, beans.

Washington is a dodgy place. The “special interests” are specters that still dominate our nation’s Capitol and influence much of what goes on there. Obama is not a charmingly “Hitleresque” super hero rock god that can defeat them on a whim. Congress, the economy and the environment are among the forces out of his control that usually work to thwart any president.

Considering the present circumstances, Obama is doing a mighty decent job despite what the negative nancies (myself often included) might say. Even though Obama takes stances that I disagree with, such as entertaining the notion of sending more troops into Afghanistan, the man’s done a lot of good. Things really aren’t as deplorable as you might think.

Much positive progress has been made. Obama allocated about $60 million toward sustainable energy development in the stimulus package. Small potatoes in the larger scheme, yes, but it is still a step in the right direction of sound energy policy. He’s signed into law measures to help protect consumers from predatory credit card company policies, acts to help families save their homes from foreclosure and approved legislation to continue (and expand) providing under-privileged children much needed health insurance.

Obama has also tackled social problems. If McCain had been elected, pro-corporate pay discrimination would likely still have a foothold in our society without the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The act, which basically extends the time frame for persons to file suit for being discriminated against in their wages, was staunchly opposed by Senator McCain during its first run through Congress in 2007. Obama supported the act then, and Obama signed the act into law during the first month of his term.

Foreign relation tensions have eased under the new administration. Obama has been open, accommodating and even (gasp) apologetic when conducting goodwill tours to other parts of the world that were previously shunned by Bush. I recall some folks getting red in the face because Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia. “Unheard of. Outrageous. How dare Obama be respectful to another world leader —- This is America. We don’t have to respect anybody!”

The typical American attitude of flagrant arrogance embodied by Bush is widely held by a lot of people, but it’s embarrassing, it’s pompous and it’s wrong. Are we a nation of bombastic, chauvinistic pigs or a nation of forward thinking, understanding citizens? Thank goodness our President exhibits the levelheaded, sensible, characteristics of the better half in all of us.

Don’t be so quick to point the accusatory finger of rage at Obama for our nation’s ills. The price of gas goes up, Wall Street remains greedy, violence in Iraq and Afghanistan escalates, but none of these are products of the Obama presidency. I believe Obama is doing the best he can in Washington and now more than ever he needs our support rather than our unfounded demonization of him.

Before we shout about all Obama hasn’t done, or has failed to do, we should first look at what he has accomplished. Obama wasn’t elected because we thought he could fix everything, was he? I voted for Obama because he’s intellectually elite, he’s compassionate, he’s an eloquent speaker and he represents an America that, while still flawed, is trying to better itself.

M. Alex Stephens is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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CSU BOG meeting held on campus today

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Sep 302009
 
Authors: Matt Minich

CSU’s governing body will meet today and Friday to hear presentations from university officials and discuss the university’s current standing and budgetary future, including what CSU’s funding options will be after the university’s stimulus money runs out.

Today’s agenda consists entirely of meetings by the board’s committees. Most presentations and discussion by board members will take place at these meetings, BOG spokesperson Michelle McKinney said. All meetings will take place in the Lory Student Center’s Grey Rock Room.

The board, which consists of 13 members — four of whom are “ex-officio” or non-voting members/– oversees the finances and administration of CSU, CSU-Pueblo and the university’s new online school, CSU Global.

The most pressing business will be discussed by the finance committee at 1 p.m., McKinney said, when the committee will examine CSU’s funding options after the university’s stimulus money runs out in 2012.

At noon, the Evaluation Committee, which consists only of the board’s nine voting members, will meet to discuss the criteria required for presidents and chancellors to receive performance-related bonuses.

At 8 a.m. Friday morning, members of the board will hear public comments. Students, faculty or staff who want to comment will have to sign up outside the room before the comment session begins, McKinney said.

CSU President Tony Frank and CSU-Pueblo President Joe Garcia will give their reports on campus enrollment at the two universities Friday. The reports include a number of enrollment statistics, including the numbers of high school graduates accepted to and enrolling in the university.

President of the Associated Students of CSU Dan Gearhart, who is an ex-officio member of the boardand the student representative, will present a report on student programs and issues.

Gearhart’s report gives operational statistics for RamRide, CSU’s “safe ride home” car service and a copy of ASCSU’s proposed changes to the city’s housing ordinance, commonly known as U+2 or 3-Unrelated.

Gearhart will also answer any questions the board may have regarding student issues or opinions surrounding university policy, he said.

“Anything that the university deals with will be addressed by the Board of Governors.”

The meetings will be open to the public with the exception of an executive session at 8:40 a.m. Friday morning, which will be closed to everyone but the 13 board members.

A full meeting agenda is available online at http:// csusystem.edu/pages/documents/finalpacketforbook.pdf.

Senior Reporter Matt Minich can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU to host drug discovery, research program funded by $2.25 million grant

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Sep 302009
 
Authors:

Due to the need to treat ongoing diseases in humans and animals, CSU is planning to start a statewide initiative that will serve university researchers in the discovery of new medications.

As part of this initiative, the university is hosting the Colorado Center for Drug Discovery, a program that obtained a $2.25 million grant allocated by the Bioscience Discover Evaluation Grant program and funded by the state’s office of Economic Development and International Trade.

The center, otherwise known as C2D2, will act like a virtual organization linking CSU laboratories, expertise and faculty together to identify and conduct drug research projects. The organization has not yet started but co-directors said they have several professors in mind to participate when the initiative gets off the ground.

“(Universities) have many of the same elements inside of a biotech and pharmaceutical company — labs (and) different disciplines — so the same kind of structure exists, but they are not connected to each other in the way scientists are inside of a biotech or pharmaceutical company,” Terry Opgenorth, co-director of the center said.

Opgenorth said C2D2 is going to build a framework to access needed resources and provide grants to fund faculty participation to create virtual drug discovery teams.

In April 2010, the opening of the new Research Innovation Center on CSU’s Foothills Campus will provide C2D2 with physical space for a compound library as well as incubator laboratories to support startup companies.

“As the researchers produce new chemicals that get studied in their labs, we need a physical place to organize and store these molecules so they can be used for many years and many purposes in basic drug discovery research,” Guiles said. “(The library) will be housing hundreds of thousands of molecules.”

C2D2 and the university plan to assemble a compound library that will exceed a quarter of a million molecules, Guiles said.

The opening of the center will provide both undergraduate and graduate students with many opportunities to learn more about the drug research industry including possible internships for undergraduates as well as stipends to support graduate students, post doctorate researchers and labs of participating faculty.

Research conducted at the facility could bring money back to CSU.

“The idea is that (C2D2) produces product in the true sense that someday the drug will be on the market in order to treat diseases,” Opgenorth said. “If a drug is sold then revenues would come back to the university.”

This would require that a drug candidate is licensed to a startup company or an existing biopharma company –/an organization that discovers and develops drugs.

But, Guiles said this is a very long-term proposition due to the complexities of drug discovery and development and the long and expensive process of putting a drug on the market.

“The industry standard, from lab bench discovery to just even into the first human clinical study, is four to seven years and then another four or five years to complete human studies and get launched onto (pharmacy) shelves,” Guiles said. “It’s a tremendous challenge.”

Both Opgenorth and Guiles have almost 20 years of experience, bringing new molecules into clinical studies for the biopharma industry. The two are chief operating officers of the two life science Superclusters at CSU, Guiles with MicroRx in the Infectious Disease Supercluster and Opgenorth with NeoTREX, the Cancer Supercluster.

Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, and State Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley co-sponsored the Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant program.

Staff writer Justyna Tomtas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Student gov. pushes smoking education

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Sep 302009
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

In response to an incident where an improperly discarded cigarette caused an evacuation of the Lory Student Center on Monday, student government raised the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act to emergency status and passed it unanimously via voice vote Wednesday night.

The act is intended to raise awareness of CSU’s smoking ordinance — prohibiting anyone from smoking within 20 feet of any university building, passageway, operable window or ventilation system/– by placing information cards in the dining halls and encouraging other student organizations to increase their awareness efforts.

“(Monday’s incident) is a perfect example of the ways smoking within the boundaries can be harmful,” said Jesse Jankowski, associate senator for the College of Engineering.

Alex Higgins, a senator from the College of Business who drafted the resolution, said its focus is on the residence halls, and that the idea came into play last year while he was living in the dorms and received complaints about smoking violations from his peers.

“It came from the students. It was written by the students. It is ultimately for the students,” Higgins said.

Jankowski said a similar bill was introduced to the Associated Students of CSU Senate floor last year, but the bill never made it to vote because of a “conflict of interest.” Now that the act has been passed, ASCSU is looking to Residence Life and Housing and Dining Services to join the initiative.

“By us starting this movement, we hope to get other organizations committed to educating students about the ordinance,” he said.

ASCSU hopes to eventually fix other areas of the smoking ordinance such as moving the smoking boxes away from buildings and outside of the 20-foot jurisdiction Higgins said. However, when he consulted maintenance last year, it said the estimated cost of the project exceeded $26,000.

“CSU is out of code,” Higgins said during floor discussion. “I’d like CSU to promote education and then focus on fixing other areas.”

ASCSU Beat Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Student, community reactions to U+2 mixed

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Sep 302009
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira, Madeline Novey

As debate over Fort Collins’ occupancy ordinance grows, a city official said Wednesday comments and concerns shared in a public open house would be presented to City Council during its comprehensive review of the law next month.

Community members, as many as 20 CSU students and Student Government representatives voiced their opinions in the Fort Collins Municipal Court’s Community Room on numerous issues regarding the ordinance, commonly known as U+2 or 3-Unrelated, including whether changes to the law are needed.

Public opinion from the open house, written on sticky notes and stuck to walls around the room included: erecting “CSU City,” a gated student community patrolled by police, that 3-Unrelated is needed to maintain the quality of neighborhoods and a consensus that the ordinance is discriminatory against students.

The comments will be packaged with input gathered from stakeholder meetings, roundtable discussions and the city’s U+2 discussion Web site YourVoice and compiled for the City Council. This report will aid council members in deciding whether changes to U+2 are necessary or not, Manager of Fort Collins Neighborhood Services Beth Sowder said.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey and ASCSU Beat Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU artists set to honor deceased poster designer

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Sep 302009
 
Authors: Kelsey Schuler

Three artists, two of whom are CSU professors, will speak tonight at Morgan Library First National Bank gallery in tribute to world-renowned Japanese graphic designer Shigeo Fukuda as part of the Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition.

Twenty of Fukuda’s posters, which commonly illustrate anti-war and advocacy messages through simplicity, will be on display throughout the gallery. Fukuda’s work is accompanied by 11 other posters from fellow Japanese artists: Maskazo Tanabe, Shuzo Kato, Kazumasa Nagai and Yoshiteru Asai.

CSU’s Art Department hosts the CIIPE every two years to give talented world artists a forum. For the 16th biennial, CIIPE co-directors Bob Coonts, John Gravdahl and Philip Risbeck chose to honor Fukuda’s life — which ended on Jan. 11 as the result of a stroke — by displaying his inspirational works of art.

Event attendance and refreshments are free and open to the public from 5 to 7 p.m. Reception coordinator Jane Barber said everything edible is free and that the story of Fukuda’s achievements, lifestyle and bold poster art is a worthwhile reason to attend.

While visitors mingle and analyze the art, Risbeck will give his keynote speech in which he will describe Fukuda’s life journey as an artist and what significant role he played in the art world.

“The satellite exhibition featuring ‘Shigeo Fukuda and his Circle’ focuses on Fukuda’s remarkable career as the most innovative and artistic poster artist of his time,” Risbeck said. “(Fukuda contributed) innovations that involved simple, clear concepts, subtle humor and visual illusion.”

A group of art majors said Fukuda had the gift to make something so original and meaningful in one design, and that his idea to create optical illusions and bold engaging posters took real dedication and passion.

“My favorite poster of his is of a fist woven in with barbed wire,” sophomore graphic design major Emily Witters said. “This poster represented Amnesty International. You would never know it until you completely knew the whole story. His art comes off simple, but meaningfully complex.”

During the evening, Gravdahl will explain the importance of poster art and its role in society. He will also elaborate on how Fukuda transformed that role.

After the event, Fukuda’s poster art and work of his contemporaries will be displayed in the main exhibit Oct. 3 to Dec. 22 in the University Art Museum in the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington Street.

Staff writer Kelsey Schuler can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Ink

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Sep 302009
 
Authors: Ryan Levitt

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Life on the Edge

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Sep 302009
 
Authors: Dave Anderson

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Aisle 9

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Sep 302009
 
Authors: Jenna Allen

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Campus Eye

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Sep 302009
 
Authors: Katie Stevens

Andy Vieth, a junior landscape design major, flies a kite on the intramural fields Wednesday. Vieth, whose kite is more than 15 years old and once belonged to his dad, has been flying kites since he was 5 years old.

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