Bill giving BOG vote passes through leg. committee

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Feb 252010
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Student government leaders said they are ecstatic that the bill giving CSU students voting rights on the CSU System Board of Governors passed through the House Education committee 7-6 Thursday evening.

After the bill failed in the same committee last year by one vote, members of the Associated
Students of CSU and the state representative, who acted as the house sponsor, are optimistic about getting House Bill 1206 to the Senate but recognize the upcoming challenge of garnering support in the House of Representatives.

“I am confident we can come up with the 33 votes we need to get it to the Senate,” said State Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins.

ASCSU and CSU-Pueblo’s student government will start convincing members of the House to support the bill tomorrow, said Matt Worthington, director of Legislative Affairs at ASCSU.
“Now instead of talking to seven people, we have to talk to 65,” he said.

With higher education funding in crisis –– hundreds of millions have been cut from its budget in the last year –– and students feeling the burden of tuition increases as a result, having a voice on the board will allow students to offer input, “rather than sit on the sidelines,” Worthington said.

“Students have great perspectives to offer how we can bring creative ideas into the university,” Worthington said, explaining that as the CSU system sustains budget cuts, a student vote on the board could “improve the board’s ability to do more with less.”

If passed, HB 1206 would give student government leaders from both the CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo campuses the ability to vote on BOG issues. Currently, student government presidents act as non-voting members and provide recommendations to the board –– they have no final say on issues.

While the BOG has been “very good” at listening to student recommendations thus far, ASCSU President Dan Gearhart said, the bill is “institutionalizing the need for student input.”

As students invest more in their education by paying attention to the issues of tuition and funding to higher education and “take more responsibility in all those things. They deserve the right to a real vote,” Fischer said.

Legislative Affairs started the push to get CSU student voting rights on the BOG more than a year ago. Worthington and his department took over the initiative from the former administration in May, making sure to “bring in all the key players” in the Governor’s Office and CSU’s administration, Worthington said.

“I think the student leadership at CSU-Fort Collins and at Pueblo really deserve a large part of the credit for getting this bill through the committee this year … the students are the ones who have really stepped up to get this done,” Fischer said.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

  • The bill gives student government leaders from the CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo campuses a vote on the CSU System Board of Governors.
  • Currently, student government presidents act as non-voting members who give recommendations to the board.
  • HB 1206 passed through the House Education committee 7-6 Thursday evening.
  • State Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, and Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins acted as bill sponsors.
 Posted by at 5:39 pm

Weld County sprouts crude oil

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Feb 252010
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Nearly every piece of clothing we wear is either made from or processed with oil, CSU geosciences professor Sven Egenhoff said.

Last week’s discovery of crude oil at the Niobrara Formation in Weld County probably won’t put Colorado at the forefront of the oil industry, Egenhoff said. But, because of oil’s prominence in society, the newfound source will likely cushion the state’s economy and create jobs.

“This is one of the biggest discoveries in the U.S. in the last 10 years,” Weld County Commissioner Doug Rademacher said.

The one well, located just south of the Wyoming border, surpassed normal new-well production by 1,000 barrels of oil in just one day, according to the Greeley Tribune.

EOG Resources, formerly Enron Oil and Gas, made the discovery early last week and Rademacher said during that first drill the site produced three times more oil than a typical well.

Horizontal drilling, a technique that allows drillers to tap more than a half-mile of land at a time, was used in this discovery of “sweet crude oil,” Rademacher said. This type of oil is scarce and contains little other natural gas.

The area ­­–– stretching from Fort Collins to Sterling –– is now open for leasing.

“It’s fast and furious with leases up there,” Rademacher said.

Oil, Egenhoff said, forms from the breakdown of organic matter and tiny organisms after the earth has naturally heated it to between 143 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which he calls the “oil window.”

Drillers then harvest the oil by “fracking,” or stimulating the rock until it breaks. This, Egenhoff said, is to increase the flow of fluid.

“Oil is not sitting in huge lakes down there,” Egenhoff said.

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

 Posted by at 5:33 pm

Ritter: Tuition to be kept in check

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Feb 252010
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge

DENVER – Gov. Bill Ritter said Thursday that Colorado’s legislature will keep tuition hikes in check for the next fiscal year, despite looking at possible models for what leaders are calling “tuition flexibility,” which will allow state institutions more authority in increasing college prices.

In a discussion between news reporters and members of his recently commissioned strategic planning team in his office at the Capitol, Ritter said, “tuition flexibility is not tuition autonomy.”

Ritter’s statement rides alongside increasing concern among student and university leaders that the state, which faces devastating budget woes after a bevy of cuts were implemented over the last year, will continue to “defund” its colleges and universities.

The strategic planning committee, which consists of prominent members of the higher education community in Colorado, is researching a number of items it believes will help institutions over the financial hurdles that confront them.

The broad goal of the group is to establish a balance between maintaining affordability and quality of programs in higher education.

“They just have to go hand in glove, and I think they do that,” said Jim Lyons, a Colorado attorney who chairs the committee, during Thursday’s meeting.

Ritter said in the meeting that leaders plan to produce research results.

The results could include legislative proposals for the upcoming state
ballot that would establish a solid funding stream for higher education similar to the mandate that public funding for K-12 education increases every year.

Among the subjects the group is studying:

Measures that could increase the financial stability of colleges and universities

The way institutions govern themselves implementing policies that would maintain access and affordability in light of the economic downturn, and getting students ready for college through the K-12 system.

The committee plans to publish its findings later in the spring, but it does not guarantee a solid fix for the problem, the depth of which Ritter said no one anticipated.

“The task force is the mechanism for vetting the possibilities,” he said.

He added that the task of the group is solely to identify short-term solutions.

Colorado’s top governing board for its colleges and universities, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, has spent the last several months trying to find a way to limit tuition hikes. It asked the Joint Budget Committee, which drafts legislation every year that imposes revenue and spending limits on state programs, to cap tuition increases at 9 percent for in-state students last semester.

Nothing is set in stone until it approves that document, which is called the Long Bill, in June. Until then, CSU is planning its budget around the full 9 percent increase.

The governor expects the JBC to limit tuition increases, as it has typically done in the past.

“You’ll see a Long Bill this year that will look like the Long Bills of past years with the same restrictions,” Ritter said.

_Projects Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

 Posted by at 5:28 pm

Students allowed pepper spray, Tasers under weapons policy

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Feb 252010
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

After the Denver Post reported that CSU students would not be able to carry pepper spray under the newly adopted weapons policy, university officials clarified to the Collegian that the policy does allow that form of self-protection in an e-mail Thursday.

The policy banning guns never prohibited students from having pepper spray on campus, CSU Spokesperson Brad Bohlander said in a phone call Thursday. The amount is limited to one ounce, he said.

Students will also have the option of carrying a personal Taser under the policy after it was revised prior to approval by the CSU System Board of Governors earlier this week.

The system-wide weapons ban forbids students from carrying concealed weapons, along with explosives, knives with a blade larger than 3.5 inches and ammunition.

The ban will go into affect on or before Aug. 1.

The Associated Students of CSU Sen. Cooper Anderson, who lobbied for keeping CSU gun friendly, said the amendment to the policy is a step in the right direction.

But, Anderson said, “It’s not enough to overcome the weapons policy’s defects.”

_Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

 Posted by at 5:23 pm

Campus eye

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Feb 252010
 
Authors: Michael Kalush

Shaunta Butler, a senior landscape architecture major, works on her project inspired by Italian architecture and beets in a design studio in the Natural and Environmental Sciences Building on Thursday.

 Posted by at 5:11 pm

Yellow Tail wine company turns tail on HSUS

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Feb 252010
 
Authors: Robyn Scherer

Yellow Tail wine has redeemed itself.

Following its huge mistake in donating $100,000 to the Humane Society of the United States on Jan. 14, the business was heavily accosted from all sectors of the agriculture community in the U.S.

The firestorm that fell on Yellow Tail since its announcement of the donation has been nothing short of amazing, and the company has decided to abandon future donations.

“They have committed to in the future only supporting welfare organizations with a sole commitment to animal care,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Executive Vice President of the Animal Agriculture Alliance.

I know what some of you are thinking. What is wrong with this woman writing this column? Doesn’t she want to help the cute cats and dogs that need homes at the humane society? This answer is yes, I do. But HSUS is not the same as your local humane society.

In a blog posted March 30 by Wayne Pacelle, the leader of HSUS, he said, “We believe in the Three Rs — reducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods; refining the diet by eating products only from methods of production, transport and slaughter that minimize pain and distress; and replacing meat and other animal-based foods in the diet with plant-based foods.”

Does this sound like helping shelter animals? In case you didn’t know, HSUS was the group that funded Proposition 2 in California in 2008. While I agree animals used for production should be treated humanely, putting them on the same platform as humans is ridiculous. HSUS’ goal is not to help animals, but to eliminate animal agriculture completely.

It’s pathetic that companies like Yellow Tail failed to see the consequences of their actions before they took them. I hope they see the effects through decreased sales. If you really want to help animals, donate to your local humane society, not HSUS.

Pretty soon these movements will come to your home. It’s easy to think that won’t happen, but the trend is already starting. According to www.dogpolitics.com, “The efforts by PETA and HSUS to advance breed specific legislation are a betrayal of trust that so many give, and disservice to those desperately working so hard –– but worst of all, PETA & HSUS spell nothing but homelessness, fear and death for dogs that look a certain way.” Pet owners beware.

HSUS operated on a $91.5 million budget in 2007, and spent it’s money not helping animals, as the Tails for Tails program intended, but in pushing legislation, according to The Center for Consumer Freedom.

Pork Magazine’s article, Yellow Tail Wine Gets a Sour Taste said, “Analysis of their (HSUS’) 2008 tax return shows that only one-half of 1 percent of the group’s funds actually went towards caring for animals,” the Alliance told Yellow Tail officials. “While wanting to help animals is indeed a noble goal, we urge you to instead pledge your money to local shelters, which often are underfunded, but provide much-needed services to homeless pets.”

So why is this such a big deal for agricultural producers? HSUS and other animal rights groups (groups that aren’t there to help animals per se, but ones to further their own personal agendas) have made production in the U.S. increasingly difficult.

I agree there are many practices in animal agriculture that need to be re-evaluated. However, animal rights groups should not be the ones drafting legislation. The producers themselves should be.

According to Farm and Dairy, in an article titled The Three R’s of the HSUS Agenda, Susan Crowell writes, “Agriculture needs its own set of three R’s: research on best management practices that improve animal welfare and productivity; a revival of this country’s agrarian foundation; and a recommitment by farmers everywhere to practice sound livestock management, implement environmental protection measures and proudly speak out on their industry’s behalf.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Robyn Scherer is a senior animal science, agricultural business and journalism and technical communication major. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:59 pm

Our View: Finding the silver lining

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Feb 252010
 
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

By now the word is out that CSU no longer allows concealed gun carry on any part of its campuses.

The system’s Board of Governors Tuesday voted unanimously to strip such weapons from the CSU community despite the threat of litigation, the loud anti-ban voice of CSU students and studies to the contrary.

Not only, however did they strip licensed community members of their legal right to carry concealed guns, but also they stripped students from their greatest line of defense against an outside attacker.

But lets not completely bash on those faceless, invisible BOG members, who are clearly out of touch with their constituents. The policy the university created and the Board passed Tuesday doesn’t completely hinder students’ ability to defend themselves. Just partially.

Despite a previous draft that disallowed them, the new concealed weapon policy has worked into it that students may carry concealed stun guns, Tasers and pepper spray up to one ounce.

This is a smart move by the BOG, which had not made these stipulations in the originally proposed draft for feedback.

Though pepper spray, Tasers or stun guns have as much deterrence to a shooter in a classroom as a notepad or a pencil sharpener, these concealed weapons do serve a purpose in close range self-defense.

They serve to deter individual one-on-one attacks, which was a major concern with the concealed gun band.

So, we guess something’s better than nothing.

 Posted by at 4:56 pm

Country in a state of chaos, lies and partisan hackery

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Feb 252010
 
Authors:

We’re screwed.

The dream of the founding fathers is on life support, and the pulse is fading fast.

The Conservative Political Action Committee met for their annual conference, the White House blatantly lied, and to make matters worse, Bill Maher helped to reveal the Tea Party as six-times less informed than the already abysmally misinformed American public.

The CPAC conference was, in a word, bizarre. From the incoherent comments from speakers such as former Gov. Mitt Romney, “If these liberal neo-monarchists succeed they will kill the very spirit that has built the nation.”

Um, pardon me Mitt, but wasn’t it you “conservatives” who ran up an $11 trillion deficit in just eight years, passed the Patriot Act without reading it and basically rubberstamped everything the Bush administration asked for? What do you think that did for the spirit of the nation?

CPAC closed with keynote speaker Glenn Beck. The transcript of his speech actually is not too bad, but he relies so much on some of the shtick from his show, he gave ammunition to Jon Stewart and the rest when he attempted to explain how revolution and political evolution are the same.

His premise was the only difference is speed; one moves fast and people use guns, the other moves slowly like cancer. This is my interpretation.

The attendees voted Rep. Ron Paul their front-runner for the presidential election. Wonderful. When the election of 2012 takes place he will be a very lucky 77-years-old. Awesome.

We get to witness the juxtaposition of a frail old white man debating against younger old white men, and possibly one middle-aged white woman who seems more prepared to co-host “Good Morning Fairbanks”

than run for political office, for the privilege of running against a Democrat who will undoubtedly be promising to sustain unemployment benefits if they win.

Adding to my feeling of nausea for our future as a nation, the White House went on a campaign –– funny how often they fall back to that –– to declare victory. Yes, folks, according to our fearless elected executive who obtained his information from the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus worked.

The CBO claimed the stimulus saved 1.5 million jobs. The problem, as National Report Online points out, is the CBO based its report on Keynesian mathematical theory.

CBO predicated its numbers on assumptions saying, for every dollar spent by government, there is a direct corollary increase of more than a dollar in Gross Domestic Product.

NRO points out even if the country had lost 10 million jobs, the CBO would claim 11.5 million would have disappeared without the stimulus.

We call that fudging the numbers. The country is past the point of confidence in the market. Yet, still the authorities are still speaking only to short-term political gain, rather than the long-term needs of the country.

Compounding the lies spilling forth from Washington and the partisan crap spilling forth from the two parties who put us in this mess, Bill Maher, ultra-liberal talk show host, brought to light a CBS/New York Times poll.

“In general, do you think the Obama administration has increased taxes for most Americans, decreased taxes for most Americans or have they kept taxes the same for most Americans?” Twelve percent knew the correct answer. Do you?

With his increases in budget deficit and national debt, he most definitely increased taxes on future generations. Don’t argue this. You’ll lose. But restricted to the present, he has in fact cut taxes for 95 percent of workers. When focused on the Tea Party supporters, the poll revealed 12 percent dropped to 2 percent who knew the right answer.

To translate –– and paraphrase Maher –– the Tea Party to protest increased taxes has its facts wrong, about taxes.

We, as a nation, will turn back to the party we threw out just 18 months ago and ask it to save us from these horrible people we put in office.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? That’s the definition of insane.

I say again, we’re screwed.

Seth J. Stern is a non-traditional student. His pessimism for future generations appears every Friday in the Collegian. Comments and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:52 pm

Rams lacrosse begins 1st road trip to Missouri

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Feb 252010
 
Authors: Cris Tiller

CSU lacrosse faces its first road trip today and Saturday in Missouri where it will meet Lindenwood and the University of Texas.

The two games will provide an early test and an opportunity for the team to find some chemistry, as well as giving the young players a chance to learn what it takes to win away from home.

The Rams’ first match up against Lindenwood, a team they have played several times in previous seasons.

“We’re very familiar with Lindenwood,” CSU head coach Alex Smith said. “We have played them four or five times, definitely more than Texas.”

Senior defenseman and Co-captain Andrew Stein remembers what Lindenwood will bring to the game.

“They are really good and are always at the top of the division,” Stein said. “They always give great competition and we will bring our best to them, too.”

On the other hand, the Texas Longhorns are unknown for the most part. Texas has not been an opponent scheduled by CSU in recent memory.

“We don’t know a whole lot about (Texas),” Smith said. “We’ll just have to fly by the seat of our pants.”

CSU has a record of 1-1 so far this season, beating nearby Northern Colorado 17-6, but falling short against a much tougher team in Colorado College 12-70.

Smith said the loss to CC came because of costly mistakes at both the offensive and defensive ends of the field.

“We didn’t take advantage of our possessions,” Smith said. “We kept bailing them out with turnovers.”

To go along with turnovers, the defensive play was also lacking. Stein said it will take more than one person to improve the defense.

“I put as much (pressure on myself) as I can,” Stein said. “Our whole philosophy is team defense, so I lead as much as I can game to game.”

The young season has also seen another captain raise his level of play in junior attackman Cooper Kehoe. Kehoe leads the team in both goals and shots with six and 14, respectively.

Smith looks to Kehoe to fill the role of primary goal scorer, but Kehoe doesn’t see it the same way.

“I just contribute the best way I can,” Kehoe said. “It starts downfield, being at the right place at the right time. Everyone on this team can do it.”

The biggest challenge in Smith’s mind will be making sure the younger players handle themselves properly on the road and hopes it will build team chemistry in the process.

“Obviously, (the big challenge) is it’s the first trip of the year,” Smith said. “It’s tough to make sure everyone acts the same way. We need to get ourselves together and establish team identity.”

Older players like Kehoe have given their advice to the young players as well.

“Stay focused, one game at a time,” Kehoe said. “Sometimes you look forward. Just win one and then look to the next one.”

Smith is a former Ram goalie who graduated in 2003. This, however, is his first full year as head coach. He does not feel as if any additional pressure is placed on his shoulders.

“I don’t put pressure on winning,” Smith said. “Every game is important, personally I feel it’s important to establish identity and come together as a team.”

Team chemistry is obviously important and the team motto is “family” after all. But winning would certainly help.

Club Sports Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:50 pm

Little Shop of Physics hosts 19th open house

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Feb 252010
 
Authors: Ryan Sheine

Standing in the hallway of the Physics Department near the swinging Foucalt Pendulum sculpture, Brian Jones, director of CSU’s Little Shop of Physics, wears a tie-dye cast protecting his right wrist, which he broke while riding his three-wheeled scooter to campus.

But it will take a lot more than a broken appendage to dampen his excitement for this Saturday’s 19th annual Little Shop of Physic’s Open House.

“It’s a science party, and everyone’s invited,” Jones said.

The Little Shop of Physics hosts its open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Ballrooms.

During the event, more than 250 hands-on experiments and seven interactive presentations –– liquid nitrogen ice cream, a rainbow experiment and a display showing air in motion –– will be on display.

Physics Department Chair Dieter Hochheimer laughed when he said that people like to stay for the whole day.

“It’s science in a way that’s fun,” Hochheimer said.

Last year’s open house drew more than 7,000 people, Hochheimer said, adding that “every year there are more people coming.”

Jones explained how this year’s theme, “Put A Spin on It,” has a literal and metaphorical double meaning.

It is literal in the sense that, “we’re doing a lot of things that spin,” Jones said, and metaphorical because, Jones said, he wants participants to experiment with science in their own way.

Jones described the atmosphere within the open house as active with “little kids bouncing off the walls.”

Jeff Doak, a freshman computer engineering major at Front Range Community College and whose mom is a CSU employee, has been volunteering for the Little Shop of Physics since he was a freshman in high school.

One of his jobs at the open house will be to make sure the projects keep working.

“Kids tend to dismantle projects pretty fast,” Doak said.

Hochheimer extended his sentiment saying, “people are very enthusiastic and the kids love it.”

Staff writer Ryan Sheine can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:48 pm