Bring back the draft

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Bring back the draft
Dec 102006
Authors: Collegian Editorial Staff

Face it. We live sheltered lives.

We get to go to CSU, a university at the base of the gorgeous Rockies.

We live in, as Money magazine named it over the summer, the best place to live in the country.

Yes, life in the Fort is good.

But in all this goodness, it seems like we’ve forgotten a war still rages half a world away.

In this not-so-happy world, tens of thousands of human beings – including almost 3,000 Americans – are being slaughtered by snipers, assassins and bombs.

The issue now is that we’re there, and there’s a sense of detachment to the nightmare being played out in our name.

And that’s why we support Congressman Charlie Rangel’s intention to bring back the military draft.

We do not know Rangel’s intentions, but they are not relevant.

A draft would put some uneasiness into the hearts of the affluent, who, generally don’t die in as great numbers for their country as the poor, who do so because the military is often the only hope they have for a better future.

And if the possibility that you, your friends or loved ones would be called to fight for your country against those who hate you with a fiery passion, maybe the national dialogue about the war would be a little livelier than it has been amongst those our age.

That alone is enough to get our support.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm


 Uncategorized  Comments Off on READY OR NOT, HERE THEY COME!
Dec 102006

It’s almost time for New Year’s resolutions. Along with pledges of extra hours at the gym, you ought to be thinking about how to resolve your housing situation. Come Jan. 1, the City of Fort Collins will begin enforcing the “Three Unrelated Rule.”

Exactly what is allowed? Occupancy is restricted to one family, plus one additional person – or – two adults and their dependents, plus one additional person. “Family” means any number of persons who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, guardianship or other duly authorized custodial relationship.

Violations are civil, not criminal, but the fines are stiff: $1,000 per person (tenants and landlords) for each day the violation continues. Houses that have officially been designated “Boarding Houses” are excepted from the rule, as are a few properties that were pre-approved for four tenants. (Ram’s Crossing, The Lofts at Campus West, Ram’s Point and Ram’s Village)

How likely are you to be fined $1,000 per day? While the City Council hasn’t yet passed a final ordinance on the enforcement process, officials have publicly outlined their intentions. They say that for a first violation, you will be given “reasonable time” to correct the situation. If you correct within this time, no citation or fine will be given. Staff from the Neighborhood Services Office says that “reasonable time” will probably be 30 days and the first fine (second violation) will probably start at $500 and go up for subsequent violations.

Officials also say that the enforcement officer will not patrol for violations but will respond to complaints. Anonymous complaints will not trigger an investigation – the city will only send a notice and informational materials. For full complaints, where the complainer identifies himself and provides supporting information, the city will make an investigation.

The enforcement officer will ask the owner for a copy of the “Occupancy Limit Disclosure” form that your landlord should have given you to sign when you entered into the lease. Your landlord can be fined for not having this form, but, while there is some ambiguity in the City Code, it isn’t likely that you will be fined for lack of this form.

Next, the enforcement officer will probably want to get inside your home. The ordinance pending before City Council requires the officer to present proper credentials and request entry from you. If you refuse, the officer can seek an inspection warrant from the Municipal Judge, and I believe the warrant will be easy to get. You must allow entry when there is a warrant, or you are guilty of a misdemeanor.

What if you’re not home when the officer comes calling? The proposed ordinance is unclear. It says that if the building is “unoccupied” the officer shall make reasonable effort to locate the owner or “other persons having charge or control of the building” and request entry. I don’t consider being away from home to mean the dwelling is “unoccupied,” but an officer or judge might. Thus, it’s possible the officer will locate your landlord and your landlord will let the officer in. Another possibility is the officer goes straight for the warrant and gains entry with the warrant, with or without your presence.

We’ve come to the scariest part of all of this. If a neighbor calls the police and says they suspect I have illegal drugs in my home, I don’t think that is enough to support a search warrant, given the Fourth Amendment. But if a neighbor complains to the city about the number of cars regularly parked in front of your home, this might be all it takes for an enforcement officer to obtain a warrant to enter your home to count beds and toothbrushes.

Depending on timing, you might not have any notice and you might not be there when the inspection takes place. And though the officer isn’t there to look for drugs, if he sees them, you can bet he won’t ignore them. What started out as a civil matter could turn criminal.

What about defenses? Depending on your religious beliefs, you might consider that we are all related by blood and marriage dating all the way back to Adam and Eve. The ordinance in no way defines the degree of relatedness required, and it is silent on what sort of proof of relationship will suffice. Will you need “official” genealogy trees from Salt Lake City archives or is it enough to assert that you and your housemates are third and fourth cousins?

What is clear, is that if you’re appealing a finding of violation to a Municipal Court Referee, you testify under oath and subject yourself to perjury charges if you lie.

So, what exactly should your New Year’s resolution be? The best course is to come into compliance. Collaborate with your housemates and landlord to reach a solution where you reduce tenants to three and adjust the rent. If you can’t reach an agreement, it’s my opinion you can break the lease without liability for future rent as long as your landlord was in on the deal. Courts don’t enforce illegal contracts, so if your landlord knew there would be more than three in the dwelling (whether all were officially on the lease or not), I don’t believe a judge would hold you to the lease.

I do not advise you to break the law. If you are thinking of staying in an over-occupied situation, make sure you first weigh your risks. Draw a line down a sheet of paper and list your “good facts” on one side and “bad facts” on the other.

BAD FACTS: Not friendly with neighbors; past complaints about noise; lots of students on the block.

GOOD FACTS: Quiet street with few students; friendly with neighbors and even shovel their walks; no previous complaints; the extra housemates will graduate soon so you don’t intend to keep the status quo for long.

Make sure you also take into account your need for peace of mind. How well do you sleep waiting for an inspector to come calling? What might an inspector find that could get you into bigger trouble? How easy will it be for you to move out quickly?

Next column I’ll discuss whether there are possible court challenges to the ordinance itself that might be winnable.

This column is provided by Student Legal Services. It appears every other Monday in the Collegian. To learn more about the services offered by SLS or to make an appointment, visit the office in Room 182, Lory Student Center, and visit the Web site at

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

BREAKING NEWS – Teen arrested after supermarket holdup

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on BREAKING NEWS – Teen arrested after supermarket holdup
Dec 102006
Authors: Brandon Lowrey

After a 30-minute standoff, police arrested a 19-year-old man who held up a Safeway pharmacy with a rifle Friday morning, a police spokeswoman said.

David Dubois, 19, may have fired shots while numerous employees and shoppers were in the supermarket near the intersection of College Avenue and Mulberry Street, witnesses and Fort Collins Police Services spokeswoman Rita Davis said. Many were in the market for the entirety of the standoff, but Davis said it was unclear whether they were actually hostages.

No one was injured.

The standoff began after Dubois walked into the market with a rifle at about 10:27 a.m. About a minute later, police received a report that shots had been fired, Davis said. Police blocked off the streets around Safeway, but at about 10:50 a.m., Dubois fled in a blue pickup truck.

Police followed and arrested him in the 200 block of Whedbee Street minutes later. He did not fight officers, Davis said.

Stay tuned to for more updates.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Enforcement of occupancy law kicks in over break

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Enforcement of occupancy law kicks in over break
Dec 102006
Authors: Amy Robinson

Winter break has traditionally been a time of relaxation and a time to transition into the new semester. Some students, however, may find themselves searching for a new place to live — thanks to a city ordinance that will go into effect Jan. 1.

With the New Year, students unaware of the three-unrelated ordinance may have a “bad surprise,” city council member Ben Mavel said.

Although the occupancy limit ordinance, referred to as the three-unrelated ordinance, has been on the books since the 1960s, it was formerly a criminal offense. Now that the law has been changed to a civil offense, the burden of proof has been changed, according to Melissa Emerson the community liaison for Off-Campus Student Services. Basically, the law will be easier to enforce.

How the law works

Landlords and property owners have been informed of three-unrelated and should already have asked tenants to sign a disclosure form upon renting or leasing. This form states that all parties are aware of the ordinance. Should any questions arise, a landlord must present this documentation, Emerson said.

“They (the police) are not proactively looking for people in violation of the ordinance. They want people to be aware that it does exist,” she said.

If a neighbor decides to file a complaint, he or she must fill out a formal complaint of the residence in violation of the ordinance. If the neighbor chooses to remain anonymous, a courtesy letter will be sent to the tenants explaining the ordinance.

“If they (neighbors) leave their name, the case will be pursued. They could be asked to testify,” Emerson said.

Neighbors may cite several reasons for believing students are in violation of the ordinance, including the number of cars parked outside a residence continually or noise coming from parties.

If the investigation reveals students are in violation of the ordinance, they may ask to go to a hearing, and possibly have to prove, under oath, claims regarding their relationship to other tenants. If students lie on the stand, they could be convicted of perjury, Emerson said.

Mike Gebo, the codes and inspections administrator for the city of Fort Collins, is in charge of enforcing the newly redesigned ordinance.

Once a complaint has been filed, information will be sent to the manager or landlord of the complex. One of the first things Gebo will be looking for is whether or not the residence is zoned for a duplex or boarding house.

There are differences between what a duplex and a single family home allow as far as residency, Gebo said. Duplexes may house more students.

Citations may not be issued for a first offense. However, if students are still found in violation upon a follow-up visit, then a citation will be issued.

“We will give students some time frame to fix the violation,” Gebo said. “We will try to be as understanding as possible (given the situation). Students are having to pack up and move out. We are dealing with people’s lives here and we will be respectful of that.”

Gebo compared three-unrelated citations to traffic tickets. The minimum fine for violators is $500, with the maximum fine being $1,000.

“Eighty percent of the students are aware of the ordinance,” Emerson said. “However, they are not sure they understand the consequences.”

For the first citation, whoever has the ticket has a right to an official hearing, Gebo said.

“If I issue a citation today, I’ll be back in some time; let’s say 15 days. If everyone is still here, then I may come back every other day or every week,” Gebo said in regards to how the ordinance would be enforced. “I’m not looking to make this punitive. But it’s like if you keep speeding, we’re going to catch you and hopefully you’ll slow down.”

If, however, during spring semester that same residence is found over-occupied again, then Gebo may issue a citation right away.

CSU Student Conduct Services will not be involved with enforcing the ordinance, he said. Instead, the County Assessors Office will be involved.

Several apartment complexes have received approval from the city, allowing them to provide students with four rooms. These places include Ram’s Crossing, Ram’s Point, Ram’s Village and the Lofts at Campus.

Students stuck in the middle

Despite the impact the three-unrelated ordinance has on students, the Associated Students of CSU will not challenge the law, said Rebecca Spiegel, the assistant director of community affairs for ASCSU.

“We can’t change the ordinance, but we can promote awareness, give advice and provide solutions,” Spiegel said.

City Council member Manvel agrees ASCSU’s stance.

“The Neighborhood Relations Office has cooperated with the city committee and worked very hard to make sure landlords have received newsletters and been informed of the process,” Manvel said.

Manvel said one way students might avoid prosecution for violating the ordinance is to build good relationships with their neighbors.

“If your neighbor knows you and you have the occasional party, they are more likely to come talk to you instead of the police,” he said.

He added that as of Friday, the council was still curious as to how the ordinance would be enforced. City Council is scheduled to do a second reading of the ordinance by Dec. 19, according to Ginny Sawyer, the neighborhood administrator of Neighborhood Services.

But some students are not willing to go down without a fight.

Junior biological science major Chad Vaccarelli and senior psychology majors Michael Anderson and John Cashimer became interested in the three-unrelated ordinance when they were required to research a social activism issue for their Writing Arguments class.

Since then, the three have been on campus promoting student awareness. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, they spent their time gathering approximately 175 signatures for a letter they are going to send to the city mayor requesting the ordinance allow four unrelated students, instead of three.

“We feel that this is a good first step to move progressively and get things changed,” Vaccarelli said.

Staff writer Amy Robinson can be reached at


Student boarding houses are not allowed in the following areas:

v UE- Urban Estate

v RF- Foothills Residence

v RL- Low-density Residence

v NCL- Neighborhood Conservation Low-Density

v NCM- Neighborhood Conservation Medium-Density

v HC- Harmony Corridor

*All other 17 zones allow boarding houses with five or fewer students. A more detailed application process is required for individuals seeking classification as a boarding house with more than 5 students.

*The LMN (low density mixed use-neighborhood) zone only allows boarding houses with 4 or fewer students.

*See the zoning map at

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Then and now

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Then and now
Dec 102006
Authors: Geoff Johnson

On Thursday, May 4, 1972, the cover of the Collegian featured a naked woman with a folded American flag draped across her lap and a glass of wine in her hand.

Investigation of articles, teamed up with risqu/ photographs, came as a result of the Collegian’s 115th anniversary this month.

The photo went along with a story about CSU’s “College Days” – “Miss Moo U toasts Happy College Days” – a tradition unbeknownst to CSU students since 1987, when the event was cancelled.

Asked what he might do if he saw a naked woman on the cover of the Collegian, Scott Champion said, “My initial reaction would be, ‘What the hell?'”

“Then, I’d think it was art,” the senior liberal arts major said. Laughing, Champion added, “Very interesting. That was in the thick of the hippy movement.”

Caitlin Carson, a junior sociology major studying for a final exam in criminology with Champion near the coffee stand in the library, asked, “Did hippies drink wine?”

Studying calculus in the Lory Student Center food court on Sunday, Christine Benson said, “It seems inappropriate. (The Collegian) is open to so many people. It’s like someone has no choice but to see that.”

Benson, a senior mathematics education major, mentioned the Oct. 16, 2006, article in the Collegian, “Nude kids on the block,” an article about streaking which had a photo of three naked men covering up with footballs.

“(The streakers) didn’t really show anything (inappropriate),” Benson said. “People don’t have a choice (if there are breasts on the front page).”

Enjoying a Subway sandwich in the LSC, sophomore health promotion major Tim Halliday said, “I’d be surprised (if I saw a naked woman on the cover).”

“It probably wouldn’t fly today,” he added.

A little more than 14 years before the Collegian ran the article with the nude photo, the paper’s managing editor, Bill Zint, wrote an editorial piece titled “Women Attend College?”

The column that printed Feb. 18, 1958, included the commentary: “A college education is important for a woman in order for her to be a good wife, mother and citizen.”

“I’d be offended (if I saw that in the paper today),” Carson said. “I think women have every right to attend college.”

She added, “If I knew that when I finished (at CSU) I was going to go home and cook and clean, then what was the point (of college)?”

Champion said the difference between the sentiment presented in Zint’s 1958 column and cultural norms in 2006 is indicative of significant, but not all-encompassing, social change.

“(The column) goes to show how our society used to be,” Champion said. “Unfortunately, though, some people still think that way.”

Benson said it’s important to take the article in context. “It was an appropriate article for the time (in which it was written).”

“That’s what was expected of women,” she said.

After the women’s rights movement, Benson said, men and women are a lot closer to being equals. “If (the column ran) today, it would piss a lot of people off.”

In January 1973, Collegian staff writer Linda Norman broke a story, “Cam’s Fate Sealed.” CAM the Ram was to be “slaughtered sometime this spring and his head mounted and raffled off next year at homecoming.”

“Dude! What the (expletive),” Champion said. “That’s horrible.”

“I think that’s disgusting. I’m a big animal person,” Benson said. “I would have rather seen (CAM) live his life on a farm or something.”

Benson was relieved to hear, however, that the following day, the story, “Cam’s Life Spared,” revealed that the university had changed its mind about CAM’s untimely end.

“He’s such a big part of our school,” Benson said. “I’m glad they chose to let him live out his natural life.”

Laughing, Halliday said, “I probably would have bid on him.”

Staff writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Draft proposal hits home, CSU students

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Draft proposal hits home, CSU students
Dec 102006
Authors: Emily Polak

Incoming Ways and Means Committee chair Charles Rangel, a Democrat from New York, has proposed to reinstate the draft in an effort to strengthen and diversify the U.S. military.

Rangel’s proposal – which if implemented would have a profound effect on college students – comes at a time when approval for the war in Iraq is lower than ever.

“If this war is the threat to our national security that the Bush Administration insists it is, then the President should issue a call for all Americans to sacrifice for the nation’s defense,” Rangel said in a statement. “If there must be a sacrifice, then the burden must be shared fairly.”

Rangel introduced a similar bill in 2003, which was shot down by the Republican-run congress in a 402 to 2 vote.

Rangel’s plan would not allow those who are in college to be exempt from the draft. The Army currently offers signing bonuses of up to $40,000 and benefits as high as $73,000 for college; if a draft were reinstated, benefits like these would not be offered.

Some CSU students, like senior civil engineering major and former Marine Cody Hix, say reinstating a draft may be a good idea.

“I think if the military needs more people, then they should reinstate a draft,” Hix said.

But the 110th Congress, convening in January, will be run by Democrats, a fact CSU political science professor John Straayer says is not conducive to a draft proposal.

“The democrats are not interested in making Americans mad,” Straayer said. “This would be a politically risky situation. They are just not going to do it.”

Rangel argues that politicians would think differently about the war in Iraq if it were their children fighting it.

“I believe it is immoral for those who insist on continuing the conflict in Iraq, and placing war on the table in Iran and North Korea to do so only at the risk of other people’s children,” Rangel said.

Some say Rangel’s proposal comes as an effort to stir debate about who fights wars versus who starts wars.

“Rangel is trying to make a point,” said Bob Lawrence, a retired CSU professor of political science and former member of the U.S. Air Force. “It is just a social comment.”

Rangel’s argument is given some weight, Straayer says, because the military is overwhelmingly comprised of lower income and minority citizens. According to a demographics survey done by the U.S. Army, 23 percent of enlisted Army recruits are African American – where as only 13 percent of the total American population is African American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Yes, the military is voluntary, but the facts remain that it is disproportionately made up of a low income non-white population,” Straayer said.

Congressman Rangel points out that in New York City, 70 percent of military recruits in 2004 were African American and Hispanic and from low-income neighborhoods.

“If a congressman’s kid was to get drafted, that would have an interesting effect,” Hix said. “I’m sure it would have something to do with how the war was run.”

Many have compared the war in Iraq to Vietnam, but Vietnam was fought by a drafted military, which Rangel says brings the war home.

“A lot of Americans hardly know a war is going on, at least in terms of personal sacrifices,” Lawrence said.

A draft would make the war a much more prominent part of the lives of Americans, he added – which is Rangel’s primary argument.

“(If there were a draft) you would see opposition like you haven’t seen since Vietnam,” Kyle Ballew, a senior construction management major said.

The huge impact the draft had on Americans – particularly young Americans – during the Vietnam War played an integral part in its end.

“If there was a draft, I wouldn’t mind going and serving my country,” Eric Kaan, a senior computer engineering major said. “But I don’t see a need for it.”

But not all students would be so willing to serve in the military.

“I would run,” said Joshua Smith, a junior marketing major. “I would go to Canada because I don’t believe in (the war).”

The U.S. military continues to be thinly spread, and has only recently begun to fulfill recruiting goals set by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Army fulfilled recruiting goals by 101 percent in fiscal year 2006, recruiting 80,635 new boots. The Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force all achieved 100 percent of their goals. And the Army National Guard was at 99 percent of their goal.

Meeting such recruiting goals comes after some branches, namely the Army, have lowered certain recruiting standards, widening the scope of who can become a soldier. The Army, the largest branch of the U.S. military, revamped its advertising campaign to be called “Army Strong” this year, in hope of attracting more soldiers.

And with 145,000 troops in Iraq and no end in sight, the U.S. military must continue to address the need for soldiers.

Debbie Cannon, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion in Denver, says students like Kaan and Smith shouldn’t load up their Alice Packs just yet, though.

“There is no indication that a draft is likely,” Cannon said. “Senior leadership in the White House and the Pentagon have stated that the all-volunteer force is meeting the manpower needs of the Department of Defense, and that a draft is not needed at this time.”

Army recruiting officers and the CSU ROTC program declined to comment.

“Rangel doesn’t have a prayer,” Lawrence said. “We are not going to have a draft.”

Staff writer Emily Polak can be reached at


*23 percent of enlisted Army recruits are African American

*13 percent of the U.S. population is African American

*The Army gained 80,635 new recruits in fiscal year 2006

*There are currently 145,000 troops in Iraq

*In 2005, the Army sent 93,000 soldiers to basic training. Of those, 11,500 received moral waivers

Source: U.S. Department of Defense, The Office of Army Demographics and the U.S. Census Bureau

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

CSU puts wood structures to the test

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on CSU puts wood structures to the test
Dec 102006
Authors: Emily Lance

An 1,800 square foot, 40-ton home in Buffalo, N.Y., violently shook, the victim of a simulated 6.7 magnitude earthquake.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was the largest wood structure ever to be tested for how it would fare during an earthquake – and CSU researchers have now begun a six-month data-analyzing process.

The test, performed at the University of Buffalo structural engineering and earthquake engineering laboratory, featured full-scale ground motions in three directions (triaxial motions), a feature most earthquake tests lack.

The simulation was similar to the 1994 Los Angeles-area quake.

Sensors were installed inside the house to gather information about how each component of the building behaves. They’re connected by cyber grid, allowing data to be viewed by the public within five months.

This four-year, five-university NEESWood project is designed to provide engineers with data about how to improve performance of wood frame structures during earthquakes.

Two students and one professor do tests and designs for larger wood structures that can survive earthquakes and improve earthquake monitoring from the University of Buffalo, Texas A&M, Cornell University and Rensselear Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

John van de Lindt, associate professor in civil engineering, is the lead supervisor in the CSU NEESWood project.

“The final product is to develop a new design concept,” van de Lindt said.

The main goal was to get a baseline for computer modeling, taking a step closer to the ultimate goal of the four-year project to reduce annual financial loss for wood frame structures and enable taller structures during an earthquake.

The NEESWood project is funded by Congress, and CSU received more than $1.24 million for the study.

To use the money more efficiently, the team is working on a software project to simulate the potential movement of a building during an earthquake without the use of a very costly shake table test.

SAPWood, a software program designed to model the behavior of a wood frame structure, can simulate a non-linear, three-dimensional view of the building as it moves.

Shiling Pei, graduate research assistant, is one of the primary SAPWood software developers on the project.

“To simulate the action of a two-story building is not fundamentally different than that of a six story building,” Pei said.

CSU has been conducting tests on the university’s shake table, an earthquake simulator made from pieces of steel set on beams with hydraulic actuators below them moving horizontally to simulate the movement of an earthquake.

A metal structure attached to the ceiling can be set on top of a two-story structure to model a third floor.

Van de Lindt describes using the shake table as similar to using an amp with an electric guitar. About 10 to 20 gauges are used to tune and tweak the action of the table.

Hongyan Liu, graduate research assistant in structural analysis and design, will be taught how to operate the shake table in the spring.

Lui is researching the comparison on the “effects of the base insulation with a building that has none,” which is an additional study for the NEESWood project.

Future tasks also include a 2007 spring test on a wood frame during a hurricane and the 2009 NEESWood project culmination of a six-story building test in Miki City, Japan, on the world’s largest shake table.

Staff writer Emily Lance can be reached at

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Ram Talk

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Ram Talk
Dec 102006

To who ever stole the candy canes from my front lawn: That’s pretty low because they are only three dollars at Wal-Mart! I hope you get coal for Christmas!

I went to the CU/CSU basketball game in Boulder pretending to be a student and even with a CU ID I still had to pay five dollars. Being a student there must be terrible. We won, go Ramtron.

Does anybody really trust a barbershop that also sells hats?

Does anyone else think that a crossing guard to manage the heavy flow of pedestrian traffic on Plum and Meridian would be a wise investment for the campus? Think about all of the road rage (and freshman lives) that would be spared.

Before Magellan, did they have Thousand Island Dressing? Or was it just like 400ish Island Dressing? Someday, we might have 2000 Island Dressing. I bet that would make a really good Reuben.

I love how everything in the bathrooms is automatic… the toilet, the faucet, the soap dispenser, the paper towel machine. All I need now is something to wipe my butt and zip up my pants.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

CSU grads go far

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on CSU grads go far
Dec 102006
Authors: Margaret Canty

Looking back, high school graduation seems like a cakewalk. The excited young grad proudly dons the cap and gown, while the parents snap pictures and relatives send checks. Then the entire class spends the rest of the summer getting wasted together and preparing to do the same in a dorm room in the near future.

Not exactly high stress.

However, despite being only a sophomore, I can already tell that college graduation is a whole new ball game. Rather than preparing for summer-camp like dorm life, the student is instead searching for a career, a home, a life and perhaps someone to spend it with. Relatives aren’t even sending checks, because it’s time you start writing your own.

Kind of scary, huh?

I know I am young and still have a ton to learn before it’s my time to walk, but there are a few things I have been able to pick up in my short time at CSU.

For starters, CSU grads have opportunities. Coming from a great school like ours looks good to any employer. Having that degree, regardless of what it’s in, is having your foot in the door to a successful future. It’s like your ticket to the world, so use it.

Another thing I’ve picked up on is the great things previous graduates have done so far. With one look at the prestigious Alumni Association’s Web page, it becomes clear that thousands before you have taken their education and used it to change the world for the better, leaving their own and CSU’s footprint in history for years to come. I have no doubt our generation is capable of doing the same.

Don’t waste this gift of knowledge. With only a small percent of the world even given the opportunity of a college education, it truly is a precious commodity. So don’t fall into the trap of sticking with those brainless food service jobs that bought your Cup O Noodles and kegs for the past four years. Go out and use what you have gained. Pursue your dreams because no one else will do it for you.

But while out living the dream, don’t forget about the place that made it happen. Giving back to the university is one of the best ways to ensure its continued survival and the future of its students. Being an active alumnus is the best gift one can give.

Being around my uncle gave me insight into a CSU graduate’s life. Although living with his family in California, he never forgets the place that helped make him successful. Whenever he gets back to Colorado, he includes a visit to Fort Collins, where he pays his respects to the school and catches up with old friends while enjoying a local brew. It’s easy to see the time he spent here is time treasured, and I can only hope yours was the same.

I chose to go to school here because I didn’t like Boulder. Now I choose to go to school here because I love it, and one day I hope I’ll join you out in the real world. Until then, good luck and don’t forget to tip us waitresses while you’re at the top.

Staff writer Margaret Canty can be reached at The opinions expressed in this article reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Digging up the past

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Digging up the past
Dec 102006

For more than a century, the stories of 500 patients institutionalized in a mental health hospital have been buried in unmarked graves.

Ann Magennis, an associate professor of anthropology, is now digging up these people’s stories for the first time.

“Her research has shown that there were these people coming from the working class that were less educated and less affluent,” said Mary Van Buren, an associate professor in the anthropology department. “Her work really shows us that life on the frontier doesn’t really conform to a lot of the stereotypes that we have.”

But with very few written records to go by, the process of piecing together their lives can be frustrating.

“Accounts from newspapers indicated the superintendent was burying some patients on the grounds of the institution, although such a practice was not condoned as far as I can tell,” Magennis told Today @ Colorado State, a Web site and electronic newsletter.

The pieces of this puzzle comprised of about 135 skeletons, which were discovered in 1992 when the state began building a maximum-security facility for the criminally insane in Pueblo. In 2000, during the planning phase of another expansion for the facility, 20 additional skeletons were exhumed.

Magennis said that prior to the corrections department’s findings, utility workers in the area often reported finding bits and pieces of skeletal remains as they installed water and sewer lines in the area.

“People knew about it, but not one seemed to do anything official about it,” Magennis said.

It is believed that more than 500 bodies were buried at the mental hospital. Magennis said the unmarked graveyard extends to an area currently covered by a road.

In 2001, through an agreement between CSU, Colorado’s Department of Corrections, the State Archaeologist and Colorado College, Magennis assumed responsibility for the remains.

She will never be able to match these skeletons with names; however, she can paint a picture of who these people were and learn about the lives they led.

“Ideally, I would like to place these people in a social and economic context, in their setting,” Magennis said.

In order to do this, she is digging into the details of who these people were, what they did for a living, who their families were and where they came from. Magennis said that there were a large number of immigrants in Colorado during that time, many of whom rushed to the state for mining jobs.

“When you think about that time, you think about the wealthy and the miners and the rich, here we have opposite, the sick, the poor, the mentally ill – it’s a completely different way of looking at society from the 19th century,” said Jason LaBelle, one of Magennis’ colleagues in the anthropology department.

Since the skeletons arrival to Magennis’ laboratory in the General Services Building, she has been picking them apart, looking for clues to their age when they died, their gender and any diseases or injuries they suffered.

“Those I’ve looked at have led pretty vigorous lifestyles,” Magennis said.

In 1879, when the hospital was opened, Colorado was a new state. According to Magennis, the asylum was dramatically under funded.

“They said, yeah, you’re going to have (a mental hospital) but no, we’re not going to pay for it,” Magennis explained.

Despite repeated efforts by the hospital’s first superintendent, Dr. Pembroke Thombs, Colorado’s legislature and the Board of Charities and Correction, turned down his requests for additional funds.

In 1898, Thombs had a falling out with the board regarding the burials. Magennis is trying to get minutes of the meeting to determine, if possible, the topics of dialogue between Thombs and the board. It is believed that an effort by Thombs to save money may have led to hundreds of people being marked in unmarked graves on the hospital’s grounds.

“In part, it’s a puzzle and you have a few pieces that you might be able to get back in the right places, and a lot of missing parts,” said Magennis. “It’s your task to fill in the missing pieces.”

Staff writer Lyndsey Struthers can be reached at

 Posted by at 5:00 pm