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Feb 282007

Why don’t baseball players wear sandals instead of cleats? Because cleats make them run faster, grip better and perform better all around. So why do we act so surprised when athletes take steroids to enhance their performance?

It seems that more and more these days athletes are being busted for these drugs. Recently, authorities in Florida shut down an online distribution network linked to Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. and former baseball player Jose Canseco.

But what’s the big deal? Shouldn’t athletes be allowed to make themselves better at what they do for a living? This is America, after all.

But the bottom line is: Steroids ruin sport.

We could give you a heart-warming “But what about the kids?” speech here, but we won’t.

We could tell you that steroid use leads to heart and nervous system failure, but we won’t.

We could tell you that professional athletes sign contracts that forbid them from steroid use, but we won’t go into that either.

In 1998, everyone was in awe of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s home run race. However, after months of steroid scandal, the race is more known for its controversy than its feat.

The joy of sport comes from competition between people who are the best at what they do. When steroids come into the equation, sport is no longer a competition of men but a competition of medicine.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

The untold story in Iraq

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Feb 282007
Authors: Luci StorelliCastro

Many of my conservative counterparts are correct: The media is not telling us the whole story in Iraq. War supporters, convinced America is on the path to victory and that liberals would like nothing more than to see America fail, contend that the media is not doing enough to cover the success stories in Iraq.

I find the conspiracy theory that there is a liberal bias in the media hard to come by, especially considering that major media tycoons, such as Rupert Murdoch, are conservative to the core. I would even venture further and reproach the media coverage in this country following the aftermath of Sept. 11, when the “fourth branch of government” was tamed to sing the same tune advanced by neoconservatives.

Although I am relieved that the media is doing its job again – asking the difficult questions, breaking down walls of sleaze and corruption, and pressuring this government to be transparent and accountable to the citizenry – I think there is still a fair amount of stories that are neither being covered nor being given the spotlight they merit.

One issue in particular is that of rape. The war in Iraq is like every other war in history where an external brigade of men invades a country and a state of lawlessness and chaos ensues. Under this context, rape is often used as a weapon against women and children.

Perhaps in an effort not to open wounds left by the war in Vietnam or to demoralize the troops, the increasing number of rape cases in Iraq have gone largely unreported. This is shameful. We owe it to the rape victims to tell their story in an effort to crack down on those responsible for these dehumanizing crimes and the upper echelons of power who are allowing rape to go on under their watch.

In a welcomed effort to bring rape to the discussion table, a recent story in the New York Times reported the raping and killing of a 14-year Iraqi girl by at least three American soldiers.

Currently, five American soldiers are facing charges for their alleged involvement in the rape case that occurred nearly a year ago in March 2006. In an emotionally charged testimony, one soldier gave explicit details of the horrific crime.

The New York Times also reported that in order to avoid complications, the soldiers targeted a victim whom they knew lived in a house with only one male. The soldiers dressed in an inconspicuous manner, so as not to be recognized as Americans, before setting out to their victim’s home – evidence that this was a premeditated crime.

Once in the house, the soldiers locked the 14-year-old’s parents and 7-year-old brother in a bedroom while they took turns raping the girl in the living room. According to one of the soldiers, the girl battled to fend off her attackers, all the while, pleading in Arabic. To cap off the nightmarish scene, the girl and her family were murdered by the same band of soldiers.

Of course, American soldiers are not the only ones involved in the surge of rape cases in Iraq. More recently, in an unprecedented Al Jazeera broadcast, a Sunni woman related her horrific kidnapping, beating with a water hose, and rape by three members of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi National Police. This incident has further inflamed sectarian violence and raised questions about Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s leadership.

Al-Maliki’s initial response of promising to conduct an in-depth investigation of the crime was later reversed. In a radical turn of events, al-Maliki released a statement calling the alleged rape victim a liar and wanted criminal. Furthermore, he praised the officials involved in her detainment and has attempted to smear her image by declaring that she is unmarried and was having an affair.

Personally, I consider rape the most heinous of war crimes – yet, it is also the least reported atrocity. We need to change this reality and begin exposing the entire on-the-ground situation in Iraq.

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

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Speaker cooks up the recipe for success

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Feb 282007
Authors: Anica Wong

Along with Holocaust Awareness, this week is also National Entrepreneurship Week and the College of Business hosted Libby Cook, the co-founder of Wild Oats Markets during their Great Entrepreneur Speaker Series on Wednesday night.

Cook’s entrepreneur beginnings were simple; she and a couple of friends decided to invest in Stella’s Market, a health food store in Boulder.

“The owner told us that he was making $10,000 a day, so we invested $40,000 in it. But the first day, we made $200 in sales,” she said.

Though Cook holds three bachelor’s degrees and a law degree, she knew little about business.

“Just because you have a lot of education doesn’t mean you know how to run a cash register or grocery store,” she said.

She and her friends slowly built the business and ended up making $5,000 a day, though it was not all it was cracked up to be. They almost had to declare bankruptcy twice as a result of over-extending themselves.

After a rough start, their business started to grow and become profitable.

Next on the list was revamping French Market, a grocery store in Boulder. This store eventually became a Wild Oats Market.

From 1988 to 1996, Wild Oats Markets opened 19 stores in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. Also in 1996, 10 Alfalfa’s Market stores were added to the bunch, making Wild Oats the second largest natural foods supermarket chain in North America, with 31 stores.

The Wild Oats Market corporation was able to acquire 69 more stores in the United States and Canada until 2001 when Cook and her partners decided to retire.

And just in time, too, as Whole Foods bought out Wild Oats Markets in a deal valued at $700 million last month.

“Whole Foods is well positioned. It was a good move for both companies,” Cook said.

So, what does it take to be an entrepreneur?

“A lot of hard work, ability to be creative in a nimble kind of way, trying new things and a sound business plan which provides you with a framework,” said the current founder of Sunflower Market stores.

Cook is also involved in a non-profit organization, Philanthropiece. Among other projects, this organization is joining with the United Nations Foundation’s Coalition for Adolescent Girls. This union is helping to educate girls around the world about HIV, child marriages and economic empowerment.

Laura Grette came to the presentation with her Social and Sustainable Entrepreneur class.

“I enjoyed it because she talked a lot about stuff that we are discussing in class,” Grette, a sophomore finance and economics double major said. “It is interesting to see that the corporate side of business is merging with the non profit side. It is becoming more and more like that.”

The Great Entrepreneur Speaker Series will wrap up today with a presentation by Todd Massey, chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Privacy Networks. This presentation is scheduled for today at 12:30 p.m. in Rockwell Hall, room 165.

Staff writer Anica Wong can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

‘Do not junk’ bill needs work

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Feb 282007
Authors: Stephanie Gerlach

A controversial bill that would allow Colorado consumers to avoid junk mail will be killed today and significantly revised before returning to the committee agenda next year.

Rep. Sara Gagliardi, D-Arvada, introduced a bill that would establish a statewide “Do Not Junk” registry for people who don’t want to receive unsolicited mail at a state capitol press conference on Feb 18. Political and nonprofit groups would be exempt from this law.

House Bill 1303 was formed in mid-January after constituents from the New American Dream approached Gagliardi to address issues of environment, identity theft and fraud. New American Dream, a non-profit pro-environmental group, is supporting similar bills in nine other states, all facing opposition from the direct mail industry.

“We got a lot of positive feedback and unfortunately a lot of negative as well,” Gagliardi told the Collegian.

The bill gained support from constituents who live in Arvada, predominantly senior citizens, and environmental groups. Many individuals and business owners were concerned about the jobs that would be lost if this bill was passed.

Al DeSarro, a spokesperson for the Colorado postal service, said there is a lot of information regarding this bill that has not been made known to the public – specifically, that it could be damaging to the economy in Colorado and businesses that use junk mail, also known as direct mail.

“They’re trying to take away a viable way for (businesses and organizations) to communicate,” DeSarro said. “If you start trying to restrict communications that are vital to the livelihood of businesses and organizations, what’s next.do we restrict TV and radio advertising, too?”

DeSarro was one of approximately 60 people who attended an informational meeting about the bill last week; he said most of the attendants were totally against the bill.

“If it was passed here, you couldn’t regulate out-of-state organizations that send direct mail,” DeSarro said. “That would give (out-of-state businesses) a competitive advantage over those in Colorado.”

Joe Contrino, owner of Contrino Direct Marketing and a member of the Denver Postal Council, has been in business in Boulder for 11 years. If this bill were passed, he would have to downsize, as would a lot of other people in the industry.

“I think it’s a really noble idea, but I think it would be devastating to the economy,” Contrino said. “There are a lot of facts here that aren’t being looked at.”

Post offices do not make money on first-class mail, only on direct mail. If direct mail was banished, Contrino said stamp prices would increase because there would be much less revenue coming in.

“I don’t think the creators thought about the ramifications – the loss of jobs, the loss of taxes. It could be crippling. Why do something that could possibly hurt the state?” Contrino said.

Linda Rubright, a community liaison for the junk mail bill, chose to get involved because she was tired of receiving unsolicited mail. After many failed attempts at trying to get her name off numerous mailing lists, she wanted to do more because she knew she wasn’t the only person in Colorado facing this problem.

“Colorado gets 342 million pounds of junk mail every year. That is 70 pounds for every man, woman and child in the state,” Rubright said. “That also equates to deforesting Rocky Mountain National Park three times per year.”

Rubright said it’s devastating that the bill will be killed because Coloradans can say no to every other form of communication, but with junk mail, residents forced to say yes and deal with it.

Rubright said Gagliardi wants to kill the bill because of speculation she has been getting from the post office, businesses and unions. Gagliardi wants to revise the bill and try to come to a compromise.

“The majority of Colorado wants this (bill). What people aren’t understanding is we’re not forbidding them from receiving junk mail, we’re just giving them a choice,” Rubright said.

For Gagliardi and supporters, keeping unnecessary mail out of the dumps and protecting citizen’s identities is the important issue.

However, Desarro said mail makes up less than .0005 percent of our dumps and less than 5 percent of identity theft is connected to mail, with even less connected to direct mail.

Students from CSU are divided on this heavily debated issue.

“I personally hate junk mail, but I don’t know much of it would actually be stopped since I don’t know how much of that mail is from political or nonprofit organizations,” said Shauna Redican, a junior technical journalism major.

Nathan Coe, senior liberal arts major, said this issue is similar to the “no-call list” put into affect May 2001. A lot of people, such as telemarketers, lost their jobs, but people were still given the choice to be added to that registry.

“I think if someone doesn’t want t receive junk mail and wants to be on a no junk mail list, they should have the right to be on the list,” Coe said.

HB1303 is scheduled to be shredded in the State House Business Affairs and Labor Committee this afternoon because Gagliardi said they need to take another look at it and find a different approach.

She said she wants to talk to the bill’s creators and constituents to brainstorm new ideas and look at all the issues together.

“I think it’s a great idea for Colorado, but we have to really look at what is best for our people,” Gagliardi said. “I think we can come up with something great for next year.”

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


-Other states with similar proposals:

-Texas -Hawaii

-Missouri -Michigan

-Maryland -New York

-Connecticut -Washington

-Colorado Direct Mail Facts:

-Direct Mail is a $9.2 billion industry in Colorado.

-154,000 jobs are related to the Direct Mail industry.

-48 percent of all mail is Direct Mail related.

-There are 11,000 Colorado postal employees.

-Colorado has about 14,000 businesses and organizations that use direct mail.

-In 2006, 11,000 businesses and organizations sent out 1.2 billion pieces of direct mail.

-Direct Mail is a $900 billion industry, employs 9 million people nationwide.

Facts provided by the Public Affairs and Communications Office

-The Direct Marketing Association already maintains a national “do-not-mail list.” For more information, go to www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailinglist or download a mail-in form and send to:

Direct Marketing Association

Mail Preference Service

P.O. Box 282

Carmel, NY 10512

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

CSU freshmen first to aid after Windsor bus rollover

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Feb 282007

Three CSU freshmen lived a nightmare on Monday.

They were the first to arrive at the scene of a bloody wreck on Interstate 25 near Windsor where a school bus had flipped over, sending six high school students and two staffers to the hospital.

“I was in a detached state,” said Katie August, a freshman equine science major. “I felt emotions like shock, pity and horror.”

August, Bobbie Jo Swafford and Jorden Nickel neared the Windsor exit on their way home from Denver International Airport at 1 a.m. – about 10 minutes after a Poudre Valley High School bus carrying 26 students flipped on its left side in the left lane.

The high school choir members were on their way back from their performance in Denver at the Boettcher Concert Hall when the bus overturned.

“The first thing I saw was students and chaperones wandering around looking dazed and confused,” August said. “People were crying and holding each other. They were still in adrenaline rush mode so they did not feel the pain yet.”

The CSU students said they were the first passersby to pull over.

“We tried to get them together to talk to them and try to help them. We asked if anyone had called 911, and someone had,” August said. “I said a little prayer to myself.”

By the time the CSU trio arrived, everyone had already exited the flipped bus safely and a few were going back into the wreckage to grab their belongings. Victims exited the bus through the emergency exit in the rear of the bus and via two escape latches in the roof.

August approached a girl whose face was covered with blood.

“I asked her name, I introduced myself, asked where she was hurt, if she could wiggle those places,” August said. “She was lying down on the ground with a bloody mass of hair hanging in her face. When I first saw her face, I thought I was looking at the back of her head.”

August stayed with the girl, later identified as 18-year-old Leslie Cross, and held her hand for support until the ambulance arrived. August called Cross’ mother over the phone.

“I could see a really bad cut above her right eye and it looked like it went down to the bone. She had three or four deep cuts above her elbow, but she was still able to wiggle her fingers and move her arm. Her face was covered in blood and it was pooling in her eyes so bad that she couldn’t see,” August said.

While August stayed with Cross, Swafford and Nickel tried to keep all of the students and chaperones calm. Swafford fetched flashlights, coats and blankets out of her truck and passed them out while Nickel collected cell phones for the students to call their parents.

Swafford, an animal science major, got on her pickup truck’s CB radio and started warning vehicles to slow down when approaching the area while she and Nickel kept the students grouped away from the road.

So many emotions swirled through the women’s minds, they said, as they tried their best to make everyone as comfortable as possible.

“I was really scared, and did not know what to think,” said Nickel, an open-option major. “I was terrified because I always thought of buses as being safe.”

The CSU freshmen were disappointed in the way some of the adults conducted themselves.

“One of the chaperones walked up to Leslie and screamed. That freaked Leslie out because she didn’t know what she looked like” Swafford said. “When the cop got there, he saw her and had to take a step back to regroup.”

The girls said the leadership among the high school students surpassed that of the adult leadership.

“Since the adults weren’t helping any, one student took charge and organized everyone into groups and only allowed two or three people to go back into the bus at a time,” Nickel said. “Some of the students and us were the only ones who worked to keep the situation under control.”

The CSU students claim that it took about 10 minutes for the police officer to get there and about 45 minutes for the paramedics to arrive.

“It was a ridiculous response time. At the Windsor exit, there should have been ambulances from Windsor, Loveland and Fort Collins,” Swafford said. “There were two ambulances when we left, and there should have been three or four. We kept trying to reassure everyone that it was okay, the paramedics would be here soon, and then they weren’t. It was like nobody took it seriously.”

Sonja Wulff, spokeswoman for the Medical Center of the Rockies, said the first call was received at 12:48 a.m. and the first ambulance arrived at 1 a.m., 12 minutes after receiving the call. A total of three ambulances arrived.

Of the 26 passengers in the bus, six students, a teacher and the bus driver, identified as David Hurt, 55, of Fort Collins, were taken to MCR.

According to Wulff, Cross was admitted in fair condition to the surgical intensive care unit. She had surgery Monday morning and was released Wednesday.

The cause of the accident has yet to be fully determined and is still under investigation, according to Ron Watkins, a spokesman for the Colorado State Patrol.

Alcohol, drugs and speeding are not suspected as factors, he said, though driver error remains a possibility.

After the girls left the scene to head back to CSU, they said they could not get the crash off their minds.

“Katie and I tried to not think about it, but all we could see in our minds was Leslie’s bloody face,” Swafford said. “Neither of us could sleep that night. I tried to sleep, but I woke up with nightmares.”

Staff Writer Taryn Clark can be reached at news@collegian.com.


Accident: Poudre Valley High School bus flipped over on I-25.

Passengers: 26

Time: approximately 12:45 a.m. Monday morning

Cause: Yet to be determined.

Pull quote suggestions: “Katie and I tried to not think about it, but all we could see in our minds was Leslie’s bloody face. Neither of us could sleep that night. I tried to sleep, but I woke up with nightmares,” Swafford said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Duke reports on campus culture; more diversity urged

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Feb 272007
Authors: Erin Aggler

RALEIGH, N.C. – Duke University needs to become more diverse, inclusive and engaged, a committee concluded Tuesday in its evaluation of campus culture following rape allegations involving the lacrosse team.

The committee called for new course requirement for undergraduates focusing on racial and class differences in the United States, and increasing admission standards at the elite, private university in Durham. University officials said they look forward to discussing the recommendations.

The report barely mentions the March 13 party thrown by the school’s lacrosse team, where a woman hired to perform as a stripper told police she was attacked by three men in a bathroom. The local district attorney dropped rape charges against three indicted players late last year, and later turned over the case to state prosecutors after he was charged by the state bar with several ethics violations.

The players, who have steadfastly maintained their innocence, still face charges of sexual offense and kidnapping. The new prosecutors have not said whether they plan to bring the case to trial.

The “Campus Culture Initiative” was formed last year after university president Richard Brodhead canceled the lacrosse team’s 2006 season, and was one of several committees created to examine issues raised by the incident.

The team returned to action for the first time since last March with a 17-11 win over Dartmouth Saturday.

Also Tuesday, lawyers for the indicted players filed an updated request for more information about DNA testing conducted at a private lab hired by Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

LTTE: Hemenway insults Americans

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Feb 272007
Authors: Christopher Wheeler

In response to Nick Hemenway’s article “I am an American”, I feel insulted as an American citizen of Mexican descent. Mr. Hemenway says, “Among all the things that we may disagree on, our allegiance should not be one of them” in reference to protesters waving the Mexican flag. I believe that if someone expresses pride in their ethnic origins then not only is it healthy, but it in no way suggests a “loyalty” to a foreign nation. The idea is pure nonsense and quite uneducated.

I believe that, as a nation, we are fortunate enough to live in a country that is filled with many cultures. In countries such as Mexico, however, this is not the case. While waving the American flag can be a symbol of support for our government, waving a Mexican flag can quite often be something as innocuous as showing cultural pride.

I agree with Hemenway that asking someone’s ethnicity is unnecessary. Not because someone’s culture is unimportant, but because a person’s culture does not define them. While American culture may be too hung up on political correctness, we should still celebrate the cultural differences in our society. Not as a way to separate us, but as a way to remind us all that differences are okay. From Einstein with science to the Asian-Americans who helped build railroads and foster industrialization, the backbone of this country has been forged by immigrants who gave strenuously to our great country while maintaining pride in their original culture.

And while there are many benefits to having everyone speaking the same language, it also seems slightly hypocritical. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase gave land from Mexico to the United States that today comprise 6 different states. Many Mexicans had lived there for generations. So perhaps we should recognize that Spanish was spoken exclusively in several areas of the United States centuries before English was. In fact, several languages lay claim to this (including French).

As for Mr. Hemenway’s claim that his relatives “realized the only way they would make it in this new world was to adopt the American way of life as their own”, perhaps we shouldn’t be asking why immigrants now seem unwilling to do this. Perhaps we should be asking ourselves that if we are truly a nation that has grown to be accepting of all races and cultures, then why should immigrants feel they must change whom they are in order to make it here?

Christopher Wheeler



 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Smith lives on

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Feb 272007
Authors: Ryan Speaker

I wish Anna Nicole Smith would just die already.

We have all been inundated with stories about her, who should get her body, who will receive her inheritance.

Matters worsened when Britney Spears shaved her head and made her way to rehab three times in a week.

The television news media – including MSNBC, Fox News, CNN Headline News, and CNN – has run circles around itself, trying to get exclusive interviews other organizations have not gotten, and breaking away from real news to go to live press conferences.

In the past few weeks, the only people who handled the issue like journalists were two non-journalist TV hosts.

One was Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show.” The show had four features on Anna Nicole Smith’s death, but all four were critiques of the way television news media was covering the issue.

The Feb. 12 episode featured a correspondent live in the field; his report was first accompanied by on-screen video of Anna Nicole, then girls dancing in bikinis, and devolved to two girls mud-wrestling.

Stewart asked, “Can we just discuss the coverage of this incident without showing footage? Is the story not sensational enough in and of itself?”

The correspondent, confused, asked, “Why?”

Stewart responded, “(It) makes the whole thing look like we’re just narrating to the most lurid footage we can find.”

It is almost as if Stewart and “The Daily Show” have a sense of integrity. Networks should take note. And as Stewart noted, the images rarely contribute anything meaningful to the story.

The other TV host was Craig Ferguson, of CBS’ “The Late Late Show.” He used his 12-minute monologue on Feb. 19 to discuss his uneasiness in making fun of Anna Nicole and Britney.

“People are falling apart, people are dying; that Anna Nicole Smith woman, she died. (Audience laughs) It’s not a joke; it stops being funny there. She’s got a… 6-month-old kid; what the hell is that? And I’m starting to feel uncomfortable about making fun of these people… We shouldn’t be attacking vulnerable people.”

On why he couldn’t make jokes about Britney Spears:

“This woman has two kids; she’s 25 years old. She’s a baby herself. She’s a baby.”

Ferguson – unlike other late-night hosts and news networks – realized the seriousness of the issue and decided it isn’t worth laughs or extra dollars that might be brought in by increased viewership.

Excepting perhaps CNBC, PBS and Sunday morning political news programs, “The Daily Show” was the only cable news program that decided Smith’s death was not significant for the social and political discourse.

And it isn’t even a “real” news program!

This celebrity-oriented, unimportant “news” is something relatively new to our culture, as Richard Dreyfuss noted on the Nov. 17 episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

“I was away from the country for two years studying. When I came back, I realized we had two wars, the towers falling, and the only thing that America knew was that Scott Peterson had killed his wife and unborn child.”

He continued: “(It) used to be a given that the news industry, the news network departments, were not part of the profit center. And now it is a given that they are. And Dan Rather… was at the center of an enormous change, an invisible change, which made the news division expected to be profit centers. That should never have happened.”

The networks have quickly adapted to this new business model, in which real news takes a back seat to stories only seventh-grade girls find interesting.

CNN had a “CNN Special Investigations Unit” program Saturday night, titled “Chasing Angelina: Paparazzi and Celebrity Obsession.”

The piece concludes: “So who is at fault for stalking Angelina: Is it the paparazzi… or is it the fault of the celebrity weeklies? Or, in the end, is the public’s obsession to blame?”

CNN, and other news networks, do not understand they themselves are a big part of the problem. They perpetuate the perceived importance of the story simply be covering it – if it wasn’t important, could it possibly displace news about the war, the economy, the president and Congress?

Yes, because of the all-powerful dollar. War, perhaps unsurprisingly, doesn’t bring in viewers. Who did not wear panties this weekend, perhaps unsurprisingly, does.

News should not be subjected to standards of the checkbook. News networks need to discern real reporting, and real news, from the stories reported by People and Us Weekly.

Ryan Speaker is a senior history major. His column appears every Wednesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Shame on you, Collegian

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Feb 272007
Authors: Seth Anthony

The Collegian Editorial Board recently asked in one of their regular columns (“Shame on you, Coloradoan,” Monday, Feb. 5): “What’s more important to a journalist than credibility?”

Even though it was a rhetorical question, I’ll answer it: Integrity.

While credibility is a journalist’s outward face, integrity is his or her inner self. It goes beyond “Have I reported the facts correctly?” to ask “Have I behaved ethically in all respects?”

Part of any code of ethics is the mandate not to flagrantly or needlessly flaunt just authority. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, upon which CSU’s Student Media Code of Ethics is based, cautions reporters to “avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.”

This is precisely what the Collegian didn’t do while investigating a recent series of stories on the security of the CSU campus. Three reporters, under cover of darkness, entered multiple buildings, documented the contents of unlocked rooms, and then publicly admitted to doing so on the front page of the Collegian for three consecutive days.

There’s a term for their actions, and it’s not courageous journalism. It’s trespassing. Their actions needlessly violated the law, and it undermined the Collegian’s integrity, thereby damaging the credibility of all those associated with the paper.

By their own admission, Collegian staff entered buildings including Rockwell Hall, the Chemistry Building and the Clark Building between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. They admitted to not having keys and to being stopped by campus police.

The university’s Building Proctor’s Manual, available online, is very clear: “Default restricted access hours for all campus buildings will be 10:00 p.m. through 7:00 a.m.” and “ANYONE wishing to enter a building, classroom, or office during restricted access hours MUST have their own keys.” (Original emphasis).

None of the Collegian staff had keys, and therefore they trespassed on university property when they entered. Trespassing in public buildings is a violation of state law.

The Collegian’s claim that it “didn’t feel there was any other way” (Friday, Feb. 2) to investigate the story doesn’t hold up as a defense, either. There were obviously other ways to go about this.

For starters, the reporters could have contacted individuals who were authorized to access campus buildings late as night. I’m a graduate student in chemistry and am authorized to be there at all hours. I, or any of a few hundred other people, could have brought in reporters as our guests to test doorknobs.

Having a legitimate guide around these buildings would also have helped ensure that these reporters didn’t put themselves at risk by disturbing hazardous chemicals.

Students or staff who have valid after-hours access to the Rockwell Hall or the Clark Building would have been happy to do the same for those buildings, I’m sure.

Had Collegian staff done this, they could have stayed within the law, been safer, and better informed about the nature of the valuable unprotected equipment they saw. In short, they would have been more responsible journalists.

But did James Baetke, David McSwane, and Vimal Patel, as well as editor-in-chief Brandon Lowrey, who authorized the story, avail themselves of the legal option? No. They skipped steps, broke the law, and compromised their integrity in the process.

There are times when breaking the law may be necessary in the vital public interest, but those tests were not met here. Collegian reporters failed to pursue legal alternatives and have failed to own up to their clear violation of the law.

Before the Collegian takes other papers to task for ethical lapses, it should first admit to its own. Shame on you, Collegian.

Seth Anthony is a chemistry masters student. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Our View: Now what could go wrong here

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Feb 272007
Authors: Editorial Board

Visceral, racist rage is a powerful tool in a politician’s arsenal – just ask a few of our own Colorado representatives. But it comes with a major drawback: It’s nearsighted.

After a crackdown on illegal immigrants, Coloradan farmers have found themselves short-handed – even after offering as much as $9.60 an hour for labor, which is much more than they had paid undocumented workers.

That’s right – the immigration crackdown has hurt the very same corn-fed, red-white-and-blue-bleeding American farmers whom Representatives like Marilyn Musgrave and Tom Tancredo claim to represent throughout their campaigns.

Tancredo, a Republican U.S. congressman right here in Colorado, is leading the charge to purge this country of illegal immigrants. He’s drawn plenty of support with the topic – national infamy, even, when he compared Miami to a third-world nation. Musgrave, similarly, is hesitant to touch a bill that doesn’t include a “kick-out-all-the-Mexican-illegals” clause.

Tancredo has argued that illegal immigrants take hard-earned American jobs, and that they make the country unsafe.

In Pueblo, farmers offered $9.60 an hour for the jobs that had been taken by illegal immigrants. Minimum wage is $6.85.

And they have not been able to find anyone willing to do the work. As for safety?

A likely solution will be to bring in prison inmates to take the field hand jobs, instead. The farmers will pay the state at least minimum wage. And for all of the hard labor, inmates will be rewarded with pennies a day.

Now what could go wrong here?

 Posted by at 5:00 pm